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« Cabanes en Fêtes » between Magrie and Cournanel
This is the story of little vineyard shacks - tiny stone shacks where the winemakers of the past worked – which are nowadays coming slowly back to life, stone after stone, between Magrie and Cournanel, a few kilometers south of Limoux.
Stone shacks yes, but be careful, not just any: dry stone building, this ancient method which consists of recessed stone blocks without any additional cement for building walls and retaining walls. Because, this is what people seeks to do in this gentle valley of Corneilla between Magrie and Cournanel, to revive the history and knowledge in order to better preserve and share the wealth of its land, its wildlife and flora.
On this beautiful summer day, the shacks are hosting us for a big party along the 6 km loop that connects the two villages. We arrived by Magrie where we like to admire the beautiful plain which stretches between the hills at the foot of the 654 meters of the Brau peak. Straw hat and water mandatory and we're off along the broad paths. In total, a dozen of shacks welcome winemakers, local producers, old time crafts or exhibitions and each is a very nice walking distance from the other one around the vineyards and magnificent flora.
On the side of the road, a man patiently built a stone wall around a small newly planted vineyard. While we look for good stones together, he tells us he came to give a "helping hand" to the association Le Clos des Hirondelles. This is his children’s plot, they are the ones who have planted and maintain the seedlings to also take part in the great story of shacks.
We choose to join the giant barbecue, where winemakers are positioned behind the grill while their wives have prepared home made fries, onion jam and rice pudding with caramel! Everyone came today from Magrie and Cournanel, everyone has come together to welcome people in this unique setting, which, for some, has been home to their family for centuries. Melon and watermelon salad to finish, that's it, it is summer!
We still miss something, a must: a bit of bubbles of course! We are in the heart of the Limoux appellation, home of the famous Blanquette, born close from here in the Abbey of Saint Hilaire. Easy, they are here and we choose to head to the shack where Alain Cavaillés is installed, who also came from his Domaine d’Alon, perched on the heights of Magrie. After a couple of delicate fresh bubbles whose secret he has, we focus on the exhibition dedicated to water resources, because the purpose of the shacks is to take care of this beautiful environment.
We could continue to walk for hours in this beautiful landscape, but we cannot resist the urge to get on one of the small carriages that ply from one side to the other of the loop. We reach our starting point in Magrie, walkers continue to arrive to enjoy the mildness of this late afternoon. See you soon, shacks, because here is a fantastic walk to do again and again, until the next party!
>> For more information about les Cabanes entre Magrie et Cournanel : entremagrieetcournanel.over-blog.com