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Montferrand

The Aéropostale lighthouse, three churches and an archaeological site with stone coffins.

In ancient times, Montferrand was an important customs post on the Via Tolosa, which linked Toulouse and Narbonne. The Gallo-Roman city then covered nearly 12 ha. Archaeological excavations have brought to light a number of remains such as thermal baths, an early Christian church, and 52 stone sarcophagi as well as tombs.
Probably initially just a simple halt, Montferrand, then called ‘Elusio’, quickly became an agglomeration where goods arrived from the Roman world and even beyond. Archaeological excavations have revealed thermal baths and necropolises from the 6th century, totally nearly 140 burials. The basilica surprises us with a small oriental feature in its oversized apse.
In the Middle Ages, the city was besieged by Simon de Montfort and the castle was destroyed. A 14th century door is, however, still visible.
Today, from the top of the village, you can enjoy a superb panorama of the Pyrenees or the Montagne Noire, see the old Aéropostale lighthouse and the three churches!

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ONE VILLAGE, THREE CHURCHES!
The first church, Saint Pierre d´Alzonne, is located on the archaeological site, below the current village. Dedicated in the 11th century, this church housed a priory linked to the Saint Papoul cathedral. A set of 18 stelae from the 11th to 14th centuries can be seen in this church. One of them, from the 13th century, is remarkable for its original design in the Occitan cross. The second church, Notre Dame, still stands above the village, near the old castle, and was a place of worship until 1880 before being transformed into a residence. Finally, the third church, Saint Laurent, dating from the 14th century, has an interesting war memorial.
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MONTFERRAND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
Firstly, with Pierre-Georges Latécoère, the inventor and promoter of the first commercial air link, then with Beppo de Massimi and Marcel Bouilloux-Laffont between 1918 and 1936 the ‘Aéropostale’ legend was born. A fabulous story with prestigious pilots, such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jean Mermoz, Henri Guillaumet and many others, setting off from Toulouse, flying over the Lauragais, in legendary planes en route to South America. All along the Paris-Bordeaux-Toulouse-Narbonne-Perpignan route, the lighthouses emitted their identification in Morse code, a luminous combination of lines and dots. So, we find ourselves at the beginning of commercial aviation, between 1920 and 1930. Gradually, as the activity intensified, flights had to operate day and night, so visible light markers were required to illuminate the pilots’ routes. In 1932, there were nearly 140 route lighthouses with either eclipsing white or flashing neon red lighting. Today this heritage has significant historical value as it bears witness to the time of the great ‘Ligne Aéropostale de L’Atlantique Sud,’ which linked Toulouse and Natal via Tangier and Dakar.
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On the route de l’Aéropostale
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