Camon, a medieval fortified village in the heart of the Cathar Country

Camon
Camon, a medieval for ...

Steeped in history and full of charm, the Ariège villages are always the promise of great discoveries. Perched at the top of a hill in an abundant natural setting, the village of Camon well deserves its title of " Most beautiful village in France ", in the Cathar Country. Nicknamed " the little Carcassonne ", this small medieval village, surrounded by ramparts, plunges us with delight into a most bucolic medieval atmosphere. A very unique village, a must-see during your stay in Ariège!


Camon

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A village sheltered from a fortress

Priory of Camon

The former abbey of Camon which has become the Priory of Camon


Located in the meander formed by the Hers river, in the hollow of a valley dominated by the peak of Saint-Barthélemy and its 2348m altitude, Camon proudly wears its title of " Most beautiful village in France" , the unique of the department. Nestled around its former Benedictine abbey, this small town is a real gem that has preserved a precious architectural heritage. Here, time does not seem to have a hold on this medieval decor with cinematographic charm.


The good idea Do you like beautiful medieval sets? Read our article on the most beautiful villages in Ariège.


Of Gallo-Roman origin, " cambo dunum " means the fortress of the meander. Legend has it that on his return from Spain in 778, Charlemagne ordered the construction of a Benedictine abbey and a small church in these places, which saw the birth of the village all around. The cultivation of vines and cereals then developed to pay the tax due to the monks of Lagrasse. Camon becomes a strong and important place in the Middle Ages.


The good idea 30 minutes from Camon, go for a beautiful hike to meet the petrifying waterfalls of Roquefort-les-Cascades.


Camon
Camon  Camon


Throughout history, the village was ravaged several times: once by the flood disaster in the late 13th century and then again looted by bandits in the late 15th century. The church building was lavishly restored in the 16th century by Bishop Philippe de Lévis who builds his chambers on the second floor of the tower called the castle. This abbey still proudly dominates the village, today a guest house and gourmet restaurant. The remains of the church and the ramparts, meanwhile, are now listed as Historic Monuments. To gain access to the interior of these buildings, the tourist office organizes guided tours lasting 1 hour (reservation recommended).


Abbey Castle of Camon

The rich interiors of the Château de Camon Abbey (Hotel and gourmet restaurant) testify to the power of this religious place.


It is on the north side that the ramparts are best preserved: going along them constitutes a beautiful stroll around the village. Information panels adorn this pleasant walk surrounded by greenery. Another heritage curiosity to observe in the hills around Camon: a thematic trail allows you to discover the 120 dry stone huts which bear witness to a wine-growing past in the service of the priory.


Battlements  Battlements

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In the heart of the village "with a hundred roses"

Camon  Camon


Exploring this village is not limited to its fortifications . Indeed, to enter Camon is to discover a village frozen in the past. Everything is there to transport you to an intimate and authentic atmosphere: its cobbled streets, its half-timbered merchant houses, its stone houses with Romanesque tiles, its flower beds... and its hundreds of climbing roses on the facades of the houses. You will love strolling through its charming medieval streets!


Camon  Camon
Camon


There are several ways to enter the village walls: through the old arched door of the church, through small passages in the ramparts, or through the entrance door of the Clock with a bell tower, very well preserved. Strolling through the picturesque alleys allows you to fully enjoy the architecture of the village while admiring the perfect combination of stone and plants. Spring sees Camon adorned with a multitude of roses for our greatest pleasure! A flowering in spring colors put in the spotlight during the Festival of Roses which takes place every year on the third Sunday in May!


Roses Festival
Roses Festival  Roses Festival

Put on your sneakers!

After visiting the village, why not explore the surroundings on foot? You can relax by the Hers river overlooked by a historic bridge or have a picnic in the heart of nature. Do not miss the superb rose garden at the entrance to the village by the river!


The good idea Do you visit Ariège in winter? We have compiled some ideas of activities for you to do, to enjoy this region, even when the cold is calling for the holidays. Conversely, if it's summer, be sure to click to discover our good ideas for going swimming and enjoying the water in Ariège, when it's too hot!


The banks of the Hers river  The banks of the Hers river

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Report and photos produced by Lesley Williamson for the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide


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