Minerve – capital of the Minervois wine growing region
We ate out in Minerve last night. Minerve is a stunning place to visit with old cobbled streets, shops, restaurants and bars, steeped in the history of the Cathars. I have visited there are few times in the day which is breath-taking enough however, in the evening it takes on a new feel as the sun sets over the scape of the little houses and terracotta roofs clinging to the rock face of the gorge. It is like stepping back in time, and even cars are banned from crossing the bridge that spans the gorge to drive into the village. We ate at a lovely restaurant called Le Relais Chantovent serving fine gourmet food. I recommend booking an exterior table on the terrace overlooking the gorge.
Minerve is steeped in the history of the Cathars. In the 13th Century the Cathars sought refuge there. However the village was attacked for 6 weeks by Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester and his army until the residents surrendered. They set up huge catapults around the ramparts including one which cut off their water supply. Viscount Guilhem of Minerve, negotiated a surrender which saved the villagers and himself, however, 140 Cathars refused to give up their faith and were burned to death at the stake.