The Château de Mayragues (12th - 17th century) and its pigeon loft built on 4 columns, both listed as Historic Buildings, surrounded by its bio-dynamic vineyard, sit proudly in the midst of the magnificent rolling countryside of the Bastides Albigeoises.

The Château de Mayragues is one of the few remaining examples of the regional fortified architecture with a half-timbered, overhanging gallery surrounding the top of the château built of the light-coloured local limestone. The splendid pigeon loft sitting on 4 stone columns, typical of the Languedoc region, the formal box parterre, the vineyard (cultivated in bio-dynamics since 1999), the surrounding woods and fields of sunflowers and corn, make an ideal setting for the summer concerts which have been performed in front of the château for the last 20 years.The château and the pigeon loft have undergone an extensive 35 year restoration programme using traditional meterials of stone, wood, lime and sand, and in 1998, during the course of the restoration, were awarded the Grand Prix of the Vieilles Maisons Françaises.The half-timbered gallery provides a unique setting for the guest B&B bedrooms and an extensive view over the garden and the surrounding countryside. Visiting the winery, tasting the bio-dynamic wines of the domain, or simply relaxing in the garden are the ideal complement to discovering the treasures of the Bastides Albigeoises.

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Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.