Caunes-Minervois - Abbaye
The "Abbaye de Caunes-Minervois" (Saint Pierre and Saint Paul) was founded by abbot Anian, a friend of Benoît d'Aniane (Benedict of Aniane), in 780 on the foundations of a Roman settlement. Originally under the protection of the King of France, the abbey was a possesion of the Count of Barcelona and later of the Trencavel family who renounced their rights in 1195. At that time the abbey was a stopover for the pilgrims on one of the many variants of the "Via Tolosana".
During the Crusade against the Albigensians, the Pope´s representatives preached in this church - and in 1227, Pierre Isarn, the Cathar bishop of the Carcasses area was burned at the stake here.
Within a power struggle within the next centuries the abbey declined. In 1663 congregation of Saint-Maur took over the abbey and rebuild the monastic buildings. After the French Revolution the abbey became state property and was sold.
The apse seen from the east, great, sober romanesque architecture! Both transepts end in towers, a architectonial feature that I have seen in Northern Spain as well. Such large romanesque structures are used as backgrounds for all kind of stage plays during the summer months. All over Europe!