The Most Beautiful Villages in France

Minerve and Olargues

Languedoc villages, old stones and friendly people - the Mediterranean way of life

The tourism promotion Pays d'Art et d'Histoire in the Haut Languedoc et Vignobles, invites you to find out more about the villages that make up the soul of the southern Languedoc, and help you cultivate the taste for the authentic southern experience. Ancestral, alive and endearing, these "most beautiful villages in France" are a must-see on your holiday.


Historic capital of the Minervois, the town emerges from the Causse, protected by the deep gorges of the rivers Cesse and Brian where the water has shaped amazing natural bridges. A remarkable protected site, with dozens of winding mediaeval streets, Minerve is alive with the memory the epic Cathar story, while also having all modern comforts for visitors. There are lots of shops and a dynamic local economy, with a warm friendly welcome for newcomers!



A maze of streets, a medieval bridge, a bell tower, and the remains of a fortified castle. Olargues is a medieval village in an exceptional landscape, an invitation to stroll, stop for a glass and stroll some more. The silhouette of the Reclining Woman watches over you - the shape of the mountain of the Caroux mountain, viewed from Olargues. She seems to suggest you stay a little longer!

Built on a rocky outcrop surrounded by a bend in the river Jaur, the village, which sits entirely within the Regional Natural Park of Haut-Languedoc, at 183 metres altitude and at the foot of the Massif de l'Espinouse, has been ranked among the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" since 1992. It offers an environment of great diversity, sumptuous landscapes and lots of curiosities for you to discover:

- the old keep of the medieval castle, turned into a bell tower, from which a view of a landscape of great beauty against the backdrop of the famous Caroux massif can be admired.

- the Devil's Bridge, a classified historical monument, below the village, built in the twelfth century.

- the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions located in the centre of the village, in the famous staircase of the Commandery (a street which is entirely a staircase), above the chapel of Saint-Etienne.

- the 17th century Saint-Laurent church and its Clergeau organ, classified as a historic monument and installed in the church in 1900.

- the Peyro Escrito (written stone), a prehistoric engraving, listed as a historical monument and which can be seen by walking along the Malviès trail, signposted from the village.

- the CEBENNA centre, a place of scientific and educational exchange.

The perfect architecture of the site and its typically mediaeval aspect make Olargues a particularly beautiful place to visit. Walk its narrow streets, admire its landscapes and discover an emblematic village of our Pays d'Art et d'Histoire.