Minerve, an old Cathar refuge, is that rare thing – a 14thC fortified hilltop town unspoiled, as yet, by the tourist business. Tourists there are, but the industry has not yet taken over and the small town continues to have an ongoing organic life which is very appealing. With only two narrow streets up and down, cars have to be left below. It is no effort (except for the handicapped) and well worth the inconvenience.
   The hotel is really in three parts. There is a restaurant and stunning terrace looking across a deep gorge to a layered limestone cliff populated by birds and with vineyards on the top level. Then there’s a separate building with bedrooms and, around the corner in the next street, an old village house, restored with care and charm, with sitting room and fireplace, furnished in period harmony. All the decoration is done with attention to detail, but no fuss – light walls, uncluttered, attractive etchings and paintings. Since our last edition the Relais Chantovent has changed hands. Reports on the food so far have been positive, but would welcome more on the rooms and quality of service.