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Trip Planner Europe  /  France  /  Occitanie  /  Aude  /  Caunes-Minervois
Caunes-Minervois is a small medieval town or “commune” in the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. It is known particularly for its ancient Abbey, dating from the eighth century, and the outstanding red marble that has been quarried locally from Roman times. The name may derive from the ancient local Occitan word for cave, “cauna”, of which there are a number in the immediate area.Caunes is also in the Minervois, a designated wine growing region with AOC status but with an ancient heritage. The name derives from the ancient regional capital of Minerve, some 20 km east of Caunes, itself named for the Roman Goddess Minerva. The Romans came through here, settling and introducing vines & olives in the region. Minervois Vignerons have been dynamic in changing the perception of the world towards wine from the south of France, developing quality products and experimenting with both old and new grape varieties and techniques.The ruined castle (chateau) at Minerve is a site attracting many visitors due to the ongoing interest in Catharism and the Albigensian Crusade. Caunes lies in the northern part of the modern touristic region of the “Pays Cathare” – Cathar Country – which stretches here from the Pyrenees.Geography and geologyThe town sits at the foot of the Montagne Noir which are themselves the southernmost extent of the Massif Central. The change in slope designates a change in geology from the predominantly metamorphic rocks of the nearby mountains to the alluvial deposits of the plains.
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