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Mourèze – beautiful and spectacular

In one of the most geographically remarkable landscapes of France and in the heart of the department of Hérault lies the medieval village of Mourèze. The commune, with its 200 inhabitants, is a center of attraction for many visitors who are particularly interested in hiking in the charming countryside. Not far from the Mediterranean Sea, one can spend a whole day in a pleasant climate among limestone columns in the most peculiar shapes.

200 Einwohner leben in Mourèze, auf einer natürlichen Festung / © Foto: Georg Berg
200 inhabitants live in Mourèze, on a natural fortress / © Photo: Georg Berg

As early as the 10th century, from the Roc Castel (castle rock), one could not only monitor the border between the neighboring towns of Lodève and Beziers, but also the former road that connected the Hérault river basin with the heights of the Orb.

Ausgangspunkt zum Cirque de Mourèze ist der gleichnamige Ort / © Foto: Georg Berg
The village of Mourèze is the starting point of all hiking trails to the Cirque de Mourèze / © Photo: Georg Berg

Cirque de Mourèze

The dolomitic basin has been formed by natural forces and is characterized by a labyrinth of more than 70 idiosyncratically shaped rock statues. The softer parts of the rock have been washed out by erosion and only the harder dolomite segments remain. When looking at these natural sculptures, however, the suspicion creeps in that previous generations may have had a bit of a hand in them. The imaginative names of the stone columns such as Skull, Sphinx or Quasimodo also suggest this.

Der Wanderweg führt an Kalksteinsäulen vorbei, die mit ihren Formen die Phantasie auf Reisen schicken / © Foto: Georg Berg
The hiking trail leads past limestone columns whose shapes send the imagination on a journey / © Photo: Georg Berg

In the village: expressive sculptures from nature

In Mourèze, artist Emmanuel Cometto has his studio, which he calls Atmosterre. Several works made of driftwood stand in various places in the village. Particularly expressive is the cross in front of the church of Sainte Marie. Cometto says of himself that he contemplates the shapes of weathered wood until they find their purpose. Since he does not process the driftwood further, but leaves it in its form, which has been sanded down by nature, it is hard and very durable.

Vor der Kirche von Mourèze steht ein Kreuz, das der Künstler Emmanuel Cometto aus unbearbeitetem Holz geschaffen hat / © Foto: Georg Berg
In front of the church of Mourèze stands a cross created by the artist Emmanuel Cometto from unworked wood / © Photo: Georg Berg
Das Innere der Kirche Mariä Himmelfahrt in Mourèze wirkt trotz seiner geringen Größe recht imposant. Der siebenteilige Chor mit einer fünfeckigen Apsis stammt aus dem 14. Jahrhundert / © Foto: Georg Berg
The interior of the Church of the Assumption in Mourèze looks quite imposing despite its small size. The seven-part choir with a pentagonal apse dates from the 14th century / © Photo: Georg Berg
Der Glockenturm hat die Ausmaße eines Bergfrieds und war Teil der  umfangreichen Befestigungsanlagen des Dorfes / © Foto: Georg Berg
The bell tower has the dimensions of a keep and was part of the extensive fortifications of the village / © Photo: Georg Berg
Südlich von Mourèze in der Mitte eines bekannten Weinbaugebietes erhebt sich der Pic de Vissou / © Foto: Georg Berg
South of Mourèze in the middle of a famous wine-growing area rises the Pic de Vissou / © Photo: Georg Berg
Nördlich von Mourèze wurde in den 1960er Jahren der Stausee von Salagou angelegt / © Foto: Georg Berg
North of Mourèze, the Salagou reservoir was built in the 1960s / © Photo: Georg Berg

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