Where it is now |
Trausse pictured below, is a village, a "commune" in the Minervois, a vineyard area of the Languedoc Roussillon, at the base of the Montagne Noire well into the south-western part of France. The village itself was founded probably in the 8th or 9th century and has a population of about 400 people. It only received street name signs in the mid 1990s.
The nearest regional city of Carcassonne (which
has the ancient Medieval walled "La Cite") is a half hours drive east of
Trausse, while Toulouse is about 1 to 2 hours drive, as well as
Montpellier about 2 - 2 hours & fifteen minutes drive.
La Cite and again on Bastille Day.
The airports to
fly into would be Toulouse or Montpellier for usual type flights (e.g.
Lufthansa, KLM, BA, Air France) though easyjet fly from Orly in Paris to
Toulouse, & Gatwick London to Toulouse. Or Carcassonne for Ryanair from
Stansted in London & the Midlands & also from Dublin. Car rentals agencies are in the
three of those airports - is usually easy to deal with any of the
agencies direct on the web & sometimes cheaper to deal with ryan air or
easyjet car rentals on the web. If you are going to be away for longer
than 21 days you can lease either Peugeot, Citroen or Renault (see our
Useful Links) which is a lot cheaper in both rental & insurance than
normal rent, & take note that diesel (gazole) is the cheaper fuel to buy
especially from supermarket fuel outlets.
Numerous Castles from the
12th & 13th centuries are all with 1-2 hours drive of Trausse, with the
Canal du Midi about 15 minutes away - this is the area of the Cathars.
You may want to read up on the Cathar History of the Languedoc - try
Stephen O'Shea's book "The Perfect Heresy"- Profile Books 2000 or Zoe
Oldenberg's "The Massacre of Montsegur".
Trausse is completely surrounded by vineyards & has in fact 4
vignerons in the village & is within 10-15 minutes of dozens of wineries
where one can also have a "degustation" (tasting). I can book you on a variety of wine/history tours as well as cooking
tours when you make a booking in one of the houses. Trausse is situated
in a relatively flat valley and for those people who like biking the
whole area is extremely suitable. Within 15 minutes by car or 60 minutes
or so by bike are the foothills of the Montagnes Noires (Black
Mountains), where the vineyards still grasp onto the rocky soil and yet
the scenery as you ascend is magnificent. By car over the mountains for
an 80 minute drive is Castres and a further 20 minutes on is the ancient
city of Albi, with the unique Cathedral Ste-Cecile, the Toulouse-Lautrec
Museum & the Laperouse Museum not to mention classic shopping. Spain is
110 minutes on the autoroute.
The town of Caunes Minervois with winding streets, ancient Abbey,
restaurants and now a new wine bar is about 3 klms away while Peyriac &
Rieux Minervois (both have restaurants & bars) are about 3 kms & 4 kms
respectively & the church in Rieux is well worth a visit. The
Mediterranean and the beaches of Narbonne (Narbonne Plage) & Gruissan (Gruissan
Plage, Les Auygardes) are within 50 minutes drive while the beaches
around Leucate & onto Collioure are about 60 + minutes - a far nicer
alternative. Lac Jouarres with swimming & water sports is a 20 minute
drive for those who want to cool off in summer & there is a public
swimming pool in Peyriac Minervois. (Lac Jouarres pics)
The weather in Trausse can be quite warm late May, to hot in June
through to August & again quite warm in September with cool to cold
days/evenings in the April-May and September -October time period - it
is always necessary to bring a waterproof/windproof type of jacket in
case of changes in weather. The winter months of November to March are
cold and a heavy coat/jacket/scarf and the use of the fire within the
house would be required. It has been known to snow near here, but is not
Excellent walking abounds in the mountains with valley and canyon walks or road
walks to 10th century churches hidden in valleys deep in the mountains.(More
about the walks) The mountains are much cooler in the summer.
Likewise the area has several very good eating establishments with Lo
Cagorol Restaurant 30 minutes away in the village of Aigne, with menus of 3
courses from approximately 20 Euro per person. Smaller
establishments are in adjacent villages and some menus start at
approximately 12 Euro per person and can include wine.
Walking/hiking enthusiasts may be interested in having a guided
walk/hike – depending on weather & if Steve & Marilyn are in Trausse &
available. The cost as follows: 10 Euros per person per walk, or 25
Euros per family (these walks would not be suitable for children under
12). There are 3 graded walks, (no hills – 3 hrs e.g Canal du Midi,
walks in the hills – 2.5hrs and more strenuous hill walks of 3 hrs). For
the latter 2 good support shoes/boots are recommended.
Wine tasting & local produce night (6.30pm to 8pm) – depending on
Steve & Marilyn being in Trausse & available. Cost – Euros 20 per
couple, expect to have local goats cheese from the mountains nearby,
olives from the area, local smoked trout and Trausse wines (see Useful
Links for a Trausse vigneron) and the famous anchovies from the med.,
and the various sausages from the area.
Trausse has 2 eating establishments; Bar a Vins - Restaurant, La Table des
Vignerons "Domaine Tour Trencavel" in the renovated Bureau of the old Cave
Co-operative building. They serve well constructed meals, menus with choices & a
la carte served with very reasonabley priced local wines. The second is
the smaller bar/restaurant
called L'Amandier situated in the ancient Tour Trencavel area of the village -
serving reasonably priced food & open thoughout the day for coffee or drinks.
There is also a Post Office, an electrical store, a good
epicerie (general store) - sells excellent bread & croissants/pastries
among the usual. A baker and other vendors selling various food visit the
village daily (our own little market) in their vans and are announced by loud
speaker or sounding of horn. Essentially Trausse is a typical French village
with ancient streets, friendly locals, a 12th century Tour (tower) and a central
place for parking which is near the houses (about 40 metres) - some of the
streets are too narrow for cars to travel.
Throughout the year there are various fetes in Trausse or other villages and these fetes normally have a dinner at night followed by dancing with music provided by a local or nearby band e.g. Trausse cherry festival (usually mid May) where one can buy any cherry product from the delicious cherries grown around the village - boxes or bags of cherries, jams, vinegars etc.
If you are looking for a Casino or trendy night spots then Trausse is NOT for you, but if you want to spend 2-3 days in the car exploring the area, then some time biking or hiking the myriad of back roads and vineyards, doing a tasting etc., attending a cooking class or trying local eating places, taking a ride on the Canal du Midi and meeting the people of this area, then Trausse is for you.