Paulhan, the circular village

 

The written history of Paulhan begins in 990.

DéplierLocalization

 View of the circular village of Paulhan - JPEG - 28.7 kb
View of the circular village of Paulhan
Crédit Association Villages Circulaires

At the time, ordinary life was organized around two poles: an ancient place of worship, the Church of Saint Mary and a place of more recent fortification, the ‘castrum’ of Paulhan. These places belonged to the Viscounts of Béziers who cut out a part of the monastery of Saint Thibéry to make a domain (the chateau and the church of Paulhan). In the middle of the 12th century, the land first passed into the sphere of domination of the Guilhem family of Montpellier, then in 1204 to that of the kings of Aragon through the marriage of Mary of Montpellier with Pierre of Aragon.

All through the 12th and 13th centuries, life was organized in a more rational fashion and ended up by being polarized around the old tower, and from then on, submerged in a village that itself had become fortified and closed with two gates.

A new church dedicated to Sainte-Croix had been built close to the primitive fortress. Towards 1340, the seigneury of Paulhan, supposedly acquired during a sale, moved over to the Veyrac family and its descendants, the families of De Sorbs and De Bernis, until the Revolution. The ancient chateau of the seigneurs was abandoned in 1782, in favour of a ‘big house’ situated on the edge of the Grand Chemin. This has been the Town Hall since 1927.

Paulhan started to develop with the construction of the railway station in 1868, the parish church (3rd Church of Sainte Croix), then the Higher Primary School (opened in 1916), and finally the wine-making cooperative in 1934.

The Hermitage Saint Jean de Vareilles

 Hermitage of Saint Jean de Vareilhes at Paulhan - JPEG - 13 kb
Hermitage of Saint Jean de Vareilhes at Paulhan
Crédit KELOUS

The first time the church of the Vareilles is talked about is in 1153. It could have been built by the Templars who were established in Pézénas around 1150 (where they built the Church of Saint John). The church’s existence confirms the presence of a village community (1150-1200). And if it had no one to look after it, the reason was that it had been progressively abandoned by its inhabitants. This small population was perhaps victim of an economic slump or maybe attracted by the boom in Paulhan, but no-one can say precisely at which moment the village had been abandoned. It was after the hermits, living in the church without a priest or parish, that it was named The Hermitage Saint Jean de Vareilles. A part of the west side was reserved for worship, the nave of the old church; at the east, the ancient choir became its inhabited part, made up of a ground floor and a first floor accessible from an outdoor staircase, all of which rested on a basement level made of two vaulted cellars.

After the Revolution, the hermitage was sold privately as a national trust property.

To see

  • The Town Hall : ancient home of landed gentry
  • Market hall in the style of Baltard (architect)
  • The castrum, a roman encampment
  • The Pourtalet, the smallest of doors
  • Porch in the rue de Veyrac
  • The Church of Sainte Croix
  • The chapel of Notre Dame des Vertus
  • The Moulin des Laures (private edifice)
  • The Hermitage of Saint Jean de Vareilhes

Make a stop to visit the only circular village in the Clermontais, with its restaurants and its famous Clairette wine that you can find at the Cave.

Site of the Town Hall : www.paulhan.fr

Attached files

Download booklet: Paulhan

Document PDF - 1.5 Mb - Updated on 23 June 2012

Pictures

The library, old town house of the barons of Paulhan - JPEG - 169 kb
The library, old town house of the barons of Paulhan

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Hermitage of Saint Jean de Vareilhes at Paulhan - JPEG - 13 kb
Hermitage of Saint Jean de Vareilhes at Paulhan

Crédit KELOUS

The Town Hall's gardens, also called « the gardens of Alhambra - JPEG - 209.1 kb
The Town Hall’s gardens, also called « the gardens of Alhambra

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Ancient dovecote of the château of Paulhan - JPEG - 104.6 kb
Ancient dovecote of the château of Paulhan

Crédit OT du Clermontais

The old market of Paulhan - JPEG - 114.3 kb
The old market of Paulhan

Crédit OT du Clermontais

The Town Hall of Paulhan - JPEG - 75.2 kb
The Town Hall of Paulhan

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Paulhan, Church of Notre Dame des Vertus, view from outside - JPEG - 150.8 kb
Paulhan, Church of Notre Dame des Vertus, view from outside

Crédit KELOUS

Paulhan, Church of Notre Dame des Vertus - JPEG - 158.8 kb
Paulhan, Church of Notre Dame des Vertus

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Church of Notre Dame des Vertus, Paulhan - JPEG - 175.1 kb
Church of Notre Dame des Vertus, Paulhan

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Paulhan, Church of Notre Dame des Vertus, apse - JPEG - 165.8 kb
Paulhan, Church of Notre Dame des Vertus, apse

Crédit OT du Clermontais

View of the circular village of Paulhan - JPEG - 171.7 kb
View of the circular village of Paulhan

Crédit Association Villages Circulaires

Paulhan, Place du Griffe - JPEG - 181.6 kb
Paulhan, Place du Griffe

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Paulhan, Eglise Sainte Croix - JPEG - 96.3 kb
Paulhan, Eglise Sainte Croix

Crédit OT du Clermontais

Old house in the circular village of Paulhan - JPEG - 147.4 kb
Old house in the circular village of Paulhan

Crédit OT du Clermontais

 
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