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Villespassans

Clocher horloge de Villespassans - du Canal du Midi au Saint-Chinian

© Office de tourisme du Canal du Midi au Saint-Chinian

Situated on plateau less than 20 km from Saint Chinian and the banks of the Orb and the Canal du Midi, this village is a bewitching myriad of stones. Welcome to Villespassans, a typical village of the wine-growing region of Languedoc.

While it is set amid a breathtakingly beautiful landscape of vines and garrigue scrubland, this isn’t all that Villespassans has to offer - it is also home to geological and palaeontological remains, as evidenced by the caves and dolmens discovered there. It offers a diverse wealth of heritage which attests to the beauty of the place and to a history that will reveal itself to you as you stroll through its narrow alleyways and shaded courtyards. Nestling between the houses is the Notre Dame de l’Assomption church, which boasts beautiful facades and a restored bell tower. One after another, you’ll see the hints of the important role played by the former lords, such as in the old houses with tiled roofs, a Roman façade, and the city walls.

To the north east, low walls (called murets in French – be sure to pronounce the “t” to sound like a native) and capitelles (dry-stone huts) are a reminder of the agricultural and pastoral activity of the village, which is surrounded by a Saint-Chinian AOC vineyard. Let your feet and imagination wander along the “sentier des mille et une pierres” stony footpath, which offers a glimpse into the lives of the shepherds and farmers who have shaped our land. The footpath is dotted with information signs that tell you about agricultural and pastoral life in the Villespassans region. Sporty types can explore the area by setting out on a 34 km mountain biking route that starts from the Maison des Vins de Saint-Chinian before joining Assignan (no.10 “Saint Chinian – Villespassans – Assignan”, 780D+ (elevation)).

Finally, don’t leave Villespassans without first sampling the delights of our local wine or produce at a tasting session with our local producers.

Its history:

The castrum of Villespassans is first mentioned in manuscripts from 1180. At the end of the 12th century, the village was a popular place of passage, and the lord charged a toll on all those who could not avoid passing through it. The once-fortified village fell under siege in 1590 as a result of rivalries between the Joyeuse and Montmorency armies. The château was rebuilt in the 18th century, when a tall tower was added. The old chapel, which became the parish church, is dedicated to Notre-Dame de l’Assomption (Our Lady of the Assumption) and is thought to date back to the 12th and 15th centuries. Old records from the 18th century show that various pastoral activities, such as sheep farming, took place. The land registry from 1812 specifies that wheat, rye and oats were cultivated in the local area. In the mid 19th century, wine production overtook traditional food crops following the creation of the railway running between Bize-Minervois and Saint Chinian, which boosted exports.

Don’t miss:

  • The “sentier des mille et une pierres” stony footpath
  • The church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption
  • The red earth between Villespassans and Assignan
  • A mountain bike trail on the 34 km path via the no.10 “Saint Chinian – Villespassans – Assignan” route, leaving from the Maison des Vins in Saint Chinian

   

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