Chateau of Pézènes (9.– 11. century)
of a report from 1759:
«There is a very old chateau in Pézènes ( 9. – 12. century.) most walls are
9 feet strong and in very good condition. Behind the walls there is an arsenal
with many old and unique weapons.
kinds of weapons, arrows and helmets can be found here and much more. The
chateau, although very well-fortified must have been even more fortified
in the past because it had several small forts that don´t exist any more.
Each entrance is protected by a double wall which can only be crossed via
There is a communal oven, a cistern and a big quern for grain which can be
found in the vaults of one of the towers. One of the three towers
bears an enormous attic. The tower has arrow slits, the two other towers
are round. Each of the towers has got defence constructions for the
event of a possible attack.
terrasses of great beauty at the back of the chateau are leading to
an airy pavilion Both terrasses are about 100 fathoms long and
3 fathoms wide. The first one is overgrown with orange trees and has a
nice trellis of the best fruit trees and the second one is covered
in laurel palisade, not to forget the various promenades, a rabbit warren
and high forest.
The chateau is a private property and can not be visited.
d'Ourgas in Les Montades (9.
– 12. century)
church is one out of 86 «with square top end» in the Hérault. The
building with trimmed quarrystone of volcanic origin could be
Carolingian. It could have replaced another destroyed
building dating back to the beginning of Christianity. This church
has kept its priviledge as parish church with a cemetary since the
beginning. In the 12th century vaults were built and on the south
side a door was opened.
the association of friends of Ourgas «l'Association des Amis
d'Ourgas» takes care of the renovation and maintenace of the site.
you fancy to visit the church, please don´t hesitate to ask the
locals for the keys.
the fixtures of a previous door on the outside wall on the west side
and the narrow windows. In the nave there was a well which has been
filled-up in the past and dates back to the beginning of the
Christian cult. It is remarkable that the floor of the church lies
70 cm lower than earth´s surface.
an alcove there is a remarkable stone statue «Virgin with child»from
the 12th century.The corners of the base are designed as dog´s
heads ( our loved virgin, protector of canin madness)
choir is slightly twisted out of axis. The window replaces obviously
a simple chamfered opening.The triumphal arch rests on columns with
indirect light borders. (Barbarian style?)
villages only received a water supply system in the 50-es of the last
century. Before that people had to fetch their daily water ration from
natural sources or wells. Those villages without groundwater, sources or
wells had to find other ways of water supply. They collected rainwater to
satisfy their thirst. Each residential building and farmbuilding was
therefore equipped with a cistern in order to collect rainwater from the
roof. The water was then filtered with charcoal before use.
Some wells can still be seen in Pézènes and it´s hamlets.
has always been a symbol of sharing and each village has it´s own
communal oven which was named "four banal" (=oven for
everyday use). It allowed the inhabitants to produce the most important
staple food ogether. Role allocation was clearly defined. The women
kneaded the dough while the men baked the bread which spread out this
wonderful scent which can still be found in some French bakeries. The
communal oven in Les Montades has recently been reconstructed.
way of building houses is evidence of everyday life in the country. The
piedmontese houses of the High-Lanquedoc duck down each other, their
massive and rectangular shape sometimes spreads over three levels, each of
which has a certain function. Depending on the proprietor`s job the ground
level was used as a shop, as a storage room for perishable foods or as a
sheep shelter. The living area was on the first floor while the third
level was used as storage room for corn, chestnuts and other dried foods,
or even for hay and straw.
the Mediterranean the water mill was first built in the 1st century b.
Chr. Windmills were more frequent. At first they were completely turnable,
depending on the directionof the wind , later only the top and the wings
were turnable. Even the smallest stream was feeding a mill in an area
where water and wind were equally irregularly available. Water or
windmill, even if they stopped working today, could tell a lot about life
people from Languedoc made fire with all sorts of wood which they found
plentiful in the forests. On some particular points, stacks were built for
the mining of charcoal. The first charcoal stacks already smoked in
prehistoric times and have added to deforestation over the centuries. The
deforested areas turned into heathland (garrigue). In the 17./18th century
the charburner trade was carried out on a big scale and in the 19th
century it grew to one of the most important economic factors of the
region. The reconstruction of a charcoal stack can be visited at the
village entrance of Fos..
the 18. and 19.th century the winegrowers made areas accessible
which had not been used by their ancestors. The last reclaimable
area required remarkable effort to receive and conserve a thin layer of
fertile soil on the steep slope of the mountains.Thousands of kilometers
of walls were piled up and terraced. The stones from the agricultural land
were used as building material. The looks of the landscape have very much
changed in these days.
piled up stone hills are evidence of tireless work of the inhabitants with
this mineral, be it at the edge of the plateaus, for land reclamation by
piling up stone walls near slopes, or small stone walls which
delimit the lots. A great number of dry stone piles are found everywhere
in the country, forming the typical mediterranean looks of the landscape.
the center of these landscapes, where hedges attract lizards, dry piled
shelters raise, single or in groups, seaming the agricultutal area since
time immemorial. Today most of the agricultural land lies idle. Material
for these shelters can be found everywhere: slates of different thickness,
depending on the use for walls or roof. The traditional method of piling
up and toothing the vaults without wooden frames, dates back to
prehistoric, mediterranean knowledge. Apart from its function as shelter
for man and tools they were also used for quarantain in times of the
plaque. Historical findings and tools from fire stone let assume that the
construction dates back to the stone age. The construction and its balance
make these huts be real monuments of the tradition in this area,
especially in Villespassans, Saint-Chinian and Faugères , where they are