•Aude (11140) • Population: 307 • Altitude: 272 m
Fa is a small village in the hills west of Espéraza. Fa is somewhat interesting, with a medieval "Visigoth" chateau tower on the hill, a 15th-century church, and a few nice panels about history of village.
The small Faby river runs through the village, and there's a covered market at one end. The Faby river runs eastward to Esperaza where it joins the Aude, and the river valley was once the main route between the Aude and the Quercorg region to the west.
The village church, Saint-Loup de Fa, was built in the 15th century. It has been rebuilt to different degrees several times over the last 6 centurys, repairing damages fror the Wars of Religion and local floods. The church bell [fa photo-01] dates to 1630, and is an official historical monument.
We asked a few local people about the derivation of the name Fa, but none seemed to know. Two young men pretended to know, and wove a very imaginative story. And two elderly, knitting women though hard but couldn't remember anything. Then we found a nearby information panel that explained all: it was from the Latin word Fanum, meaning temple.
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History of Fa
Many traces of prehistoric and Gallo-Roman occupation have been discovered in the area of the commune of Fa. The most notable of these are two wheels from a Bronze Age wagon, and the sites of several Roman villae.
A roman relay post no doubt stood on the hilltop site. In medieval times, the powerful Archbishops of Narbonne had a fortified castle here. The valley turned out to be fairly inactive during the 13th-century Albigeois Crusade against the Cathars. The initial village was probably situated where the old tower now stands, and would have been moved from that location to its current site on the left bank of the Faby around the 16th century. The castle was eventualy dismantled, bit-by-bit, to provide building stones for the village below.
• GPS: 42.938235, 2.191471
IGN (1/25,000) #2347 OT "Quillan, Alet-les-Bains"
There are several loop-hikes from the village of Fa, and they are clearly displayed on a large panel map in the village, with times, degree of difficulty and other comments noted. Times vary from 2-1/2 hours, and the loops pass through other villages or interesting sites (such as the "pass with no name".