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Caux in Herault

Caux is undoubtedly one of the prettiest villages in this area
with a medieval core which dates back in parts to the 10th-century
– the church of Caux is recorded in the "Livre Noir" (literally black
book) in 1172.

Today it is a thriving village, even if the population is no more than 1711
inhabitants – rather better than the record of 6 inhabitants only after a terrible
attack of the Plague in 1327.

Like many medieval communities, Caux was built on a circular
plan around the church and the more modern 18th, then 19th-century
buildings have just increased the size of this circle, like the outer peel of
an onion. Many such properties were built when the production of wine was a
very profitable business and have imposing façades and good-sized gardens
(hard to find in old properties in this part of the world).

The old part of the village has retained its medieval charm
and here and there you will see remains of the fortifications, including two
impressive doorways in the remains of the ramparts, one with a sculpted fleur
de lys blason that managed to somehow survive the 1789 Revolution. Throughout
the old quarter you will admire archways, mullioned windows and elaborately
carved doors of houses in the narrow streets.

The church is a listed historic monument and is a quite spectacular
12th-century building of lovely honey-coloured stone. The tower rises
above the impressive porchway to the entrance ; this is an imposing edifice
built in the 14th-century. Perhaps it is not as solid as it looks
– wary visitors may notice a stone cross placed next to the church which fell
off the top of the tower in 1829 and somehow survived – the crash must have
been awful.

In a house just opposite the church is a beautiful Spanish Renaissance
window, with gargoyles (also listed), a reminder of the castle that was pulled
down in 1677 to be replaced by a penitents’ chapel.
Today the penitents have in turn disappeared and the chapel is used for exhibitions.
You may discover some interesting local art there particularly during the season.
The tourist office in Pézenas or the town hall in Caux can supply a brochure
free of charge giving a complete guided tour of the village – in French only.

Caux is a lively village and there are cultural and sports events
all year round. Guided tours of the old quarter are organised during the summer.
There are plenty of shops, small businesses and even a weekly market on Fridays,
so it is quite a practical village for spending a family holiday.

There are interesting walks around the village – in particular
a footpath through the ancient "Baumes volcano" which has recently
been tracked and marked (12km).

Caux is also worth visiting today for its full and generous
"Pays de Caux" wines. There are two wine events organised during the
year : "Farandole du Vin" (1st weekend in August) and the
New Wine festival (last weekend in October).

The "Chartreuse de Mougères" abbey nearby also
produces excellent wine. The buildings and chapel are quite beautiful but are
not generally open to the public. The cellar is open every day ; tel. 04 67
98 45 62 for information.