Roquebrun is a stunning village on the banks of the river Orb, near the southern entrace of the Regional Natural Park of Haute-Languedoc. Sheltered by hills on three sides, it has its own micro-climate. Oranges, lemons, pomegranates, palm trees and mimosas florish even in winter. Hence the nickname Little Nice.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, it was occupied by Romans, Visigoths, Arabs and Franks. The castle was built around 900.
Medieval Roquebrun was surrounded by fertile land on which olive trees, peaches, vines and chestnuts thrived. But the population was hit badly by the Black Death.
Wine production became increasingly important in the 19th century, leading to rapid population growth. But the wine trade was hit hard by vine disease in 1840 and the closure of the railway line connecting Roquebrun to Béziers. Don’t miss the Meditteranean Gardens at the foot of the tower.
The drive from Le Fort Pouzols-Minervois to Roquebrun takes about 45 minutes (25 miles, 40 km). Roquebrun’s population increases in summer from around 600 to over 2,000 residents because of the large number of second homes, with French as well as foreign owners from all over the world.
The mimosa festival in February is one of many events in the village. More information on visiting Roquebrun is available at www.minervois-caroux.com. Video guides can be hired locally.