We undertook a short walk from Preixan to Saint Hilaire which was fraught with difficulty in it's self owing to the lack of bridges across the River Aude and the lack of a path along the D118 so we had to walk through vineyards and along a rather scary track alongside the river that had us thinking of Southern Comfort and Deliverance, especially when we passed an old shack with loads of junk cars barrels etc.
Having arrived At St Hilaire at 17:00 we found the Abbey was open until 18:00 so we had a visit, there's not loads to see but for €4 it was money well spent.
The Abbey is still being 'done up' but this did not spoil the visit. There's a nice cloister, a church, monks refectory, Bishops painted room and cellars.
Apparently this was were sparkling wine was discovered owing to an error by the monks in forgetting about some barrels of wine which fermented and produced gas. This per dates champagne. The tour also enables you to taste a small glass of wine in the local shop, it was so nice we brought a bottle, it's called Blanquette.
We also purchased a passport which gives you money off other sites in the area including all the Cather castles and its valid for a year so that will be left in the holiday home for the next visitor.
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