Find yourself a holiday home ‘on holiday’

Moerland Rentals has a lot of lovely holiday villas for rent in the Aude and Hérault. So why not enjoy a holiday while house hunting? For the next weeks we have some fantastic last minute offers, check our website and come and meet us in person in the beautiful Languedoc:

Go to our website

The dove of Minerve

Languedoc – Roussillon is home to many beautiful places full of history. One of the places well worth a visit is Minerve, an extraordinary hanging village in the south of France. This natural phenomenon is to be found on a very impressive location, surrounded by gorges who carve into the landscape where two rivers meet, the Cesse and Brian. These gorges formed the natural defences of Minerve in the Middle Ages. What had to be built with human hands in Carcassonne, was offered by nature in Minerve. However, even this defence wasn’t strong enough to protect the Cathars from the crusade…

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In 1209 an immense army marched along the Rhone to the south of France, to liberate Occitania, as Southern France was then called. Pope Innocentius III had declared that it was Satan himself who kept Occitania occupied. It was the Pope who called for a crusade against this Empire of Evil. In name of this crusade the Christians attacked Minerve in 1210.

The leader of the crusade, Simon de Montfort, closed Minerve from the rest of the world with a large army. From his side of the gorges, he sent a rain of stones by catapult on the small town, as there was no other possibility way to attack. Descending the gorges and then climbing up the other side simply was impossible.

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Meanwhile in Minerve, house after house collapsed under the rain of rocks. However, that was not the worst enemy of the Minervois yet. The summer that year was exceptional hot and dry. The rivers in the gorges around Minerve were dried up. There still was a well at the bottom of the gorges, but those who dared to go down to get water, were immediately attacked with arrows of the besiegers. The Minervois were without water and they were therefore hopelessly lost in the heat of the summer.

There was no other option but to try to find a settlement. Guillaume de Minerve started negotiations with Simon de Montfort. It was agreed that the Minervois were allowed to leave the city, leaving behind their belongings, however only after renouncing the Cathar faith. A northern French knight was quite upset about this. He had come to kill heretics, not to conquer cities:

“This way you will give the heretics a chance to escape. Of course they will pretend to abandon their faith, to walk off freely.”

But the papal legate, Cardinal Arnaud-Amaury, who was in the company of Simon de Montfort, answered him:

“Do not worry, I do not think many will renounce their faith.”

Cardinal Arnaud-Amaury was right. The besiegers invaded Minerve while singing the Te Deum. They planted a cross in front of the small church, which still is active nowadays. Opposite the cross you can find the beautiful monument with the pigeon. The besiegers went to a house where they had gathered the parfaits. They were asked to renounce their faith. One of them replied:

“Neither living nor dying can separate us from the belief to which we are connected.”

After that they went to another house where the female parfaits were gathered. Simon de Montford tried to persuade them to convert. As he said:

“I want you all to be saved and gain knowledge of the truth.”

It did not help. Arnaud-Amaury was not mistaken. Only three women were persuaded at the last moment by the entreaties of a noble lady, Mathilde de Saint Roch, who was in company of the Crusaders.

At the bottom of one of the gorges, a big stake was built. The besiegers didn’t have to make any effort to put the Cathars on the stake, as they went there by themselves and threw themselves into the flames, one by one. They were one hundred and forty.

It was the first mass burning of Cathars after the beginning of the crusade. Soon there would be more to follow. In Cassès 60 Cathars were burned. At the stake of Lavaur as much as 400 Cathars were killed. Also in Lavaur, the 80 knights who defended the city were hung. The noble Lady Guiraude who protected the Cathars was thrown into a well which was then filled with stones. “And many pretty heretic women were thrown into the fire,” as the song of the crusade (Chanson de la Croisade) tells, referring to a perverse trait of the North French, who “experienced great joy watching this event”. Could this be a reaction to the equality of women and men with the Cathars?

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These days, you will find the stone in which the profile of a dove is carved opposite the little church in the middle of the village. It has become a famous symbol of Catharism in recent years. You will find it on a postcard in almost every tourist shop, and if you know it only from these images, you will be surprised by how small the actual statue is. The dove of Minerve was created in 1962 by Jean-Luc Séverac, in order of the Municipality of Minerve. The artist himself is amazed about how famous his dove has become: “People absolutely want to believe that it is a medieval dove. Now, if that is what they like to believe, they are more than welcome to do so (Interview in the Cathar special of Pyrénées Magazine from 2000).

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In Minerve you will also find a wonderful small museum, dedicated to the Cathars. It is located in the aptly named street: “Carrjera del martyrs”. The history of the Cathars is very well explained by small scenes, once set up with lots of love by a local wine grower in his spare time. Monsieur Casque is the current manager of the museum and extends a warm welcome. The museum is called “Hurepel” and an absolute must for those who want a short and clear summary of the history of the Cathars.

Written by Bram Moerland

Where to buy in Languedoc Roussillon?

The region of Languedoc Roussillon is one of the sunniest of France. However, within this region, there is a difference in weather. So it is worth your time to investigate which area of Languedoc Roussillon appeals most to you.

Basically, the region is to be divided into four areas: the mountain area (montagne), the foothill areas (arrière pays and passage) and the coastal area (littoral).

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Real estate wise are the prices in the coastal area quite high. The landscape is flat, not very beautiful (compared to the mountain areas) and it gets very busy during high season. The sun does shine however. The mountain area on the contrary is very beautiful and the prices of real estate are low. However, if you are looking for sunshine, this is not the area to buy. Rain comes down more often in these regions, also in summer.

The area where Maxéa is specialized in, is the foothill area. This area does offer great scenery, combined with sunshine and reasonable prices. Both the departments of the Hérault as the Aude offer great houses.

Languedoc Roussillon is a pleasant region to live in. It is very accessible, both by route and by plane.

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Close to the Mediterranean beaches as well as beautiful mountains, rivers to swim or canoe, bustling market villages, historical cities and the canal the Midi:  the region appeals to a lot of people to buy a secondary home or even their principal residence. Despite the great interest, especially further inland, the regions still remains its characteristic charm without being overflowed by tourists. Live is good in Languedoc Roussillon!

HOUSE FOR SALE: Spacious villa with open space, views and a large pool

On the heights of Lamalou les Bains, this spacious villa with 3 bedrooms has all you could wish for: a lovely situation with views over the forest and beautiful wooded grounds, a large pool, 3 garages and a workshop. This peaceful location is south facing, not far from the centre of this a spa town and 10 minutes from the golf course. Energy label: E.

If you would like more information about this house, you can contact us at ventes@maxea.com or call us at +33 (0)4 67 24 82 42.

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Selling your house in France – Compulsory surveys

Selling your house in France - compulsory surveysWhen selling a house in France, there are several compulsory surveys or “diagnostics” to be carried out depending on the age of the building.

Without these surveys, your house sale cannot be completed. All surveys must be carried out prior to the completion of a sale and we recommend that you do all surveys at the moment you decide to sell your house. The DPE (energy label) is compulsory from the moment you put your house on the market.

The compulsory surveys:

Survey Compulsory for Validity
Termites (Etat parasitaire) Property located in contaminated areas (determined by the Prefect of each department). In the Hérault as well as in the Aude this survey is compulsory. 6 months
Asbestos (Constat Amiante) Property with planning permission which was granted before 1st of July 1997. Unlimited if no asbestos found
Lead (Plomb) Property built before 1st of January 1949. 1 year if lead is found, otherwise unlimited
Energy label (DPE – Diagnostic Performance Energétique) All properties. 10 years
Natural and technological risks (Etat des risques) Property located in susceptible areas determined by the Prefect of each department. 6 months
Gas Properties with fixed gas installations which are older than 15 years. 3 years
Electricity Properties where the electrical installation is older than 15 years. 3 years

The costs of these surveys are at the charge of the vendor of the property and have to be carried out by a qualified expert. Only the Natural and Technological Risks declaration may be executed directly by the seller (information available at the town hall and on internet). However, we also recommend that these surveys are carried out by a qualified expert.

Link : Maxéa – Real estate in South of France – Languedoc
Link : Moerland Select – A selection of quality properties for sale and rent in the Languedoc

Example of an energy label (DPE):

DPE

The 2012 edition of “Sud de France” magazine is available : “Languedoc-Roussillon, le vrai Sud”

You do not have to wait you can read “Sud de France” magazine directly on our Blog : “Languedoc-Roussilon – The real South”  

via Sud de France en prachtig blad over de Languedoc-Roussillon “le vrai Sud”.

Link to english version here

Maxéa will be in the French Village at A Place in the Sun Live !

Our stand Sticker FR33Maxéa is pleased to announce that we will be in the French Village at A Place in the Sun Live exhibition! We will share our stand with Moerland Holiday Rentals.

30th March – 1st April 2012, Earls Court London

Come and see us on stand FR33 and get a chance to win free holiday accommodation in Languedoc – South of France!

More information on the French Village website:
French Village – Moerland,
French Village –  Maxéa

Our website : www.maxea.fr

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