Lagrasse is in the valley of the Orbieu, in the southern part of the Alaric hills, in the Corbières. The place name Lagrasse comes from the Occitan “grassa” meaning fertile. the origins of the abbey of Lagrasse go back to before the end of the 8th century.
There is also the legend of Philomena, a 13th century manuscript, which recounts the legendary foundation of the abbey by the emperor Charlemagne and the miraculous consecration of the abbey church by Christ himself.
The monastery of Lagrasse was enriched by many donations and soon became prosperous.
The abbey grew tremendously over the 9th and 10th centuries and had property as far as in Spain. By the early 12th century, Lagrasse owned about a hundred churches and ten monasteries from the Lower Languedoc to Saragossa.
The abbey manifested its political importance in the crusade against the Albigensians.
Benoît d’Alignan, abbot of Lagrasse from 1224 to 1230, acted as mediator between the occupiers and the occupied and brought about the submission of Carcassonne to the King in 1226.
The fortunes of Lagrasse declined in the unsettled times of the 14th century. In 1348, its population was devastated by the Black Death.
The creative activity of Lagrasse began to grow again in the late 15th century.
In the 17th century, the abbey experienced a spiritual revival with the introduction of the Saint-Maur reform in 1662.
the community of some dozen monks was broken up by the french revolution. The abbey was divided into two lots and sold at auction as state property in 1796. This division still holds today : since 2004, the private quarters have been occupied by the Canons Regular of the Mother of God and the public part is owned by the Departmental Council of the Aude.
Under the Ancien Regime, the abbot was the sole lord and master of Lagrasse. However, community matters were managed by the inhabitants, represented by “Consuls”. The first mention of consuls dates from 1269 and they varied in number from two to four.
From the Middle ages to the 18th century, the main source of income in lagrasse was crop and livestock farming. But the town also lived to some extent by crafts and trade. It was noted for its cloth and its market was the biggest of the Basses-Corbières region.
Today, the town mainly lives by wine growing and tourism. It has reopened its workshops which are now occupied by artists and craftspeople.
ABBAYE DE SAINTE MARIE DE LAGRASSE : Private and religious part of the Abbaye. You will find here the hours for services, in latin and with gregorian chanting.
PAYS TOURISTIQUE CORBIERES MINERVOIS : a fantastic range of trekking and mountain bike routes. Very easy to surf in lots of information.
ABBAYE PUBLIQUE DE LAGRASSE : Timetables, rates for visits, it is the main monument in town.
MUSEE 1900 : a visit not to be missed. A great moment with or without kids, with a fantastic final vinegar tasting.