Located in the Corbières area, in the heart of the Cathar country, the village of Montlaur is in a valley defined at the North by Mount Alaric at South by the hill of La Coque. A spring in the centre of the village comes to swell the stream which meets the Orbieu River some kilometres further downstream.
Three small hills overhang the village. On these, are located (from right to left on the above picture):
- the mills of the Couscouillette, nowadays transformed into dwellings (see picture). These tithe mills are the witnesses of the affluent cereal crops (wheat, rye, oats) before the wine era. According to the archives, up to four wind and watermills were operated simultaneously which showed the prosperity of the area.
- the fort of which there are only some remaining stones.
- the mills of Bissat, nowadays transformed into dwellings.
The vestiges of the fortifications of the former castle are just visible; this walking area offers splendid panoramic views on the village, the plain and the hill of La Coque. The fort consisted of 3 forts each in the other, built in the twelfth century, on an abrupt rock, by Pierre Roger, viscount of Béziers. Montlaur was taken by Simon de Montfort in 1210. There are only a few remains left of the surrounding walls and the gate of "Bissens".
The very picturesque medieval area with its narrow winding lanes, opens to some small squares such as the square of the former town hall (Place de l’Ancienne Mairie) from which you can discover the gate of Bissens.
On the main square, the town hall (mairie), an opulent building constructed during the Third Republic in 1813, provides a fine open space together with the church and the public parks. These green areas, with a picnic corner, are pleasant meeting points, with shade in summertime. A “boulodrome” enables the “boulistes” to practise their favourite sport and to organise tournaments during summer evenings. A children’s playground has been developed which is very quickly besieged by boys and girls as soon as they leave school for the day before going back home.
Alongside, the “stream” canalised in a concrete bed, there is a walking area, where children can play and where parties are organised (dinner in the stream in July).
The village hall (foyer) provides the Montlaurais with a meeting place, where shows and sport activities take place. Close by is the youth centre (maison des jeunes) which is at the disposal of and under the responsibility of the teenagers.