Here are a few things to see and do in Bize-Minervois itself, and the immediate surrounding area. At the bottom of the page are links to three very comprehensive websites that contain a wealth of information for the whole of the Languedoc.
The beautiful hills around Bize are ideal for horse riding – there are two equestrian clubs close by:
The countryside around Bize is ideal for bicycle riding, and the Canal du Midi is only a few kilometres from here. If you don't have your own bikes, they can be hired and delivered to you for free.
Melow Velos, 3 Place de l'eglise, 11200 Paraza
A wealth of information about cycling in the Languedoc can be found on Gerry Patterson's detailed and comprehensive website: Cycling Languedoc.
The Olive Factory
L'oulibo Olive Co-operative is at Cabezac, just 2km down the road from Bize. Here you can taste all the different types of olives and olive oils which they produce, the buttery flavoured "lucques" being one of the favourites. There is also a large gift shop where you can buy olives, olive oil and a huge range of products, household goods and souvenirs from the region. Tours can be arranged.
Bize Market Day
Held every Wednesday morning 10am to 12 noon – on the promenade. A variety of stalls – not always the same – comprising fruit/vegetables, clothing, bread, cheese, a fish van, shoes, flowers/plants, etc.
Bize has two tennis courts. If you fancy a game while you're here – pack a racket!
Market Days in nearby villages
Most markets in the region are morning-only markets.
Capestang – Wednesday and Sunday
Olonzac – Tuesday
St Chinian – Thursday and Sunday
At the village of Sallèles d'Aude – a museum of Gallo-Roman pottery located on the excavation site at Sallèles d'Aude, not far from the Canal du Midi. It overlooks the excavated remains of Roman ceramics workshops dating from the 1st to the 3rd centuries A.D. Roof tiles were made here, along with a variety of pots, including amphorae.
From April to June
Open Tuesday to Friday from 14h to 18h
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12pm and from 14h to 18h
From 1 July to 30 September
Open 7 days / 7, from 10am to 12pm and from 15h to 19h
Reservations for group tours can be arranged all year round.
Closed on May 1, special opening Monday of Easter and Pentecost
The cinema in Bize shows a movie once a week. Dates and details of the movie are shown on the billboard outside the Biblioteque (Library) which is just up the road from the house.
Oysters at Cabezac
There is a bar and a restaurant (a ‘routier’) in the hamlet of Cabezac – 2 kilometres from Bize. If you like oysters – this is the place to go on a Wednesday or Friday evening – about 6.00 or 6.30. The oyster man sets up his stall on the outside seating area, and you order however many you want, they’re opened and brought to your table. For those who don’t want oysters, there’s a little pizza bar adjoining the bar.
Oppidum d'Enserune and Lake Montady
The Oppidum d'Ensérune is an ancient hill-town (or oppidum) near the village of Nissan-lez-Ensérune, close to the Canal du Midi. The settlement was occupied without interruption between the 6th century BC and 1st century AD, its location being chosen presumably because it was a hill with good views over the coastal plain, being close to the Roman road Via Domitia, the Montady lake, and fertile agricultural land below.
There is a museum on the site which offers a display of some of the finds on the site, as well as giving more information about the fort and the field system. Being built on a high hill, there is a wonderful view across the plains, and you can look down onto the Étang de Montady, the "pond of Montady". The field plots are of a triangular configuration due to the radial lines from the center. The fact that the drain for Montady went through Malpas encouraged Pierre-Paul Riquet, the designer of the Canal du Midi, that he could build a tunnel through the same hill for his canal.
Goat Cheese Farm
Visiting times: 1 March to 30 October: the goat farm is open daily from 1030 to 1200 and from 1600 to 1900 except Monday afternoon. It is open on Sundays and holidays at the same times. To be sure to see the goats, you are advised to arrive shortly before 1700 for the return of the flock and to watch the milking. You can taste and buy the cheeses and a small range of local produce in the farm shop. Good for children.
Old Book Shop – Le Someil
le Trouve Tout du Livre – a treasure-trove of old out-of-print books, posters, etc. Le Someil is a delightful village on the Canal du Midi, about 5 km from Bize. A ‘must-see’, as is a visit to the book shop. A step back in time.
Bird Watching in the Languedoc
The Languedoc is an ideal area for bird-watching – one of the most diverse regions in Europe. Details of bird varieties and locations can be found here.
And here's a great article written by an avid bird-watcher who lives in this region – a comprehensive list of birds (with many lovely photos) to be found in the Valley of the Cesse around Bize.
Three websites that I find very useful: