Let’s stroll through the villages



Between the Montagne Noire and the Plateau du Somail, this little village has its origins back in the 13th century. It was then called  «Castrum de Angulis » because of the shape of its rectangular enclosure. In the Middle Ages, protected by its remoteness, the small community was not affected by those dark times. However the town suffered from the religious war of the 16th century. Though the majority was Protestant, the warfare with Catholics calmed down until the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It would be followed by the long period called “the Protestant Desert” when Huguenots (French Protestant) escaped and emigrated. Anglès reached its economic and demographic peak in the 19th century. Then the First World War decimated the population. Despite its many historical upheavals, Anglès is still a typical rural village of the Haut Languedoc where life is good. Il has many cultural and natural assets such as the Arles Route, the lakes of  the Raviège and of the St Peyres that both offer family leisure, several hiking trails and a pure nature !  Do not miss : the Protestant temple, the church, the door of the “Midi”, the Plateau d’Anglès path, the lake of the St Peyres


Little town in the Tarn and situated on the verge of the Aveyron, Barre could find its etymological roots  from the Gallic  “bar” meaning” peak”. At an altitude of 930 metres, it is the highest town of the Tarn Department. Its privileged geographic location enabled Barre to be the “castrum barum” to defend the road that divides the Rouergue county (Romans’ enemies) and the Narbonnais county. This little rural village composed of narrow streets named “carrieïros (ways for carts), was built of flagstones and faces South. Each year, on the last Monday of August, the “buffatière” (a traditional dance with bellows) brings to life  these little streets. This popular medieval folk dance, typical of the Languedoc region, brings together inhabitants dressed in white who sprinkle the spectators with flour with the help of their bellows. This tradition is said to be a means to repel the evil ! Nowadays, Barre lives mainly off livestock breeding,  the “Lacaune breed” ewe in particular. This breed is well known in the region because its milk is used in making the “Roquefort” cheese. You will also find in Barre a factory for homemade potato chips. Must-see : the path of Mont Barre (6 km) and its sceneries (orientation table ), the pond of Dévès, the  15th century church, the fountain of Gassot, the lintels of the sandstone doors 


At an altitude of 500 metres, nestled  in the hollow of the “Monts de Lacaune”, the little village of Berlats offers green and wooded  landscapes where  many brooks run through. Formerly,there were two grain grinders who participated in the economic development of the village during the 17th century and subsequently of some traders such as the Calvayrac Family who based their wealth on the grain trade. Berlats also owes its fame to its 13th century castle changed into a “Maison de Maître (stately host house) in the 17th century, and also to its  stud farm, the only one in the Tarn Department. Through out the region,  horse owners would bring their mares to be mated for a high price… with expensive coverings. The place still exists but it is a private home.  Berlats is  unique for its forests that produced charcoal for the farms of the country and also for its “jasses”. These are  dry-stone walled sheperd’s shelters that were still built at the beginning of the 20th. You can see them among forests and meadows. Must-see :the path of  Puech dels Carboniès,the path of the  jasses, the holiday centre « Berlats Accueil » that offers lots of nature activites and accomodation.


In the heart of the mountain of “Espinouse”, at an altitude between 900 and 1500 m., Cambon and Salvergues is the highest village in the Department of Hérault. It was founded in 1869 but marked by man’s way of living since time immemorial as some menhir statues testify, as well as the old Roman road that crossed the town. The name of Salvergues was given by SALVIUS, a Gallo Roman  Seigneur. Former meeting point of the St Jacques de Compostelle ways through the Via Tolosona, they undoubtedly participated in the economic boom of the Middle Ages.  It was during this period that the church of St Pierre de l’Espinouse was built (unfortunately destroyed in the 19th century). The churches of Salvergues and Cambon were then born, as well as the chapel Saint Martin du Froid, built on an ancient Visigothic tomb, and became over time the symbol of the Espinouse Mountains. The 19th century experienced a flourishing growth for agriculture ; farms were numerous, milk was processed in the village dairy and grain grinded at the water mill. Nowadays, Cambon is well known for its beautiful landscapes and its gentle lifestyle. A peaceful place for holidays, Cambon has accomodations to welcome hiking lovers and families seeking simplicity. Do not miss : Statue-menhir of Salverguettes, Church of  Saint-Pierre-de-l’Espinouse, Church of Salvergues, Saint-Martin du Froid Chapel (pilgrimage in August), the pedagogic workshop on wind energy.


Castanet-le-Haut culminates between 435m and 1124m, bordering the two departments of Aveyron and Tarn. Traces of a Roman camp, located at Plo des Brus, and Visigothic tombs testify witness to human presence on its steep slopes in remote times. Castanet has always been strongly marked by its geography. Part of it is located in the granite massif of the Espinouse, while the other part is formed by a limestone plateau bordered by the steep Orc cliffs. This is where we find the ridge that determines the watershed. The Prat de Cèbe, where the Mare has its source, is on the Mediterranean slope, while the upper part of the municipality, towards the Espinouse, is on the oceanic slope. It is thanks to this geographical particularity that our destination is so varied in terms of vegetation and climate! The hamlets clinging to the slopes of the mountain depended heavily on the cultivation of chestnut trees, which is the origin of the name of the commune. Today, Castanet remains one of the favourite playgrounds for climbers, hikers, adventurers and nature lovers.  Don’t miss : the 14th century chapel of St Eutrope (pilgrimage every 30th April), the Nougayrol mill (18th century), the cliffs of Orques, the cross of Mounis (orientation table), Notre Dame de Castanet (17th century).


Nestled in the green and wooded Gijou valley, Escroux, formerly Lacapelle d’Escroux, is crossed by the Giroussel river which runs north to south down the slopes of this commune with its rugged relief before joining the Gijou, just before the village of Viane. Like most of the Tarnese communes in our mountains, Escroux was affected by the wars of religion. The noble Bayne family who ruled the village converted to the new Protestant religion and bravely resisted the Catholic troops of the Prince de Condé. Oral tradition tells that the latter took place in the castle of Escroux, momentarily abandoned by its owner who had gone to help the Duke of Rohan, at the head of the Protestant troops, entrenched in the castle of Viane, and who resisted victoriously to Condé, forced to lift the siege! The oldest building in Escroux is the church of St Peter. Mentioned as early as the 15th century, it hosted the Catholic cults of Escroux, Roqueferre but also Senaux, which at that time had no church. The latter is remarkable for its pulpit, the work of the famous sculptor Pierre Paul Laclau, but also for its dome-shaped bell tower containing two bells, and a third placed outside, at the end of the bell tower. Don’t miss : St Peter’s church and its pulpit in carved wood, work of the cabinetmaker PP Laclau.


A charming little village nestled between Monts de Lacaune and Sidobre, Esperausses takes its name from the novel esperansa meaning “hope”. A pretty name full of poetry for a town that has known many historical events. As early as the Middle Ages, Esperausses was part of the lordship of Castres belonging to the Count of Toulouse, one of the King’s great vassals. But the situation changed during the crusade against the Albigensians (Cathars) and the defeat of the Count against Louis IX who ceded the lordship of Castres to the cruel nephew of Simon de Montfort. In the 15th century, the Hundred Years War devastated the kingdom of France. Fortunately the mountains remained less exposed than the plains. Esperausse, like most of her neighbours, was affected by the religious wars in the following century. Protestantism was established very early in the town and the Reformation was adopted by the few noble families of Esperanza. Legend has it that the Marshal of Themines, at the head of the Catholic troops, set fire to Esperanza before marching on Viane where the Protestant troops had withdrawn. Only the Château de la Barbacane has survived and was restored in the 17th century. Today, the village of Esperausses attracts people by its privileged environment at the gates of Sidobre, with its picturesque charm and incomparable quietness. Don’t miss : 16th century castle (private) perched on the rock of the Barbacane, the Protestant temple, the church “ND de la Nativité”, its squares and fountains, its two small wooded parks.


Another charming mountain village typical of the Haut Languedoc, nestling at an altitude of 780 metres and crossed by the clear waters of the Agout river, Fraïsse sur Agout finds its origins in the High Middle Ages as witnessed by the cross of St John, cradle of the village and site of the first church, destroyed in the 16th century by the Wars of Religion. Numerous civilizations have succeeded one another on these lands, from the Celts to the Barbarians, through the Gauls and the Visigoths, making the richness of its history and heritage, and where many places find their etymology, including the name of the village, meaning “ash tree”;. After the dark medieval period, it was not until the 16th century that a kind of communal life was established and village life began to be organised. In the 19th century, shops flourished and life was in full swing, before the Great War cut the population off, as in many rural communities. Today, life in Fraïssignole is peaceful, punctuated by the cries of primary school pupils in the heart of the village, its inns welcoming tourists and hikers. The streets of Fraïsse are filled with the sweet scent of flowers thanks to a multitude of floral species, including a large collection of roses, which embellish the village and make it so singular. It is the only one to be classified “4 flowers” in the flowered villages of the Hérault. Don’t miss : the flowered circuit in the village, the educational workshop “wood energy”, the straw of Prat Alaric, the tourist fishing route, the island on the Agout river and its water machines (from May to October), the Prévert path (5 km), the millenary beech tree.


In the hollow of the Gijou valley, surrounded by woods and meadows watered by a multitude of springs and brooks, the small village of Gijounet finds its origins in the 10th century where it was then run by two great lordships until the 12th century. Two consuls were then appointed each year and were in charge of the administrative life of the village until its attachment to the commune of Viane during the French Revolution. Gijounet is known for its “pesquiers”, artificial water reservoirs which allowed the irrigation of the slopes of the valleys and cultivated meadows. More than sixty have been discovered and inventoried, in good enough condition for buildings more than 200 years old! Another curiosity of Gijounétine is its Notre Dame church built in 1872 but whose bell tower, completed in 1890, has a bronze bell bearing the date 1655 which came from the castle of Grandval, now partly drowned by the lake of Razisse in the Tarn. Today, Gijounet, located between Lacaune and Viane, on the old route of the Petit Train railway line on the hillside, is appreciated for the greenery of its landscapes, its peace and quiet and its gentle way of life tuned to the rhythm of nature. Don’t miss : Its 16th and 17th century houses, the orientation table of Roquenière, the green way of the little train through tunnels and viaducts, the path of Malfayère (9 km).


The town of Lacaune has a rich heritage of history and culture due to the succession of historical periods. The name LACAUNE comes from the Latin “Cauna” meaning “cave”. The presence of numerous megaliths which would have been shaped and erected more than 4000 years ago at the dawn of the Bronze Age testify to the presence of Man for millennia in our regions. The Lacaune region has the largest concentration of statue-menhirs in Europe. The history of Lacaune is illuminated in the Middle Ages. Religious issues dominated these periods of the Crusades, the 100 Years War, and the confrontations between Huguenots and Catholics. In the 18th century it is the incredible story of the “Enfant Sauvage” (Wild Child) that shook the Lacaunais, an autistic child was found in 1798 by a group of peasants in the woods of the Bassine, whose story inspired the famous film by François Truffaut. In the 19th century, the arrival of the railway brought the commune out of its isolation with the Castres-Lacaune-Murat line. Tourism was also to experience an unprecedented boom, thanks to the opening of a spa in 1874, which reached its peak in the 1890s. It was also at this time that salting appeared. Thanks to the oceanic, Mediterranean and mountain climates that are favourable to this craft activity, it still makes the reputation of the city and remains its economic strength. Today, Lacaune attracts not only gourmet visitors with its PDO ham, but also nature lovers thanks to its many hiking trails and its brand new wellness centre, which offers a moment of incomparable tranquillity! Don’t miss : the fountain circuit, the delicatessen house and the Ramond spinning mill (from June to September), the Old Lacaune museum, the Griffoul square and the pissing fountain, the Pic de Montalet path, the Planted Stone (the highest in Europe), the greenway on the Petit Train path, the Hot Springs area, the Wild Child path (from April to October), the park of the Calmels castle.

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