There are 22 Cathar castles, abbeys and medieval citadels in Aude, our very own Château de Puivert dates from the 12th century and is classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1902. It has strong links to both Cathars and troubadours. It has also featured in The Ninth Gate, a film by Roman Polanski. The Musée du Quercorb in Puivert traces the history of medieval music through its instruments, offering a showcase for the troubadours of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.

Followers of The Da Vinci Code, take note: it is said that the Holy Grail may be in southern France’s Cathar country. The rural French Resistance operated in l’Escale during World War 2 after an Allied plane dropped east of the hamlet in 1943. In a resprisal attack by German troops on August 9, 1944, the hamlet was completely destroyed by a fire. There’s a hike and memorial to the Maquis de Picaussel just up the road.

Day trip! Steeped in history, the beautiful walled city of Carcassonne is less than an hour from Chez Montagnes. It has numerous restaurants, beautiful shops to peruse, a train tour with multi-lingual commentary that runs around the Cité, great for history buffs and kids alike.

Check out the spectacular caves at Niaux for prehistoric cave art or visit Dinosauria, France’s first dedicated dinosaur museum, in the heart of one of the richest regions in Europe for fossil discoveries.