Discovery of tourist diversity

forge de montolieu


Montolieu millennial village, is located in the heart of Cathar Country
in the department of Aude in Occitan region.

forge de montolieu

On the edge of the Mediterranean climate and at the foot of the Montagne Noire, Montolieu and its surroundings offer a great diversity of sumptuous landscapes and exceptional sites that can be explored endlessly on foot, by bike, by car in a beautiful natural setting - all this to get away from the daily routine. Montolieu, in the center not of the World but of the Occitanie region: between land and Mediterranean Sea (1 h), mountains and rivers, at the crossroads between Toulouse and Narbonne / Montpellier, between Spain (Barcelona at 3am) and The Massif Central. A rich artistic and cultural heritage - dating from the Roman occupation to the industrial period - and many possibilities and excursions for those who love History, castles, Nature, gastronomy and wine.

From 20 minutes to 2h30 of 3 sites classified by UNESCO as World Heritage of Humanity :

• Medieval city of Carcassonne at 20 minutes ;
• The Canal du Midi at 20 minutes also ;
• Albi, 2h30 ;
• Castles of Cathar Country (in application of classification UNESCO).


forge de montolieu

"If you love the beach and nature, if you love old stones or prefer pretty towns, if you are greedy and curious : then, welcome to Occitania / Pyrenees-Mediterranean! Vast as a country, our region has all the treasures, the charms, the tastes..."

forge de montolieu
Here you will have the sea and the mountains, the villages and castles, the vineyards and the sun. In addition to the sweetness of life, the "knowing how to take your time", and the authenticity of the people who welcome you to our many territories."
(TOURIST OFFICE REGION OCCITANIA - 2nd region of France metropolis in terms of territory).


The country of Cathars is that of a group of Christians who developed in Europe between the tenth and fourteenth century and especially between Beziers and Toulouse, between Pyrenees, Albi and Black Mountain. Protected by the Counts of Toulouse and Carcassonne but persecuted by the power of the King of France in the process of conquering the still independent Occitania, these Christians - who preached Mass in the vernacular and especially a Church closer to the teaching of the The word of Christ, of his political and temporal power, was methodically massacred with the active support of the Catholic Church, allied to the King of France.

forge de montolieu

The story of these Cathares - dead martyrs, who called themselves "perfect" - ignited many intellectuals in the 70s, having perceived in them Resistance. They were thus drawn from oblivion in which they had fallen; the villages of Montaillou and Monségur (among others) have seen many moved pilgrims walk their andrones, furrow their surroundings in search of flames still incandescent. The entire history of the Aude has been rewritten under the romanticism of Catharism. A label of quality has resulted: Aude Cathar Country, the South has its history ©, which distinguishes the sites and products noticed by the Departmental Agency of Tourism of Aude.

Let's hope today that the Cathars - discreet men and women of their ancient times, artificially out of their deep sleep 40 years ago - are grateful for their simple and courageous lives - and their tormented endings.

forge de montolieu

The Aude has also survived: the vestiges of the Aude's industrial past, which knew how to use the hydraulic force of its streams (on its flanks Pyrenean and south side of the Black Mountain) are innumerable. On the edge of Dure, a must is the Moulin à Papier de Brousses-et-Villaret : the process of making paper-based rags becomes bright but not, originally, for writing !
Between antiquity and modern times: the Canal du Midi, a foolish and successful bet by Paul Riquet who connected the Two Seas and powerfully consolidated the East / West commercial axis of the southern Kingdom of France. A rich basement, a fertile land, a Mediterranean climate for the most part, a brewing and the passage of populations have been sources of development and creation of wealth throughout the centuries. Talented artisans (especially those labeled by the Pays Cathare brand exert their passions brilliantly in some splendid places: ancestral techniques were elaborated with what the soil offered (clay, iron ...)
• West door of the Aude : la poterie Not ;
• East gate of the Aude : Boris Klein, blacksmith Art and members of his association AFFA



Montolieu, whose territory rises from 130 to 400 m from the south to the north, is located on the foothills of the Montagne Noire, at the articulation of the limestone and viticultural reliefs of Cabardès and the mountainous granite, pastoral and forest slopes.

Just as the climate is at the crossroads of oceanic and Mediterranean influences, the landscape is at the junction of the southern biotope and the mountain area, boundary of the vineyard and the olive tree, and the resulting variety makes, with the presence of water, the richness and the charm of the place.

The village of Montolieu owes its origin to the establishment under Charlemagne of a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It was then in the form of a village, Valseguier or Tramesaiegues, at the confluence of two rivers, protected to the north by the castle of Mallast.
Roger de Trencavel, Viscount of Carcassonne, gave him the name of Montouliou (The Mount of Olives) in 1146.
The habitat gradually retreated into the fortress overlooking the gorges of Dure and Alzeau after the clashes of the Albigensian crusade. The abbey exerted a profound influence on the history of this locality, and the existence will always be under ecclesiastical authority, the power of high justice remaining vested in the king.

forge de montolieu

Two threads driving the development of the local economy: that of water with the mills that run along the two rivers, and that of wool with sheep farming and the wool industry. The village has more than 2500 inhabitants at the time of the Royal Manufacture. The mills and the Royal Manufacture will take over the 19th century factories which, along with viticulture and tannery, will still make the place so rich.
The population lives from factory work and a modest food crop. These activities will not withstand the modernization of the late twentieth century. Montolieu, like many villages in France, will experience the rural exodus following the crises of viticulture and the closure of factories. But it will find in 1990 with the Village of the Book and its tourist vocation a new development which make of it a model of reconversion.

Montolieu Heritage and History


Montolieu village du livre et des arts s’est forgé une solide renommée depuis 29 ans avec ses nombreuses librairies, ses artisans du livre, son Musée des Arts et Métiers du Livre et aujourd’hui avec la Coopérative-Collection Cérès Franco et de nombreux ateliers d’artiste. Tout commence en 1989 quand Michel Braibant, relieur à Carcassonne, souhaite créer un conservatoire européen des Arts et Métiers du Livre. Son intention est alors de transmettre la mémoire des métiers du livre en accueillant le public chez les artisans.
Grâce à sa collection personnelle, à des donations et au dynamisme de bénévoles, le musée ouvre en 1991. Parallèlement, des libraires de livres anciens se lancent dans l’aventure. Depuis, Montolieu vit au rythme des rencontres autour du livre.

Montolieu Patrimoine et Histoire