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Larzac - Knights Templar and Hospitaller

The Order of the Knights Templar continues to generate strong interest throughout the world and inspires many writers and directors. Among the towns bearing witnesses to their story the best preserved in the West, are the five fortified sites of Larzac Templar and Hospitaller: La Cavalerie, La Couvertoirade, Sainte-Eulalie de Cernon, Le Viala du Pas de Jaux and Saint-Jean d’Alcas.

 

5 fortified sites, each with its own noble personality

La Cavalerie

la cavalerieA presitigious and troubled history in a newly restored heritage.

 

Founded by the Templars, at a crossroads, a place of transition and exchange, La Cavalerie had always been a coveted town. For fifteen years, an impressive effort to restore the walls means access to the walkway on the ramparts is again possible, from which a vast panorama opens up to the visitor. Find the secrets waiting for you, such as remnants of the Knights Templar chapel in the church.

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La Couvertoirade - a village sprung straight from the middle ages in an incomparable landscape

La Couvertoirade

Remarkably preserved La Couvertoirade invites you to travel back in time. One of the most beautiful villages in France,  appearing like a mirage in the middle of the wild plateau.

Be amazed by the the fifteenth century walls, the maze of alleys, traditional houses all built to the same plan, the communal oven (which still works), the church and the castle (the only Templar castle in France), the spaces and ingenious equipment dedicated to the collection of the precious water on the arid plateau: roof tanks,
 and the largest and most beautiful lavogne (a depression for watering cattle) in Larzac.

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Sainte-Eulalie de Cernon - the capital of Larzac

Sainte Eulalie

The southern charm of the village square with its seventeenth century fountain gives an air of Provence to Sainte-Eulalie, nestled in the heart of the Cernon valley.   

From the pure Romanesque style of the church, built by the Templars to the baroque paintings of the fresco room, via the mysterious graffiti of the watchtower, a visit to the "Commanderie" is full of surprises 
that the outward austerity of the buildings would not suggest. The history of Sainte-Eulalie will transport you to the middle east and the crusades! 

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Le Viala du Pas de Jaux: tower of refuge, lighthouse of Larzac

viala-du-pas-de-jaux

 

Built in the fifteenth century by the knights hospitaliers, this tower refuge is nearly 30 meters high. Within its walls crops, people and animals were protected from attack by road. Although it was falling into to ruin by the twentieth century, it has been patiently restored, floor by floor, so that today you have access to the high terrace, lined with battlements, from which you can survey the landscapes of Larzac.

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Saint-Jean d’Alcas - an oustanding village fort

Saint Jean d'AlcasIt is to a Cistercian abbess that we owe the construction of this fort with its harmonious proportions. You can access the "upper rooms" that served as refuge for the population during the 100 years war and discover the Hall of Justice over which the abbess presided. Another peculiarity is an upper chapel in the church, rediscovered during recent restoration work. A place where peace and harmony reign now but which conceals the evidence of its turbulent history, when subterfuge and mistrust ruled the land! ​​ 

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Developing the sites of Larzac in an exemplary fashion

Conservatoire Larzac Templier et HospitalierVisites virtuelles de la CouvertoiradeFor over fifteen years the Conservatoire Larzac Templier et Hospitalier has been working for the preservation and enhancement of this exceptional heritage: major restorations, historical research and develoment have been carried out. A leading exponent of cultural and touristic development besed on regional heritage, in harmony with the people and the iconic landscapes which are now listed as sites of great importance to the World Heritage of Humanity: Les Causses and the Cévennes.

 

 

Three historical notes...

The Knights Templar, founded in Jerusalem in the twelfth century, is undoubtedly the best known and most prestigious of the religious and military orders.

Although admired and feared during the twelfth and thirteenth century, in the fourteenth century the Templars were accused of heresy and idolatry going on to experience a tragic end.

The Order of the Knights Hospitaller, whose history is less known to the public but just as exciting (their stories wandering to the East, then to the Mediterranean), inherited the property of the Knights Templar in France.

Thus Larzac Templar became Larzac Hospitaller.

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