•Aude (11220) • Population: 95 • Altitude: 220 m
Labastide-en-Val is a very pretty little village astride a small river in the forest south of Carcassonne. A pair of arched stone bridges cross the river, one of them very ancient and both very picturesque.
No café, no commerce.
There are no tourist sights to see here (other than the lovely old bridges) and no village café, but this is not a dying village. On an early-morning visit, the main square had a lot of local activity, with people coming and going, and meetings and conversations between the villagers.
Floods in Labastide-en-Val
Floods are a recurring problem in any riverside village. Here, the 1948 flood was particularly memorable. A village resident showed us the high-water mark scratched into the front of his house — aboutr 2 meters high.
He said the villagers were all in the local cinema building one night when they heard the water come crashing through. A van of gypsies was caught by the flood and carried downstream. The van can still be seen, half buried in the bushes downstream from the village.
There was a second flood, much more recent, but the water rose only to the top of the bridge arches.