Limoux is a town situated in the department of Aude, some 25km south west of Carcassonne, in the heart of the Pays Cathare – Cathar Country – in the south west France.
The town, called in the local Occitan language Limos, is listed in the 2013 edition of the prestigious Michelin Guide as one of the 100 “Plus Beaux Détours de France” – “Most Beautiful Detours of France”.
Limoux is the place of the longest running carnival in the world, festivity that starts each year in mid January and ends in April!
The carnival is thought to steam from the 14th century celebration of the completion on Shrove Tuesday of the tax payment by the local millers – the last day before Easter lent.
Nowadays the Limoux carnival takes place each Saturday and Sunday during the above mentioned months.
Each weekend, at different hours of the day – 11am, 4pm and 10:30pm (!) – the arcades of the Place de la République in the center of Limoux resonate to the sound of traditional music played by bands who arrive there after parading through the streets of the town. At each parade the bands are accompanied by costumed characters, like the traditional “les Goudils”,”le Pierrot” and “le Domino”, as well as by passers by – necessarily dressed up!
The King’s Carnival represented by a straw dummy is received on the first Sunday of the festivities by millers wearing a hat, a coat and a white pants, a red scarf, wearing clogs and featuring hand whip. The figure will be judged and sentenced to burning at the stake during the last night of the carnival, night which is called significantly enough the “Blanquette” night, after the famous local sparkling wine “Blanquette de Limoux” that flows then ceaselessly.
And on a final note: starting from March 24 2014 there is a new train line linking Carcassonne to Limoux to Quillan, at the unbeatable price of €1 one way!