Do you know what a “circulade” is?

In the Languedoc, a so-called “circulade” is a traditional village that has been built in concentric circles. The centre, which one might expect to be the site of a château-fort or a parish church, is as often as not, empty. Though the highly structured circulade plans are medieval in origin, dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, two centuries earlier than the planned bastides of the region.

Bram, one of the most famous circulades

In the early Middle Ages, after the disappearance of the Roman Empire, people felt it became necessary to regroup. They gather around a place of worship to benefit from the spiritual protection or around a castle that offers security in case of aggression. Most often at the top of a hill, which reinforces protection. Two types of agglomerations then appeared: the castral village (around the castle) and the ecclesial village (around the church). In both cases, the houses are massed around the perimeter and adopt a concentric plane, following the contours of the hill of the castle or the “circle of peace” of the church.

Many of them still exist nowadays and can be visited.


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