Limoux is a market town and sous-prefecture in the Aude department of the Languedoc-Roussillon. It lies on the river Aude about 30 km due south of Carcassonne.
The town is perhaps best known for its winter festival called Fècos, often referred to (inaccurately) as a Carnival or fête. This takes place between January and Easter and is conducted in Occitan, the traditional language of the area (in Occitan the word Fècos is the name of a dance characteristic of the festival).
The predominant local industry is wine production. Limoux is becoming better known internationally for its sparkling wine, Blanquette, the recipe for which according to local legend was “stolen” by Dom Perignon to create champagne. The numerous local vineyards also produce fine non-sparkling wines, and wine-tasting is a popular activity amongst tourists and residents alike!
Limoux has a number of historical points of interest. Traces have been found of Neolithic occupation on the site of the present day town. During the infamous crusades against the Albigeios (the Cathars), despite being under the jurisdiction of the crusade-friendly Count of Razès, Limoux was taken by Simon de Montfort and became a crown possession in 1296. In the 14th century, the city was razed by the Black Prince. In the 16th-century, it was the site of a battlefield between Protestants and Catholics.
Today the town is much calmer! The cafe scene is dominant in Limoux where food and drink represent the main cultural pastime. Limoux’s town centre offers a selection of excellent restaurants and bars, shops, and a local market held on the Friday of every week. The heart of the town is the place de la Republique, a wide square with some fine stone arcading and a number of timber framed houses. Other points of interest are the Petiet Museum, the piano museum and the Catha-Rama (offering history and films about the Cathar tradition).
The town has a population of about 10,000 inhabitants, and is well serviced with schools and sporting facilities – including municipal swimming pools and rugby pitches. The Limoux Rugby League team plays at the National I level and its Union team plays at the National III level. There are also around 50 cultural and sporting clubs, from the local choir to the judo club, giving new residents to the area ample scope for getting to know their neighbours!
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