A great month to step into a church

This article below was taken from www.blahblahblah.org and highlights some beautiful churches/cathedrals/abbeys to visit when you’re in the Languedoc region of the south of France.  Go to our website www.southfranceholidayvillas.co.uk to book a villa close to these beautiful old building.
A great month to step into a church
Why not take a day out and visit one or two of the magnificent Abbeys, Cathedrals or churches in this region. You don’t even have to be religious to appreciate their history and the magnificent, centuries old architecture. These are just a few examples but if you simply pop into a local village church on your way into town, you’ll probably be impressed.
A hole in the roof
Agde is one of the oldest towns in the Languedoc. Founded by Greek seamen about 500BC it became a trading port and was regularly raided by the Corsairs from the Barbarg Coast. It was against such raids that the 12th century Cathedral of St Etienne was gradually fortified. The building, which has walls up to ten feet thick, is constructed from volcanic stone from the nearby Mount St Loup giving it a rather worn, grey appearance unlike most old buildings here which were built with warm yellow stone. The cathedral has one curious feature – a hole in the roof! It was through this hole that defenders of the place up on the battlements could receive food and  munitions and from which the wounded could be lowered to safety.
Never quite finished
The Narbonne St Just Cathedral was built in the 13th century as the seat for the powerful Languedoc Roussillon Archbishop. It has classic Gothic architecture – flying buttresses and slim stained glass windows. Although the building was never actually finished it sits next to the Archbishop’s palace and both are worth a visit.
A money-maker
The Abbey Saint Guilhem-le-Desert is located in the town of that name near Montpellier. It was founded in 804 by Guilhem of Orange, the Duke of Aquitaine and became a stop-off point on a medieval pilgrimage route. The money made from this usage was considerable and by the 11th century there was enough cash in the bag to rebuild the Abbey in Romanesque style. The building suffered considerably during the War of Religion and the French Revolution but remains a worthwhile outing.
Abbaye de Fontfroide
Located in the town of that name near Montpellier, south of France

Founded in the 11th century this building has been beautifully restored. It houses a superb 13th century cloister of intricately formed gothic arches and columns. It can be seen only on a guided tour for a small fee but it’s worthwhile, especially if combined with lunch in Narbonne or in one of the many cafes on the Canal du Midi.

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