Limoux is not an especially big town but it packs a punch within the related industries of tourism and wine. Not only does it offer an exceedingly good sparkling wine which could give most champagnes a run for their money, but it is the home of the world's longest carnival.

If you like champagne (and who doesn't!?) but are scared off by the high prices that champagne commands, then you should definitely try the not-quite-so-famous-but-equally-as-good Blanquette or Crémant de Limoux. These are sparkling wines that can be enjoyed by amateurs and connoisseurs alike and which cost roughly a mere 25% of their rivals from Champagne country. The essential difference between Blanquette and Crémant are the grape varieties authorised in their production; Blanquette is made primarily from Mauzac grapes whereas Crémant is made from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Effervescent wine was first discovered and produced by the monks of the nearby Benedictine monastery in 1531 and Limoux has happily continued the tradition ever since. You will find any number of 'caves' and 'chais' for tasting these wines around the town, and you can also try still wines alongside reds and rosés.

The carnival of Limoux takes place every Saturday and Sunday from January through to March. The organisers are keen to point out that the Limoux Carnival is not a spectacle, it is not even just a parade; it is folklore in action in its purest form. Well, it's certainly worth checking out either way as it is one of the most famous and important festivals in the region.


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