Rated as one of 'les Beaux Villages de France' (the beautiful villages of France), Olargues extends over a hill on a bend of the Jaur river. It’s a medieval village, so many of the streets are only wide enough for pedestrians, but there's lots of free parking available.
The Pont du Diable (the Devil’s Bridge) dates from the 13th century and its iconic landmark tower – now a bell tower – greets you as you approach the village.
As you stroll through the village, you’re seeing a way of life which has changed little over the centuries.
The local shops and village bakery still rely on local products and ingredients, including the chestnut flour which was a staple of the area up until the 1920s. In fact, there’s a chestnut festival every October.
Surrounded by vineyards, Olargues is in the St Chinian AOC (a quality hallmark restricted to wine-growers in a particular area) and visiting the local ‘domaines’ for a tasting is recommended.
Local restaurants include the Fleurs d’Olargues and the Auberge de Madale (a 10-minute drive), where chef Stephane's inventiveness has earned him an enviable reputation. There's also a pharmacy, general store, butcher's, bank and cashpoint in the village.
As a location to reach all the best bits of Languedoc, Olargues is hard to beat. It's far enough away from the hustle and bustle to relax, but near enough to make day trips easy.
Olargues is also on the ‘Voie Verte’ (Green Path), a converted railway line, now used by cyclists and walkers, running 75km along the valley.