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Review: Alet-les-Bains

City/Town/Region/Island

France

A delightful town with a lot of old timber frame houses and a ruined abbey

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2378 reviews

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  • May 2013
  • Husband

90 people found this review helpful

Alet-les-Bains is a delightful small town, everything we expected Foix to be but wasn’t. It is reached across a narrow stone bridge across the River Aude. It has attractive plaster and half timber frame buildings which haven’t been prettified, but there are few shops or other services.

It was originally a walled town with a moat around the abbey. The remains of the 12thC ramparts with gateways can still be seen on Promenade des Platanes. There are also some 12thC merchants houses along here. The ramparts are also visible just north of the Tourist Information Office. There is a wide main street, rue Nicolas Pavillon, which is lined with tall three storey plaster buildings with wooden shutters. Narrow alleyways lead off to Place de la Republique with several arcaded buildings and some very attractive half timber frame ones, including the house where Nostradamus was believed to have lived. Ten of his predictions are about treasures to be found in the area. Next to it is the splendid House of the Consuls.

The town grew up round the 9thC abbey. The abbey and many houses were destroyed during the Wars of Religion. Now all that is left is part of the nave and Romanesque apse, the two towers of Saint Michael and Notre Dame as well as the chapter house and part of the cloisters.

Église St-André is next to the graveyard and ruined abbey and is largely a reconstruction of the original. It is worth visiting for its fascinating small treasury and remains of 14thC frescoes.

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