Mérifons

 

Mérifons in the heart of the Salagou valley, a charming little village made up of several hamlets, has many secrets to share.

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 The chapel of Saint Pierre de Mérifons - JPEG - 18.3 kb
The chapel of Saint Pierre de Mérifons
Crédit KELOUS

Its old buildings, for the most part ancient farms with multi-coloured façades, are proof that humans were able to adapt the local geology to their constructions. Some of the most unique, natural vestiges in France are to be discovered around Mérifons.

What is there to see on the paleontological site of la Lieude ?

Long before water inundated the valley in the 1960s when the dam was first put into service, extraordinary creatures tread the ground of that region. Not only dinosaur, but also mammal, imprints have been discovered around the lake. Certain traces date back to 400 million years ago. Originally horizontal, the ground today slopes to 20°. 260 million years ago, pre-mammal creatures left their imprints, thousands of them, in a swamp that was in the process of drying out. Their tracks crossed, but nothing can prove that they met. The site, which is very well preserved, shows the bio-diversity of the Permian era in this domain. The shapes of ‘hands’ and ‘feet’ give information on the posture and the morphology of the animals. The biggest imprints (30 cms) were apparently those of pre-mammal reptiles. It is difficult to attribute the others to known species; these reptiles thus preserve a large part of their mystery. However, these animals had more in common with the mammals of today than the dinosaurs that appeared much later.

The chateau of Malavieille : a mysterious chateau

Situated at the top of the Castellas, this medieval chateau is in a privileged location. It dominates the Salagou valley and is close to the Col de la Merquière which is one of the rare passages between the water basins of the Hérault and the Orb. What remains of the chateau is only one very high rectangular tower preserved on three levels. Three rooms, not all from the same era, are set out in the rock on the summit of the spur. The first phase of the chateau’s construction could date from the 13th century. An important village had developed on the slopes of the Castellas but it became deserted before the 18th century. For security reasons access to the chateau was forbidden, however below the hill, a very lovely view could be had over these ruins.

The chapel of Saint Pierre

The chapel of Saint Pierre is in a location that attracted travellers, as it was on the path that linked the chateau of Cabrières, the chateau of Malavieille and the chateau of Dio. According to legend it was in this chapel that St. Fulcran (945–1006), Bishop of Lodeve, had been baptized. It was a reliquary of another pre-Roman chapel with its Visigoth altar base and big baptismal basin. No doubt timber-built originally, it had been covered with vaults in the Gothic era, in the 14th or 15th century. Its bell tower was added later on. Inscribed as a Historic Monument, it was restored by the association “Friends of Lodeve” around 1975. Its particularity is that it was constructed with local stone: red “ruffe”, basalt and calcareous.

To see

  • The multi-coloured houses
  • The paleontological stone of la Lieude
  • The Castellas
  • The chapel of Saint Pierre

Attached files

Le Castellas of Mérifons

Document PDF - 818.6 kb - Updated on 6 August 2012

Pictures

The castellas of Malavieille near Mérifons - JPEG - 84.6 kb
The castellas of Malavieille near Mérifons
The castellas of Malavieille near Mérifons - JPEG - 103.7 kb
The castellas of Malavieille near Mérifons

Crédit CC Clermontais

The castellas of Malavieille surrounded by fields - JPEG - 84.7 kb
The castellas of Malavieille surrounded by fields

Crédit CC Clermontais

Vestiges of the castellas of Malavieille - JPEG - 159.5 kb
Vestiges of the castellas of Malavieille

Crédit Fusioline

The chapel Saint Fulcran near Mérifons - JPEG - 148.9 kb
The chapel Saint Fulcran near Mérifons

Crédit CC Clermontais

The chapel Saint Pierre of Mérifons - JPEG - 129.9 kb
The chapel Saint Pierre of Mérifons

Crédit KELOUS

The ancient « banal » oven of the Crozes - JPEG - 110.4 kb
The ancient « banal » oven of the Crozes

Crédit CC Clermontais

A vestige of the castellas rampart of Malavieille - JPEG - 140 kb
A vestige of the castellas rampart of Malavieille

Crédit CC Clermontais

Wheel of an ancient well at Mérifons - JPEG - 121.8 kb
Wheel of an ancient well at Mérifons

Crédit CC Clermontais

 
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