* France – Pyrenees : Land of Cathar castles Tour with qualified incoming agency
Period : Throughout the year
Reference : 14B049
Prix : 415€ Ask for a quote
From the Pyrenean heights down to the Mediterranean Sea, a landscape sprinkled with ruined fortresses on craggy peaks reminding you of the turbulent times in the region’s history, when the Cathars took to the hills to escape persecution and France and Spain struggled for control of the border. Our incoming agency give you the best qualified tour.
D1 Pays de Foix (20 km)
Guided Tour of Foix, once ruled by local counts, whose castle dominates the village from its rocky outspur on high, and whose narrow winding streets, wood-fronted houses and fountains are a pure delight. Dinner and overnight in the region of Foix.
D2 Heart of the cathare land (120 km)
Guided tour of the mediaeval bastide of Mirepoix with its half-timbered houses and wooden structures. Lunch then a guided tour of the ruined Castle of Montsegur, a citadel which served as refuge to the Cathars, sitting high on a rocky ledge at 1200 metres. Visit a workshop perpetuating the age-old tradition of locally made combs, made from animal horns. Dinner and overnight.
D3 The Pyrenees by the Yellow Train Railway (200 km)
Direction Font-Romeu via the col de Puymorens. Visit Odeillo’s solar-powered furnace, the world’s largest oven and learn more about the different uses of solar energy. Lunch then an excursion by the Pyrenees yellow train railway into the heart of the wonderful Cerdagne countryside, inspiration for many a work of art. Time at leisure when we stop at Villefranche de Conflent, one of Vauban’s military citadel’s. Dinner and overnight in the region of Perpignan.
D4 Perpignan the Royal, and the Cathar Castles (120 km)
Onetime capital of the Majorcan Kings, enjoy a guided tour of Perpignan, with the Palaces, the Castillet. We make a stop to sample some of the local Rivesaltes sweet wine aperitif. After lunch we make for the Galamus Gorges and St Anthony’s Hermitage, perched on a clifftop. We continue via the castle of Peyrepertuse, a most impressive fortress nicknamed the “little Carcassonne in the sky”, and then visit Queribus Castle, one of the last bastions of Cathar resistance. The views over the Corbieres countryside, Canigou hills and Roussillon plain are simply superb. Dinner and overnight.
D5 The Vermilion Coast (120 km)
First stop this morning is Elne to admire its fortress-church and the beautiful Romanesque cloister. On to the “Cote Vermeille”, the Vermilion Coast via Argeles, Banyuls and Port-Vendres. Lunch then free time in the gorgeous little port of Collioure, sandwiched between the sea and mountains, where colourful Catalan fishing boats bob in the harbour. The church of Our Lady of the Angels is worth a visit. Dinner and overnight.
D6 Salses Fortress (25 km)
Tour with commentary of the Salses Fort, onetime Spanish stronghold of ochre and pink brick, whose military architecture was innovative for the time.
Coach tour :
Full Board in 2* hotels
Guided Tours (1h30) : Foix, Mirepoix, Perpignan
Entrance Fees : Solar-powered furnace in Odeillo, Montségur Castle, Quéribus, Elne Cloister, Salses Fortress
Muscat Tasting in Rivesaltes
Yellow train journey Mont Louis – Villefranche
Single Room (5nights) : 135 €
Cruise along the “côte vermeille” : 14 €
Palace of the kings of Majorca: 4€