Between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, in the heart of the sun baked Corbieres region of south-west France, this walk progresses from wild, lush countryside to mountains and sun-blessed vineyards, with a cultural heritage which derives from some of the most mysterious and dramatic pages of the history of France.
Between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, in the heart of the sun baked Corbieres region of south-west France, this walk progresses from wild, lush countryside to mountains and sun-blessed vineyards, with a cultural heritage which derives from some of the most mysterious and dramatic pages of the history of France. Scenery is in abundance, from pine, oak and beech forests, to rivers and deep gorges and distant mountain peaks. Yet the walking is not especially difficult and the flowers and wildlife are substantial additional pleasures.
There are two walking trails. Both follow different sections of the famous ‘Sentier Cathare’ and can be combined to make a two-week holiday. Along these ancient paths you will discover Cathar castles, perched precariously on the cliff edges, and small rural Pyrenean villages.
This region full of charm also has its own culinary secrets, the Corbiere wines and typical dishes, like ‘cassoulet’, will leave a memorable reminder and a taste of a warm welcome.
Tuchan/Queribus to Quillan to Foix – 12 nights / 11 days walking
Queribus / Quillan / Foix
Arrive for overnight in the pretty town of Tuchan.
Short transfer to Padern. Today we walk from the Chateau of Padern through contrasting landscapes to the fortress of Queribus and from there we continue to Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse for overnight.
16 kms. 5 hrs.
Altitude gain/descent: +436m -260m
Duilhac to Bouchard
We walk through the unforgettable Galamus Gorges up to the Chateau of Peyrepertuse and continue to the private domaine of Bouchard.
16 kms. 5 hrs.
Altitude gain/descent:+250m -340m
Domaine du Bouchard to Sougraigne.
Our walk today is in the very heart of the Cathar country as we walk between the Fenouilledes and the Corbieres. We traverse the Bugarach massif and the Salso Col before arriving in the beautiful small village of Sougraigne.
Altitude gain/descent: +250m -605m
Sougraigne to Granes
We pass the village of Rennes les Bains and on to Rennes le Chateau with its small castle dominating the surrounding hills. We spend the night at in a chambre d’hote in Granes.
19kms/11.9 miles. 5hrs 30.
Altitude gain/descent: +445m -450m
Granes to Quillan
The route from Granes to Quillan follows the GR along a well known path that used to be an important link and means of communication between the small Pyreneen hamlets. We traverse the high saddle of the Col des Trois Quilles before arriving in Quillan.
18 kms/11.25 miles. 5hrs.
Altitude gain/descent: +350m -440m
From Quillan walk to the village of Nebias. From here the walk starts along the Cathar footpath to the 13th century Chateau of the Troubadours in Puivert.
21 kms/13 miles. 5hrs 45.
Altitude gain/descent:+700m -495m
Puivert to Belcaire
The route goes through a thick fir forest and along through the heartof the Escale and Picaussel forests and onto the vast airy plateau of Sault using ancient paths to access the high valley of Aude and the Corbieres region.
21 kms/13 miles. 6hrs.
Altitude gain/descent: +583m -25m
Belcaire to Montsegur
We notice the difference between the Pays de Sault plateau and the county of Ariege as we walk along a pathway situated between high rock mountains that slip down through the impressive Gorge of the Frau before arriving in the village of Montsegur.
18 kms/11,25. 5hrs 30.
Altitude gain/descent: +660m -772m
Montsegur to Montsegur
We walk from Montsegur, along a steep rocky trail, as the route leads onto the foothills of the mountain knowns as the Massif of Tabe.
12 kms/7.5 miles. 6hrs 30.
Altitude gain/descent:+774m -580m
Montsegur to Roquefixade
From Montsegur the Cathare trail weaves its way to the village of Montferrier, traversing the Modini forest before reaching the Pyrenean village of Roquefixade, an ancient bastide of the 13th century.
17 kms/10.6 miles. 4hrs 30.
Altitude gain/descent: +400m -760m
Roquefixade to Foix
The last section of the Cathare path follows a high ridge from Roquefixade castle to the small town of Foix. This walk combines superb terrain with stunning views.
18.5 kms/11.6 miles. 5 hrs.
Altitude gain/descent: +350m -720m