has less than a thousand inhabitants yet this small village is the home of more than 20 book shops. Perhaps it will come as no surprise that it is well known for its writer’s workshops.
The village square, adjoining the massive cathedral, has a delightful fountain and is a marvelous place to read, write, or watch the locals play péntanque.
There is a museum of the printing press with a myriad of presses and other printing equipment that has been used to create the printed word. The collection is extensive and quite impressive.
The village is located in the Midi-Pyrenees region and north-west of Carcassonne in the Montange Noir (Black Mountain). This lovely village has a proud reputation as being “Ville du Livres” Village of Books. In addition to the bookstores and the museum, there is a large stone complex of buildings that are devoted to the art of book and paper-making.
On the south slope of Montagne Noir, in the mid 1600’s, the paper mill Brousses was the most famous stationer in the province of Languedoc. By the mid 1800’s, Brousses was operating 12 mills. Currently, the mill continues to produce paper within the same complex of buildings as it has for over four centuries. It is a living museum with classes offered in all aspects of paper and bookmaking.
Montolieu is worth the trip regardless of a passion of the written word.
My love affair with books and writing takes me back to Montolieu again and again. Perhaps one day, I shall see you there.