Montolieu, Village of books and arts

Montolieu 1 day

Carte de localisation de Montolieu dans l'Aude
Elisa, Office de Tourisme, Grand Carcassonne

Expérience recommandée par
Elisa, Office de Tourisme Grand Carcassonne, art-addicted

This village of books is bursting with culture. Unearth rare gems at the second-hand bookshops in Montolieu… The Cérès Franco contemporary art exhibition is incredible and uncompromising… Creatives display their work in the street… But what they truly excel in is “art de vivre”. Artists (or not), welcome to Montolieu!

01 HIGHLIGHT

An extraordinary collection

Oeuvre de la collection Cerès Franco, Montolieu © Cerès Franco

Uncompromising art without borders

Let’s start our day with a rare gem before we visit the village of Montolieu.
If you love beautiful things then take your time drinking in the extraordinary Cérès Franco Museum… An unexpected and radiant exhibition is yours for the taking.
The former Montolieu wine cooperative celebrates inclusive and uncompromising contemporary art: modern, raw, naive… paintings, sculptures, engravings… A whole host of styles on a voyage of discovery…
It’s bursting with colour too!

Cérès Franco, a woman like no other

Art critic and historian Cérès Franco collected artworks based on their creative freedom, honesty and colour.
The philanthropist had a passion for art and beauty and left Montolieu over 1700 eclectic pieces from her world travels and meeting top best international artists.

02 HIGHLIGHT

Montolieu, lifestyle

Découvrir le village du livre de Montolieu © Vincent Photographie, ADT de l'Aude
Librairie à Montolieu, village du livre © Vincent Photographie, ADT de l'Aude

Springtime strolls

Let’s continue our voyage of discovery and explore Montolieu’s charming village lanes. A cat dozes in the shade of a plane tree, fragrant pots of flowers frame the alleys. The air is cooling, your eyes wander… the good life is an art in itself here.

This cute arty village sits in the Black Mountain’s foothills. Lose yourself in its secret passageways among the Cabardès vines.

Séance photo à Montolieu, village du livre © Vincent Photographie, OT Grand Carcassonne
Balade dans les ruelles de Montolieu, village du livre © Vincent Photographie, OT Grand Carcassonne

Creativity in all its glory

All of a sudden, a sword with books on it shows you the way: how strange!
In the distance, a tightrope walker glides overhead; wrought iron owls watch you… birds fly on colourful houses.
Montolieu is an open-air museum: art is everywhere, even in the street, oozing poetry and inspiration.

« There is no achievement which is not at the outset utopian » Michel Braibant

A utopian dream come true

It all began in 1990 when Michel Braibant, a bookbinder in Carcassonne, threw himself into the utopian dream of keeping literary crafts alive. The book museum opened in 1991. Long-standing publishers joined him... and Montolieu became the only book village in the South of France!

Montolieu, le village © Céline Deschamps, ADT de l'Aude
Découvrir le village du livre de Montolieu © Vincent Photographie, ADT de l'Aude
Montolieu, une place de village du sud de la France © Céline Deschamps, ADT de l'Aude

Pétanque, casquettes et chapeaux

The tall plane trees cast shade on Place de l’Église, it’s time for a break. As you watch a lively game of pétanque, the people on the table next to you at Casquette et Chapeau chat away… It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, just like Montolieu, where lifestyle reigns supreme!

“Fantastic gourmet experience in a charming Aude village. On a pretty square shaded by plane trees… flavourful, aromatic, understated and fresh food.” Avis Tripadvisor

Escape to the country

If you love nature then Montolieu has two 6km country walks that you're going to adore: head to Alzeau River or the mysterious Saint Roch Chapel. Experience unique views of the Black Mountain in the company of cypress trees that are hundreds of years old!

Découvrir le village du livre de Montolieu © Vincent Photographie, ADT de l'Aude

03 HIGHLIGHT

Bookshops and rare gems

Librairie à Montolieu, village du livre © Vincent Photographie, ADT de l'Aude
Librairie à Montolieu, village du livre © Céline Deschamps, ADT de l'Aude

Finders keepers!

“Just have a good rummage, you’ll find it.” The bookshop owner tells you. You gently flick through the yellowing pages that have the rich scent of old paper… It’s incredible. You’ve got your mitts on the original edition of your favourite novel. And it’s signed too! You can’t beat the price, you’re excited and rush to make it your own. It’s made your day!

Get your pens ready

“ Master book crafts: calligraphy, illumination, caricature, engraving, bookbinding etc. A whole host of creative classes awaits in Montolieu!“
Elisa, Grand Carcassonne Tourist Information, paper addict

Atelier d'artiste à Montolieu © Vincent Photographie, ADT de l'Aude
Musée du livre à Montolieu © Céline Deschamps, ADT de l'Aude

History buffs, this one's for you!

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Ecole de kitesurf Glisse et Kite

MUSÉE DES ARTS ET MÉTIERS DU LIVRE

MONTOLIEU

Read more

Don’t miss the book museum, a little gem that presents the biggest milestones in the history of writing: from pictograms to alphabets, clay slates to parchments … You’ll know everything there is to know about printing, bookbinding and engraving techniques.

Not run of the mill
Spend a day in the life of a paper manufacturer and experience the magic of making paper in the last working paper mill in Occitanie.

04 HIGHLIGHT

Factory and street art, a marriage made in heaven

Vibrant street art

A wool chameleon clings onto a lizard covered in grass. It unfurls its long metallic tongue as far as the eye can see… Strange creatures watch you in the distance… Step into the factory and experience a waking dream.
This tour of the factory is amazing and one to linger over. Its industrial heritage, wild vegetation and street art work wonders together.
The graffiti reflects the overflowing creative and communicative energy buzzing around here!

Cactus, opuntia, plante typique de l'Aude©G. Kouvelis, Istock

Can't touch this!

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Ecole de kitesurf Glisse et Kite

Visit the Cactuseraie d’Escaïre-Figue cactus nursery and meet Nicolas and his prickly friends. 2000 varieties of succulent grow here in the ground or pots surrounded by unspoilt nature. It’s a fantastic outing and a unique opportunity to experience a world of amazing shapes and colours.

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Experience it for yourself...

Check out our favourite spots to make the most of your time in Montolieu

From 7€

From 5€

CACTUSERAIE D'ESCAÏRE-FIGUE

Parks, gardens and arboretums MONTOLIEU

CAMPING DE MONTOLIEU

Campsite MONTOLIEU

From 14€ per night

How to get here

By car

The village of Montolieu is 20 mins north of Carcassonne's city walls on the D6113 and D629

Get directions :

Souvenirs?

A good book or lots of them, unearthed in the village's many bookshops.

Montolieu is in the middle of the AOP Cabardès winemaking area. Pencil in a few winery trips to sample the wine and pick up a few bottles.

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