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Cathar Trail hiking itinerary part 1 - through the Corbieres

Valley of the Agly - Corbieres, FranceBetween the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, in the heart of the sunblessed region of the Corbières you will find the imposing, mystic stone castles, the châteaux Cathares. These castles are the remnants of a tragic, political and religious intrigue. The Cathars were gnostic Christian sect which enjoyed great popularity in the South of France during the Midlle Ages. Political jealousies stirred the first crusade - Christians pitched against Christians in a bloody war for power and control over this culturally rich region. Eventually the Cathars were exterminated, their castles burnt down and many of them died at the stake. But their spiritual legacy lives on in this mystical region and their castles bear silent witness to their sad fate. Their legendary treasures were never discovered and treasure hunters are still looking for it today.

During the week's hike you will discover landscapes of immense natural beauty, amidst vineyards, rocky hills and sheer cliffs, rolling hills and quaint sleepy villages with a surprising range of good local food and wines. The dry, mostly evergreen vegetation, of what is known as the 'garrigue', is full of fragrant herbs and shrubs, and in the spring especially, it is vibrant with unusual and colourful vegetation. A circular route from Quillan on the Cathare path, passing through historical sites that offer a remarkable diversity of Mediterranean and mountain vegetation.

Departures
Every day. Bookings from two people or more.

Trip Summary

Start:
Day 1 at Quillan train station (11), at 16h00. Quillan is a small market town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It lies at a crossroads between a route national that runs east to west through the Pyrenees and another road that leads up into the higher plateaus and ski areas of the mountains.

End:
Day 7 at your hotel in Quillan after breakfast (11).
If you are doing both sections of the Mystic Castles of the Pyrenees trail the night in Quillan is offered at B&B.

How to get there:
Quillan train station.

Accommodation
In hotels or guesthouses, double room.

Minimum no of participants: 2

Level of difficulty:
The walks are on good footpaths and trails, the terrain is varied but often rocky. You need to be used to walking and take regular exercise to enjoy this trip.

Type: Self-guided walking.

Carrying:
You need to carry a small day sack only with a water bottle, camera, picnic and wind jacket. The main luggage will be transported by vehicle between the different accommodations.
Cathar Trail hiking itinerary part 1 - through the Corbieres Cathar Castle of Perepertuse, Corbieres, France

Day 1

Rendez-vous at Quillan, then transfer to Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse. Check into your accommodation and investigate the village situated at the foot of Peyrepertuse castle, an impressive fortress, perched high on a sheer rock face overlooking the valley of the Agly.

Day 2

From the Château of Padern, a walk up through a rich tapestry of contrasting Mediterranean landscapes to the chateau of Quéribus and on to Duilhac. Queribus faces Perepertuse across the ridge. These castles are among the most impressive monuments, clinging like eagle's nests onto the rocky perches high above the valley.
16km, 5h00, +436m, -260m.

Day 3

Gorges de Galamus, Corbieres, FranceDiscover the unforgettable Galamus Gorge winding its way through the rocks, and the Chateau of Peyrepertuse before arriving at the small, pictoresque town of Cubières.
16km, 5h00, +250m, -340m.

Day 4

In the very heart of the Cathare country, between the Fenouillèdes and the Corbières, a walk to the ravishing village of Sougraigne set in the prettiest of country spots.
15km, 5h00, +250m, -605m.

Rennes le Chateau, Aude, Languedoc, France

Day 5

From Sougraigne to Granes via Rennes-les-Bains, famous for its natural healing hot springs, and Rennes-le-Chateau with its obscure past, entangled with the secret mysteries of the Knights Templars. 19km, 5h30, +445m, -450m.

Day 6

From Granes to Quillan you follow a well known walking trail. This path used to be an important link between the Pyrenean hamlets.
18km, 5h00, +350m, -440m.

Day 7

The tour comes to an end in Quillan after breakfast at your hotel. You can choose to do a circular route from Quillan.
12km, 3h30, +295m, -295m.

Price includes

Half board accommodation (except day 6), internal transfers, baggage transfers between hotels, the dossier containing your maps, route notes and all necessary details needed for your holiday.

Price does not include

Entrance fees, additional transfers, drinks, picnics, additional activities, holiday insurance, travel and evening meal day 6.

For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.