•Aude (11200) • Population: 654 • Altitude: 48 m
Homps is a very small village, only somewhat attractive to visitors, except for the very lovely area of the Canal du Midi. There's no visitor commerce in the village center, but there are cafés and terrace restaurants beside the Canal du Midi, only a few steps from the center.
Road and bicycle traffic passes through Homps on the D610, with Carcassonne 33 km to the west and Narbonne and Béziers further to the east. A couple of blocks and a few small streets north of the main road, the Canal du Midi traces the true main route through the village.
There is an attractive and quite large church in the center. The Eglise Saint-Amand is listed as being built in the 12th century, but its current style, with tall spire, is more likely to be around the 17th century.
Homps village does have a post office, a winery (cave) and a couple of small grocery stores. There's a somewhat plain but ancient 13th-century Romanesque chapel beside the road at the west end of the village.
Canal du Midi Homps
The Canal du Midi has a "port" area where it passes through the village of Homps. There's a pretty, arched walkway bridge over the canal, as well as the small road bridge that crosses at the east end of the central area with all the cafés and restaurants.
The port area of Homps is popular because it's one of few areas along the canal wide enough for longer canal boats to turn around. There's also a boat workshop here, as well as a canal-boat rental company.
There's a single-basin locks at Homps, located 850 m east of the little road bridge crossing the canal by the center of the village.
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History of Homps
Gallo-Roman: A Roman road ran through here a couple of thousand years ago, and the village was called Aldomus at that time, Latin for "Les Ormes" (The Elms). The principle dwelling was then a Gallo-Roman village called Ulmos (Elms). Homps is probably a phonetic distortion of that.
Medieval: Homps came under the control of the Knights Hospitalers in the 12th century, and had an important commanderie located here. The Catholic Albigensian Crusade at the beginning of the 13th century against Catharism wiped out the village. It grew again, gradually, until the Wars of Religion came along in the 16th century and wiped it out again.
More Recently: Homps sits in a large wine growing region of the Languedoc. When the Canal du Midi was built in the 17th century, a canal port was established here. Homps became a shipping point for area wines out to the main seaports of Bordeaux, Toulouse and Sète.
Homps has several restaurants, most along the sides of the lovely Canal du Midi, and most with canal-side terraces and inner garden settings. We ate lunch in one of the canal-side restaurants, having the plats-du-jours for very reasonable cost.
Apart from the canal-side dining, we also found a good restaurant at the north edge of the village, where the road goes out towards Olonzac to the northeast.