IMG_4529Books, art, old buildings. In the south of France. The village of Montolieu, just 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Carcassonne, is intellectual AND adorable.IMG_4528Montolieu bills itself le village du livre (the village of books), with 17 bookstores for under 800 residents. Plus art galleries. Plus very cute cafés and restaurants. All nestled among tiny, car-free lanes and crooked stone houses. With jaw-dropping views.

We arrived too late for lunch and too early for dinner… Note the lady sitting outside and reading at the end of the street.

Enough said. Let’s go for an afternoon stroll.P1080629

For a little coolness, visit the basement. Everything for €2 (books).
Local resident.


A table in the middle of a street. Why not? Note the curtain on the door at the right (to keep out flies and mosquitos), and the clothesline along the wall. And the straightness of the walls, as witnessed by the rain spouts.


Two-way street, barely big enough for one car.
Public toilets, with poetry.


A vending machine for organic vegetables. On the wall to the left of it is a pile of books. There were books sitting around everywhere.


And finally, the views, over the Dure river. The village is in the Black Mountains, atop a hill that allowed for fortification (but was invaded by Vandals and Visigoths nonetheless). It was a stronghold of the Cathar religion, and later a center for textile manufacturing.

Vertiginous terraced gardens overlooking….
The Dure river.


These folks also have a view. I wouldn’t want to have to fix those roofs.
At the lookout point, a table with books for those who manage to take their eyes off the scenery.

I have lots more photos and will put some on Instagram, so check there, too. I’ll have to go back to visit the Manufacture Royale (royal factory, for textiles) and the book museum. A very worthy day trip from Carcassonne!P1080610


43 thoughts on “Charmingly Bookish Montolieu

  1. The village is amazing. My cat, Tian Tian, passed away a couple months ago. He was a 17 year old black cat with green eyes. Happy to see he’s been reincarnated in France. I hope to visit him soon:)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How adorable! The French have held onto their book culture (by which I mean hard book over kindle) so much better than many others. Libraries even in small communities are often vibrant places with authors giving readings and actors coming to perform books and bookshops aplenty but this place …. just wow! And so pretty too. A good book and a view to gaze on when tearing one’s eyes from the page – I can’t imagine anything nicer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bonjour,
    I have been following your blog for a while now since we will be moving near to you in September. I am so glad to hear about this village and see all the great pictures. I know that during the winter, reading is the thing to do in Occitanie.
    But there must be more to do?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a ton to do, in little Montolieu and in the region. Castles, museums, brocantes, markets, festivals, hiking, spelunking, canoeing (and on and on with the outdoorsy stuff), concerts, plays….


      1. Thanks, I can’t wait to get started! Maybe I’ll pass you on the streets someday.
        Certainly will pass on your lovely apartment rental information. They are so lovely and tenderly decorated.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Aaaahhh, the river. I would be there- I can almost hear it. And the cat! Love a black cat. We have Fat Jack, Cooper and Baby who is 15 this year. The ‘men on stilts’ overlooking the rooftops- very cute!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. While visiting a friend in the south of England , she showed me a typical English red telephone booth which was full of books. The idea is that you can take any book you want to read and you leave the books you have read. I thought it was a great idea.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a gorgeous place! It appeals to my love of the quirky. I especially love the slate shingled roof and the men on stilts and the self serve vegie shop .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Montolieu is another one of my eternal love affairs…. As an ardent reader, this was paradise for me every single time. I wouldn’t want to live there but I can’t come back often enough!!!!

    My one regret is – of course, and understandably – that Montolieu is in France and I want to read English books. But with my roughly 2000+ books (95% E) however, I won’t be complaining!

    I also took a number of photos of washing hanging across the lanes and ways…. did you have that joy too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t see it hanging across the streets, but I did see lots of those folding drying racks, just out on the little streets that are barely big enough for a car, with no sidewalks. Not that cars pass down them, unless to deliver groceries.

      Liked by 1 person

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