In Gallo-Roman times, the meander, formed by the river Hers, was an ideal spot for a fort. It was called "Cambo Dunum", meaning: 'Fortress of the Meander".
In 943 it was subject to the abbey of Lagrasse (Aude). Around this period, the abbey also started to develop agriculture in the nearby countryside, and the monks of Camon, who owned quite a lot of land, offered protection to their villagers. They started to cultivate vines and various cereals. The income was important, because the abbey of Lagrasse demanded royalties from the abbey of Camon.
Rose hedges were often planted as an early warning system to protect the well being of the grapevines, because early detection of disease on the roses could alert winemakers to take necessary action to protect the vines from damage. Roses also provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on those other insects that can damage the grape. Also in Camon this ancient method is still used.
Between 1560 and 1570, Cardinal Georges d'Armagnac, then prior of Camon, strengthened these fortifications, enlarged the battlements and drilled loopholes. The Cardinal also created a small round tower at the west corner of the village wall. All these measures were taken to protect themselves against the hatred and violence during the Religious Wars (1562–98), an epic battle between Roman Catholics and Protestants that raged throughout Europe. Because of this horrible and violent period, many towns and villages in southern France were forced to create extra fortifications to keep its inhabitants safe.
In these 200 years, Camon blossomed economically and its population grew to 860 inhabitants.
However, when the French Revolution happened and Church and State were separated here in France, the monks abandoned the abbey without any resistance.
In 1791, the abbey was sold as a national property, and today it is still privately owned and kept in a wonderful state as a luxury Chambres D'Hôtes, restaurant & wedding venue (www.chateaudecamon.com).
The countryside is so green that it almost hurts your eyes. This is a very wet Spring indeed and you can see that the roses have grown very fast. Long branches, weighed down by heavy, rain-soaked flowers, are bending over deeply, almost breaking. Being a lover of roses all sorts, I have been tying up my own rose bushes at home to save them from the effects of the wind and rain.
Other roses with smaller flowers are courageously reaching for the skies; they can keep themselves upright. It is amazing to witness how even the roses that are drooping and hanging down are magnificent in their presence, colour and grace.
A wise lesson in accepting circumstance, whatever the proverbial weather.