Village of legends
This small fortified village perched on a hill in the Lauragais is a place teeming with legends.
A fortified village to this day
Saint-Julia is perched on a hill in the Lauragais from where it enjoys a splendid view of the Montagne Noire, the Pyrenees and the plain of Revel. The Romans chose this site for their colony with good reason! Today, Saint-Julia is a circular village built around the church with its distinctive bell gable, and it retains many defensive features from less peaceful times: all the houses have storage silos in their cellars, the village is still protected by walls and a fortified gate – the Cers Gate.
…and some famous names
During the course of its long history, Saint-Julia has received some illustrious visitors. Queen Marguerite de Valois was both ‘lord and lady’ of the village, and once when she stayed here, she made an important donation for the restoration of the choir in the church. Much later, at the end of the 19th century, someone less well-known, despite the fact that he was a great inventor, settled in Saint-Julia: Edouard Estaunier was a post office engineer who invented the word ‘telecommunications’.
Truth or legend?
The first legend explains the strange ‘gras capou’ attached to the name of Saint-Julia. What is it? A type of poultry! After a siege of several weeks, the enemies attacking the village believed they were on the verge of winning because the population was close to starvation. Imagine their surprise when up on the ramparts they saw arms holding aloft several fat capons. From then on, the village became known as Saint-Julia de Gras Capou.
The second legend is based more firmly on history. During the Revolution, the town of Revel ordered all the surrounding villages to remove their church bells so that they could be melted down to make cannon. But the inhabitants of Saint-Julia were so fond of their bell that they took it down during the night and hid it. Much later they put the bell back in its rightful place, and it is now the oldest church bell in Haute-Garonne.
The third legend is part of the fabric of the village. Underneath all the houses are silos where the inhabitants used to store grain and other food. During times of wars and invasions, they linked all these silos together to create underground passages.
The final legend is about a building with an unusual roof on the edge of the village. Known as the Rose Pavilion, this 19th century construction is where men-of-the world returning from the hunt would pay court to a certain type of lady.
Saint-Julia in her heart
If you want to get to the heart of the village, don’t miss the Foire au Gras Chapons (the Fat Capon Fair) on the Sunday before Christmas!
Ancient or modern?
Occupying the former site of the girls’ school, this château was built at the start of the 20th century! Today it offers bed-and-breakfast and hosts cultural events.
The heritage of pastel
The cultivation of pastel, or woad, indirectly gave birth to a special tradition: the creation of large dovecotes in a range of styles. Outside the town walls you will find two very different...
The Autan Gate
A view of Saint-Félix-Lauragais
Head for the Autan Gate and beyond it you will find a panoramic view of Saint-Félix Lauragais and the Pyrenees.