The capital of Blanquette, carnivals and just plain partying!!!
Limoux, the town that loves to celebrate, offers a host of attractions and activities waiting to be discovered. Come and try a wonderful mix of landscapes in every shape and colour against the white backdrop of the Pyrenees, in this “sparkling” destination that opens the gate to the Upper Aude Valley.

Carnaval de Limoux

The Carnaval de Limoux is a traditional, almost religious carnival! It lasts longer than any other in the world (3 months), unfolding in a precise ceremonial ritual that stems from ancient traditions. So, every Saturday and Sunday from January to March, the masked “Goudils” parade from one café to another around Place de la République, in the company of the disguised “Fécos” gangs.

carnaval de limoux 2019@veronica

You’ve guessed it, this is no ordinary procession where spectators simply stand and watch.
No, the Limoux carnival is a whirlwind of sound and colour that the local people take part in, almost greedily, when the carnival gangs make their 3 daily walkabouts!

carnaval limoux@OT Limouxin
Carnaval de limoux@d ducasse, OT Limouxin

The “Goudil” parade takes place at 11 o’clock in the morning. Each gang chooses its own theme. The 5 o’clock parade adopts a more serious tone and features the traditional Pierrots of Limoux. The third parade takes place in the evening in the light of the “Antorches” (resin torches). This time the fun continues late into the night.

The last Sunday of the carnival, the one preceding Palm Sunday, is when the carnival judgement is pronounced in Occitan. The festivities end with the Nuit de la Blanquette! It’s worth noting that this event steeped in culture, folklore and celebration, won the status of National Intangible Heritage in 2013.

Blanquette de Limoux

Blanquette de Limoux dates back to 1531 and the cellars of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Hilaire. A monk discovered that the wine he had carefully bottled and corked was producing bubbles, as if beginning to ferment again.

To discover how this sparkling beverage is made (and how it tastes), a number of the region’s wine cellars and estates propose guided tours explaining the different “Blanquette” and “ancestral method” wines.

Not a weekend to lose

Carnival’s over? No problem! In Limoux, the party goes on all year round, with a whole succession of festivals:
The “Limoux Brass Festival” which for the past 10 years has attracted professional brass players from across the world.
The tone changes with “Les Bulles Sonores”, a festival devoted essentially to the new-generation French music scene and naturally appealing to younger audiences.
Every year on Palm Sunday weekend, it’s time for the “Toques et Clochers” festival. This is not to be missed! On the Saturday, the event is open to the general public who get to meet the people who make the wine, those who sell it and those who enjoy drinking it, in a fun and friendly spirit of togetherness. The highlight of the event is a wine auction on the Sunday organised by Sieur d’Arques of Limoux.

Heritage and culture

The Musée Petiet: This small museum named after local artist Marie Petiet has retained all its “belle époque” charm. It houses a collection of not only the late 19th-century artist’s own works (many of which are portraits), but also those of other 19th and 20th century artists from the region.

Limoux, musée petiet, la salle rouge - Cr. Ph. Benoit, Conservation départementale des musées
Limoux, musée des automates

The Musée du piano which occupies an old church, displays a hundred or so pianos, mostly 19th and 20th century. It also houses an auditorium which hosts, and adds a certain charm to, a few summer concerts.

Definitely worth a visit, considering how rare these items are!

The Musée des automates. The tour is split into three parts. The first visits a room full of splendidly dressed automated figures. You’ll recognise some of the characters and fairytales they depict. Any little girl who likes to dress up as a princess will love this. Next comes a video film which tells the story behind automatons from their origins to the present day. The tour ends with a workshop during which the creator will answer your questions.

Notre-Dame de Marceille

One of the most enigmatic features of the town and indeed the region. Founded as a chapel in the 14th century, it achieved the status of pilgrimage church in 1380. The sanctuary, of southern Gothic style, is very unusual because of its shape, its enormous buttresses and its octagonal steeple with 4 arched windows. The steeple houses four bells, the oldest of which dates from 1667.

Notre-Dame de Marceille is a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrimages are organised here. For believers and non-believers alike, this site is definitely worth visiting!

Gastronomy

To enjoy with sparkling or still wines, we recommend you try the “Pébradous” (peppered crackers).

The pork fricassee (traditionally eaten just after the family pig was killed), enjoyed with beans, is one of the town’s specialities.

To end a meal on a sweet note, try the soft nougat, a “Tap de Limoux” (chocolates shaped like Blanquette corks) or the “Limos” royal crown brioche.