The Languedoc is just full of sleepy villages and wonderful landscapes! As we made our way one day to the famous hill top village of Minervois just 15 minutes from La Souqueto B&B we took a small detour and drove through the village of La Caunette.
This now quiet and peaceful village has provided shelter to people for over 1000 years. In the beginning, men and women found protection in caves in the cliffs that surround the village. Later during Roman times, villas were built forming the early community, one was noted in 936 as Cauneta Villa.
During the wars against the Cathars, La Caunette played an important part as the advance defence for Minerve, guarding the river Cesse, which was used by many as a means of access to the village. La Caunette, then known as “Lacaune sous Minerve”, was fortified, and this can be seen today as “La Carambelle” with it “porch” or entry gate dating from the 13th century. With the old chateau – Château des Pardailhan to its side. The village also had a number of passages built into the rocky hillside to provide a means of escape for villagers should thevillage fall.
La Caunette, like much of France suffered under the 100 year war, and the wars of religion. The chateau was attacked by the protestants in 1587, and 1590.
Henry IV in 1583 made an order that seigneurs were to plant elms to provide shelter from the sun, rain, in villages all over France. In 1593 an elm was planted in La Caunette at the entrance to the fortified gate of the old village (La Carambelle). The elm survived for 400 years until 1985, when it was unable to be saved from the rigors of disease and old age. A local artist, who lives at the Moulin de Cantarane, just outside La Caunette in the direction of Aigues-Vives, created a sculpture commemorating the old elm – now found near the church in 1988.
La Caunette is a thriving village with local shop, bar a garage and a superb restaurant called ‘La Cave’. It’s owned by three sisters who seem dedicated to creating the very highest quality affordable food.