The former village café, where the famous muscat wine was consumed over cards, in the middle of Saint Jean de Minervois (49 people), is 100M from Clos du Gravillas' wine cellars and the ideal haven for rest and calm, but also a perfect base for getting back to the rhythms of nature.
The reputation of St Jean is built on the freshness and balance of its famous sweet Muscat wine, but its landscapes alternating garrigue and vineyards, punctuated with canyons and rocky bluffs make the village a fine place to wander.
A hiker's paradise, it is even more beloved by serious cyclists who tackle challenging hills and curves without much motorized competition. The Tour de France passed just 5km from St Jean in 2011.
Saint Jean de Minervois is one of the the gateways into the Parc Naturel du Haut Languedoc and is the border point between two wine routes: Minervois and St. Chinian.
The principal tourist attraction is the village of Minerve (15 min), ancient Cathare stronghold, astonishingly perched on its rock, above the confluence of the Cesse and the Brian (and there’s always refreshing water in the Brian behind Minerve). The Cesse is underground in the summer at Minerve, but near St Jean it surfaces in a swimming hole the locals call the Boulidou. Tourists to St Jean generally also visit Carcassonne, the Mediterranean Sea and the Canal du Midi.
between vineyards and canyons
We are very lucky to have a fine restaurant in St Jean, L’Auberge de l’Ecole, in the old schoolhouse, where you can eat a delicious cassoulet or other local dish in an ambiance quite convivial.
Guests write that Ancien Café is a very agreeable place to live, with its sunny terrace, shaded veranda and magnificent view on vines and canyon.
Completely refurbished, it has two bedrooms (one double bedroom, one room with two twin beds) and separate WC and shower rooms.
Stay here and you could give this host their first review!
Nicole (southern french winemaker) met John (Kentucky boy in Paris) in 1994 and convinced him that the white limestone gravel of Saint Jean de Minervois was the most beautiful field of rocks in the world. John was working and traveling (over 50 countries at that time) to see and to find something to write about. Nicole was looking for the perfect terroir. Nicole got John to drive her old tractors. Nicole dances; John sings. We work together to work 9 hectares of 15 different grape varieties and make them into 13 (last count) different delicious wines. In 15 years, we've helped change the way the world thinks about old grapes like Carignan and Terret Bourrette. It's all organic. We do it ourselves, because that's the best way to do it well. The old village café was renovated in the same spirit--simple, fresh and charming. To see some pictures, check out closdugravillas on the web !