Colombiers castle cellar

The Colombiers river port is located on the “Grand Bief” of the Canal du Midi, to the west of Béziers in the “Occitanie Pyrénées Méditerranée” region, a masterful work classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The Grand Bief, also called the Grande Retenue, is located from the lock of Argens-Minervois to that of Fonséranes, in Béziers. It stretches over nearly 54 km (53 meters exactly) while maintaining a constant altitude of 868 meters above sea level. For the time, it is a real technical feat ranging from design to construction of this section. Unfortunately its inventor, Pierre-Paul Riquet will not see the completion since he died a few months before.

Colombiers river port is equipped with 72 berths including 30 temporary moorings and it provides electricity, water, showers, toilets, wifi, and a boat launching ramp. A harbor master's office, adjoining the Tourist Office, is at your disposal at the entrance to the Château wine cellar.

The port is currently the essential site of the village and fulfills multiple functions. It is the place for shops, restaurants, festivities and walks around the Canal du Midi. The digging of the port started on February 1, 1987 and seven years were necessary for the realization of this great project.

Port of Colombiers - Aerial view
Port of Colombiers - Aerial view

You can also rent a boat without a license, navigate the Canal aboard sightseeing boats (one of which is labeled "Tourism & Handicap") or even visit the cellar of the Château de Colombiers.

This monumental construction bears witness to a certain form of viticulture which was the source of the wealth of some great families of the Biterrois region. It was built by the LAGARRIGUE family, owners of the Château, who were one of the very first wealthy families at this time in the Biterrois region. The wine-making activity of this cellar came to a close in 1977. The estate was dismantled and was bought by the municipality in 1996. The cellar was in an almost abandoned state and the municipality of Colombiers began to restore it, thanks to grants from Europe and the Regional Council, which funded a completely new roof, the repair and the treatment of the damaged structural elements, as well as facilities to ensure it would be accessible to all.

Colombiers - Aerial view
Colombiers - Aerial view

Its construction dates back to the end of the XNUMXth century. The roof, remarkable for its majestic framework, is inspired by an upturned boat hull and is said to have been made by the Compagnons Charpentiers du Tour de France from the Ecole Gustave Eiffel. The cellar develops on two levels, a long side of which adjoins the reception platform on the upper level, interposed by a barbican to meet the constraints of temperature and ventilation. It was built in the immediate vicinity of the Canal du Midi to facilitate the transport of wine.

The cellar of the Château is an emblematic construction of rural engineering, composed of two L-shaped buildings: a vinification room, later, was grafted against the historic cellar 14 meters wide by 70 meters long (994 m2 ).

The 225 m2 winemaking room is protruding, perpendicular to the main building. It includes an entrance gate, a guard house, a series of tanks for boiling and a platform, where three presses once stood.

In the summer, this exceptional place becomes a lively place that hosts many artists, exhibitions and other cultural events.

Those who take a tour of the Château de Colombiers wine cellar are sure to be moved.