May 11, 2007
A Drive Up the Hill
A village named for the Roman goddess Minerva and the site where 180 followers of the Cathar religion were burned alive in 1210 for refusing to deny their faith during one of the bloody crusades led against them by the Catholic church. A stone plaque marks the massacre with these somber words; "Ici pour la foi Cathare 180 Parfaits sont morts par les flammes."
Minerve has a dramatic history and a dramatic situation. From our village it's about a ten minute drive on a narrow and very windy road up and over one hill, down into a gorge and up another hill. The road makes a final, sharp turn and the village appears before you. Perched on a rock island between two river gorges, Minerve does not fail to impress.
It is a beautiful, if not eerie, place to visit and is classified as one of les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Minerve is home to several artists, a few restaurants, a couple of museums and a church that was consecrated in 456 A.D. Around the village are spectacular walks in the gorges and the garrigue.
The best time to visit is in the spring or autumn. The summer can be be very hot and crowded.