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A taste of the sweet life

Cathar Castles - Minerve


Minerve, a once fortified village perched on two cliffs with one road in, is a curvy 15 minutes into the Black Mountains from several charming villages below like Azille, Homps or Olonzac.

This once-fortified village is a dramatic sight to see with only one ruined finger of masonry left from its original state that sits on a plateau in the limestone gorge.


It was the site of a 10-week siege, by Simon de Montfort, who subsequently massacred its 180 Cathar inhabitants in the 13th century. The village was protected by a double curtain wall and overhanging natural ledges, above the River Cesse in a naturally strong defensive position.

Near the village the river even disappears underground in a large, natural tunnel below, a nice hike to finish the day’s visit. Access to the village is from a walking path down from the modern parking lot, or by walking across a high bridge that spans from the village to one side of the gorge. Arriving at Minerve is most impressive from the South end, near the village of La Caunette.