On the banks of the orb
On the banks of the Orb
Set against a backdrop of greenery and bordered by an 8km stretch of the River Orb, the village of Les Aires makes the most of its privileged situation.
Discovered in 1861, the water from La Vernière spring – known back then as the "fountain of health" – has been bottled since 1984 and is one of Les Aire’s principal resources. Above the village is the Romanesque chapel of Saint Michel de Mourcairol dating from the twelfth century, a curious remnant of the mediaeval castle built in the tenth century (a marked path leads up from the village, passing through the hamlet of Les Abbes). The pilgrimage to the chapel on May 8th attracts numerous visitors. From the belvedere, walkers have a 180° view of the valley and surrounding mountains (viewpoint indicator). Don’t forget to visit the church dating from 1865 and built in the neo-Gothic style with its superb eleventh-century marble altar, carved in Narbonne, and its pews sculpted by Dieudonné Magnan in the nineteenth century. The opportunities for rambling, hunting and fishing attract numerous nature lovers.
THINGS TO SEE :
SAINT-MICHEL DE MOURCAIROL
Perched on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 468m (1,535ft) the chapel of Saint Michel overlooks the ruins of Mourcairol Castle. This fort controlled the former Roman road which led from Béziers to Cahors, past Mourcairol and Rhèdes. The castle, the walls of which have some Visigoth features still intact, is mentioned as far back as 990 in a testament by the Viscount of Béziers. Main pilgrimage May 8th.
Access to vehicles is possible up to the castle ramparts along a track which leaves the Les Aires road around 500yds from La Vernière bridge, at the sign marked “Le Moulinas”.
Viewpoint indicator - Pilgrimage May 8th
Les Amis de Saint-Michel
Conservation and care of the site 04 67 95 61 19
ST MICHEL DES AIRES
The first church in Les Aires, construction of which begin in 1672 and which was inaugurated in December 1679, was rebuilt and extended in 1865 in the neo-Gothic style. The name of St Michel comes from the Romanesque chapel of St. Michel which belonged to the tenth-century feudal castle of Mourcairol. Inside: marble altar, listed historical monument. To visit: key available from Town Hall 04 67 95 61 44.