14 Dec 2013

Rejuvenated Tour de Boussecos

This week’s walk started here in Bize, to the Tower of Boussecos. 

It’s a walk many of us have done before, but recently the Bize Patrimoine (Bize Heritage Association) has cleared huge amounts of scrub and bushes, cleared pathways and generally made it easily accessible to all. So I got to see it from the south side for the first time.  

A great job and a really enjoyable walk – the late afternoon winter sun on the rocks was stunning.

Translation of the recently installed information board:

According to some historians , the term  "Boussecos" is an Occitan linguistic distortion of  "cossicos " (Visigoth) - a plausible hypothesis if we consider that the building remains observable today has strong similarities with other Visigoth constructions - for example, one of the oldest towers in La Cité at Carcassonne.

It is also likely that this rocky prominence, so opportunely situated in the middle of the Valley of the River Cesse, has served as an observation post , lookout tower and signal tower from much earlier  times, for the people of the region situated downstream – today the commune of Bize-Minervois.

Archaeologists have discovered in the immediate vicinity of the Tower:
  • fragments of Neolithic vases identical to those that were found in the famous “Grottes de Bize” located on the other side of the River Cesse.

  • ceramic fragments from the Bronze Age , arrowheads, spears and archers’ thimbles which can be seen at the Museum of Narbonne.

  • ledge of bricks and broken vases from Roman times .

  • remains of walls and a cistern probably dating from the era of the kingdom of the Visigoths of Toulouse. The Tower of Boussecos was part of the belt of rocky towers along the mountains - among others, the Chateau de Ventajou and the tower recently discovered at Minerve.

  • various materials dating from the XVI century. During the wars of religion that took place in the region at that time, the tower served as a lookout .

Listed as a protected monument in 1974, it was cleared in 2013 of the obscuring vegetation by the Bize Patrimoine (Bize Heritage Association), which ensures conservation, with you, the visitors.

13 Dec 2013


I had a little visitor this morning – I spotted  running across the rug. I thought it was a mouse, but it turns out it’s a shrew. First one I’ve seen – and it’s not a rodent at all. He (she?) had rather sharp teeth, which I found out the hard way. I put him in a pot, before letting him go in the garden, and got bitten for my troubles! Cute as a button though. 

I know nothing about shrews, but have just read they need to eat every couple of hours or they’ll die – and this little guy immediately got stuck into an old squashed snail – not worried that I was right there taking photos. So I gave him a treat and found him a fresh one. He nearly devoured in just a few minutes. 

I suspect I brought him inside last night in a bucket full of kindling, so I imagine he was starving this morning. Maybe it was a mistake releasing him into the garden instead of somewhere further away – he may become a regular visitor…

Top left hand corner - the walnut I offered him! Not touched - he much preferred the snail.

Moving sideways

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