ST CHINIAN, HERAULT
Chinian, Herault, Languedoc, France
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Romeo and Juliet Balcony
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St Chinian from the river
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Saint Chinian is a bustling village, dating back to 825 when a monastery was founded by Saint Anian, possibly on the site of what today is the Mairie. The monastery prospered and with it the village that had grown up around. It survived the Albigensian Crusades relatively unscathed and emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries as a centre for the manufacture of high quality cloth. During the French revolution the abbey was dissolved and its buildings put to new uses. The former abbey church is now the village hall and hosts everything from exhibitions to village dances. If you enter the Mairie you will find an ornately painted staircase leading up to the first floor. In the courtyard behind the village hall you can still see the remains of what was once the cloisters.
The revolution also put an end to the cloth trade and the village had to rely on the wine for its fortunes. After the phylloxera crisis of the 1860's, the Languedoc region was producing huge amounts of cheap wine. It was not until towards the middle of this century that the vignerons began to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. A VDQS since 1945, St Chinian acquired AOC status in 1982. The appellation area covers twenty communes and produces primarily red and rosé. The vines grow on hillsides facing the sea, at an altitude of 100 - 200m. St Chinian wines have a very long-standing reputation, going back as far as the fourteenth century.
Places to visit
Present day St Chinian has a lot to offer visitors. The tranquil atmosphere, so often found in the south will calm and relax you. There are no noisy night-clubs to distract you from the peace and the stock of interesting past-times is plentiful. If you are interested in nature and walking you will find endless possibilities in the immediate surroundings. Close by is the Romanesque Abbey of Fontcaude, and dolmens and statue menhirs, relics of the megalithic era.
For a nice refreshing swim the beaches of the Mediterranean are only about 20 minutes away by car, or you could try the river Orb at Roquebrun, the river Cesse at Bize or the public swimming pool in St Chinian. Rock-climbing, fishing, cycling, painting, golf and riding are just a few of the other activities available.
Nearby attractive Cessenon-sur-Orb offers canoeing and kayaking.
Restaurants and Market
Visit the Sunday Market in Saint Chinian and see what is on offer!
Hungry after all that exercise? There are three restaurants on the Grand Rue, all offering a selection of French cuisine at excellent value-for-money prices. If you want to go further afield there is a wide variety of eateries to choose from. St Chinian has a good number of shops that will supply you with almost everything you need and for real choice there is a twice weekly market, where the best of local produce is on offer. If you are feeling in need of the English language, the english residents meet over drinks and market produce, on Sunday morning.
Sunday always seems a good day to have a Pizza! -
We recommend Tillou, 1 Ave de Beziers, St Chinian (0467381865) - t
The pizzas are great (there is also a traditional menu) and the service good.
Choose a Saint Chinian rental or B and B - house, villa, apartment
Sleeps 2-4. Wifi internet. Absolutely Charming
Sleeps 4-6. Large private terrace.
Sleeps 6. Wifi Internet. 3 bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms. Garden
2 Apartments rentals (Sleeps 2)(Sleeps 3)
+ Chambre d'hotes/Bed and Breakfast (4 doubles).
Table d'hotes. Swimming pool. Garden
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