Camping Montolieu

The south of France offers a multitude of villages of character where you can enjoy losing yourself among the narrow streets. However, one village near the Montagne Noire is rather unique. Its name is Montolieu. Welcome to the only Book Village in southern France.

Do you know Montolieu?

If you are on holiday at one of our campsites in the Aude region, you will probably have heard about the Book Village. Montolieu is one of the many villages of character that contributes to the peaceful atmosphere of the Montagne Noire, but it is unlike any of the other villages. In fact, Montolieu is more than just a village. It is one of the eight Book Towns and Villages of France and it is the only one representing the south of France. As the name suggests, Book Villages are rural villages with streets filled with many shops selling second-hand books and book-related crafts

However, Montolieu has not always been a privileged centre for books. The village actually dates back to prehistoric times when the very first humans already trod the land, as can be seen by the Menhir of Guittard which is still visible today. The area has always been inhabited. From the Middle Ages through to the modern-day, Montolieu has travelled through time and history. Sometimes it has even served as a stage for some major events: the Cathar Crusade, the Wars of Religion, the French Revolution, the Retirada, and more.

However, in 1990, a Belgian bookbinder, initially based in Carcassonne, transformed the town. After learning about the Book Towns movement that was gaining ground in Europe, Michel Braibant decided that he too would create a Book Village. Thus, he founded the association "Montolieu Village du Livre et des Arts", donated his own personal collection to it and set about attracting booksellers and artists to the town. Sadly, Michel Braibant died in 1992 and saw very little of what he had achieved. But he did succeed in the challenge he set himself and Montolieu is now recognised with the Arts and Crafts City label.

Today, the village has 18 bookshops, several art galleries, craft shops, a Museum of Book Arts and Crafts and a cooperative.

Did you know?

In Occitan, the village’s name, Montolieu, means "Mount of Olives", a reference to the plant life that thrives around the village which is dominated by the most Mediterranean of trees. Indeed, Montolieu is the perfect example of what nature can look like in southern France, with olive trees, but also cypresses, cacti, plane trees, roses, and much more. It is funny seeing so many different kinds of leaves in Montolieu… those on the trees and those in the books!

On the programme?

Montolieu is the kind of place where time seems to stand still. Visitors enjoy spending days winding away the hours there, carried along by the mood of the moment. You will have plenty of time to stroll around the flower-covered streets, admire the old houses and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Of course, you can also pay a visit to the various bookshops in the village and spend time browsing for your favourite book. You will find all styles of literature. Note that the bookshops have all agreed on closing days, therefore, no matter what day you come, you are sure to find about a dozen bookshops eager to welcome you. You can also meet craftsmen, learn about their work, and hear their stories.

And although Montolieu is now very much focused on the literary world, it still has a rich past for visitors to discover. The Menhir of Guittard with its rock cupules, the Church of Saint-André, a former factory that used to benefit from a royal decree, and the Chapel of Saint-Roch. Travel back in time and through history by visiting these monuments. A relatively simple walk leads to the Chapel of Saint-Roch which also offers you the chance to admire the attractive views.

Finally, after discovering the village's narrow streets and bookshops, Yelloh! Village suggests that, before returning to the campsite, you continue your day on the theme of books with a visit to the Brousses paper mill in the neighbouring village of Brousses-et-Villaret.