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Lagrasse Deserves Its Place in The Most Beautiful Villages of France Association

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I had no idea what I was in for when Mathieu and I took the road for Lagrasse, but it turned out to be yet again one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. In English speaking terms it's in the association of The Most Beautiful Villages of France (leave it to the French to come up with a name like that). Aside from the 21st century cars, you will be pulling a Back to the Future when you enter this town.

Lagrasse is easily in one of the most refined states I have seen yet. If you want a picture of the 8th to 12th centuries, this is it. The medieval town is surrounded on all sides by the incredible Pyrenee mountains, with old, stone-structured houses lining the River Orbieu. It definitely has some street cred in the association.
The river is actually a huge part of the town. It's almost like their community swimming pool, and sometimes bath tub. I, however, am not into bathing with the fishes (or the public) so I just watched from the bridge. Not to undermine the bridges either because they are a huge part of the town's history, having been there since the 1100's. 
As you can see the village looks like a big party town. There are lots of nightclubs, pubs, and...okay enough of that, my bad joke is over. It's extremely quiet, and it's mostly priests who live here. However, they do indeed have great restaurants and delicious wine. Lagrasse is located near several vineyards, so you and the priests are guaranteed a good glass of vino.
One thing you can do, and must do, is visit the Abbey and the 16th century Bell Tower. The Abbey dates all the way back to 779, having much power throughout the diocese in the southwest of France. Although haven fallen quite a bit from the 13th-15th centuries, and much throughout the revolution, the current priests, Canons Regular of the Mother of God, have taken initiative to renovate it.  
For me, the greatest thing about the village is the scenery. It's perfect for photographers, nature lovers, hikers, historians, you name it. There's so much to be said about standing on the medieval bridge in early June and just looking at nature...and maybe some naked bathers.

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