History

Camplong d’Aude seen from the air

Camplong d’Aude seen from the air

The origin of the name “Camplong” may well go back a very long time, perhaps as far as the Romans, if the etymology of the name “Campus longus” – long field – is to be believed; ploughing in a field of the same name – a few hundred metres away – turns up ancient remains from time to time.

By AD 900 the first settlement began to appear around the Castrum (stronghold), precarious shacks in enclosures where the inhabitants raised their animals and cultivated a few vegetables. Throughout the Middle Ages the population increased as did the area cultivated, at the expense of the forests.

In AD 1343, Roger Saint-Martin first paid homage to Pierre de la Jugie, the abbot of Lagrasse, and became the lord of the manor. The construction of the castle belongs to that time. Little remains of the original buildings except for the archway which gives onto the village square, the street pattern, and a second archway which served as an entrance to a little courtyard, where the lords of the manor lived.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the land was mainly used for growing cereals, the staple diet. One-third of the land was devoted to olive trees. At that time the vines were relegated to the hillsides. Planted in narrow fields, they provided a supplementary income.

21st century olive trees in Camplong

21st century olive trees in Camplong

The freezing winter of 1790 destroyed the olive trees, and vines progressively took over. They were planted everywhere, despite the (ineffective) regulations. The village’s councillors were alarmed by the trend: it was mad, they said, to restrict the area devoted to cereals.

During the Revolution the villagers confiscated a part of the lord of the manor’s lands, an area which was later to be redistributed amongst them in 92 equal lots, and renamed evocatively la République. In the 19th century, encouraged by rising prices and better communications, more vineyards were planted, spreading over the whole of the commune. The end of the century marked the village’s heyday. It had grown in size and had 500 inhabitants. The town hall, the clock and the fountain were constructed. But the good times didn’t last long. By 1907 overproduction and competition from abroad were taking their toll and the population began to decrease.

Yet by the 1970s another revolution was underway. The wine-makers were improving the vineyards and planting better varieties. They modernised the winery and their wine-making techniques. They started to take marketing seriously.

At the same time, a new activity was being developed in parallel. Facilities for tourists now include a small holiday village, a swimming pool, an amphitheatre for summer entertainment, and numerous holiday houses for rent.

The former château has now become the backdrop for summer events

The former château has now become the backdrop for summer events

The investment now seems to be bearing fruit. The village economy is once again vigorous. Young people are moving in and the population is increasing: the twinned primary schools of Camplong and its neighbour Ribaute now cater for nearly fifty pupils.

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Camplong d'Aude : village à vivre