Evidence of their time in the Aude can be clearly seen in and around the Minervois village of Villarzel Carbardes. So last weekend, following an article appearing in L’Independent, showing a guided walk, we went off in search of Visigoth graves.Setting off, between some houses, near the entrance to the village, on the D335, ( after a somewhat frustrating drive around the village, looking for the starting point )we followed a reasonably well marked route which took us past some spectacular views, some fascinating local oddities, and eventually to les tombes Wisigoths.
|Living in Yorkshire, we are used to stone walls and sheep.....but not quite like this.|
It dates from between the 5th and 7th centuries and contains 44 graves, arranged in family groupings on a peaceful hillside. Artifacts found at the site includes earrings, bracelets, pottery and drinking glasses. These can now be seen at a small museum in the village.
We started the walk early, to avoid the heat but by the time we had arrived at the grave site, the sun was quite high. This was my first longish walk for sometime, so we sat for a while, under the trees alongside the graves. The ancient branches gave a subtle filtered sunlight to the peaceful, gentle scene.
We continued through more open fields, and vineyards, and past some beautiful views of the mountains. This included Montagne d’Alirac….named after the king who led the Visigoth army when they sacked Rome in 410.
We were very tempted to pick the rose-hips and blackberries which seemed to be growing everywhere, and eventually wound our way back to our starting point.
The circular walk is about 7kms, and took us about 2 hours. It was all gentle walking, with no particularly difficult inclines…..perfect for me…….and , it was beautiful.