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Prades-sur-Vernazobre

Nestled among the garrigue scrubland and vines, this ancient village is the ideal spot for a countryside walk. Prades-sur-Vernazobre can be explored by simply strolling through its grey and yellow buildings and the church of Sainte Marguerite with its 19th-century stained-glass windows, before delving into its countryside plains.

Here the landscape is dotted with meadows carpeted with herbs (thyme, rosemary, lavender and rock rose) and populated by Aleppo pine, chestnut, holm oak and strawberry trees. These meadows were the inspiration for the village’s name* and are now being replaced by vines. Bearing the Saint-Chinian AOC designation, the vineyards extend alongside the Vernazobres river and up the hillsides. Local wine producers will happily welcome you for you a tour of their estate or a wine-tasting session.

Majestic olive trees, their trunks gnarled and battered by time, still stand on the banks of the Vernazobre which snakes its way through the village. They rub shoulders with old mulberry trees dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, a period when silkworms were cultivated. This array of colours and fragrances leads you to the town square, the starting point for an 8.7 km walk (no.39 “St Martin de Dounaro”).

Choose from a number of top-quality places to stay for a refreshing break in this charmingly authentic village, which lies just a few kilometres from the Canal du Midi and Mediterranean beaches.

*”Prades” comes from the word pratis which means “près” (or “meadows” in English)

Its history

The village’s unique geography has always made it an ideal place to live, as evidenced by the 6,000-year-old pottery discovered there. The village was also inhabited during the Gallo-Roman period before being hit by the Migration Period; the chapel of Saint Martin stands as a testament to this period in history. Although it had existed since ancient times, it was at this point that the vine began to flourish. The village operated under the protection of Sainte Marguerite (Saint Margaret of Antioch) and a church was built in 1542. The economy flourished and a mill was built at Commeyras in 1555. Several factories were built at a place known as “Les Tuileries” in 1596 and at “Les Mourelous” in 1599. Provencal farmhouses bloomed around the central village– La Rouvelane in 1587 and La Maurerie in 1606. It was only in 1900 that the village gained its independence.

Don’t miss:

  •  A wine-tasting session
  •  An 8.7 km walk along the no. 39 “St Martin de Dounaro” footpath
  •  The church of Sainte Marguerite (16th century)
  •  The chapel of Saint Martin de Dounaro
  •  The banks of the river Vernazobres
  •  La Matte de Chavardes, an ancient Gallo-Roman estate

           

         

          

           

 

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