Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains

Lézignan-Corbieres

Lézignan-Corbières

This town situated between Carcassonne and Narbonne is one of the most up-and-coming in the region.  They are even talking of making the private airfield there into an airport to serve Narbonne.  Many English-speaking people havebought houses there.  The town centre still retains its village atmosphere and on a Sunday in August I went with my friends Jeff and Linda to a Vide Grenier.  (car boot sale)

   

It was cool and pleasant under the trees in the park and the colourful atmosphere was great fun, with everyone looking for bargains . . . .

 

Then we went for a drink at a bar on the main street, called "Le 79" after a famous rugby victory.  It was so typically French, with people popping in, lunch-time baguettes in hand, for a pastis, kissing each other and gossiping and the waiter carrying loaded trays outside to the people sitting - on the other side of the road!

 

 

 Every Wednesday morning . . .

there's a market on the streets of the town centre, traffic is forbidden, and the atmosphere is brilliant! 

It's so wonderfully Languedocian, with local products presented with style!

The traders and their customers arrive in the early morning from all corners of our region, and there's often entertainment and music.

    

One doesn't expect to see bagpipes on the streets of Lézignan!  These musicians, so enthusiastic, were playing the traditional music of Galacia, wearing costumes from the 14th century.

 

The people of Canet eat well after a day out at Lézignan market.

 

As well as food, there's clothing, shoes, fabrics, everything one could wish for under the sun.

 

Plus jewelery and semi-precious stones.  I met Antonio Cilente and his wife, they live near Cucugnan in the Corbières.  He knows all the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau!  The two hear all the gosipp for they work on markets all across the Corbières. 

   

Antonio believes in the "energies of the stones" and he sells minerals, jewellery and amber, often used therapeutically.

 

  Many thanks to Antonio and all the other traders.

  Meanwhile, have you heard about Sainte Suzanne at Lézignan?  She was the daughter of St. Gabinus, the brother of Pope Caius in Rome.  Suzanne was his virgin daughter who was beheaded in the year 295, actually in her father's house.  The next door house belonged to her uncle, Caius, and the two properties later became a church known as Sancta Sizanna by the sixth century.  Gabinous was betrayed to the Emperor Diocletian for refusing to sacrifice to pagan Gods and was beheaded in 296.  His relics were venerated in Holy Trinity church in Lyon, France.

  Thus it was a great surprise to discover that Sainte Suzanne is reputed, in Lézignan-Corbières, to be a rain-maker!

  Up until 1940, processions to the wayside cross to Sainte Suzanne were made on her feast day to pray for rain, and recently this custom has been revived by local wine-makers.  Every year, at 6.30pm on the 11th August, some three hundred people walk along the track through the vineyards to the cross, along with the Bishop of Carcassonne and the local curé, to pray for rain and enjoy an outdoor picnic provided by the winemakers.  And everyday afterwards, except once, it has rained!

Suzanne3.JPG  CroixSteSuzanne.jpeg

       The bishop is Msgr Planet, from Carcassonne, in the centre of the picture.

You can find the cross on the IGN map about 2km to the north of the town.  Take the road to Camping La Pinède and continue past the swimming pool through the vines to the cross.  Meanwhile the town centre boasts a famous museum of wine.



11/07/2015
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