What's Worth Visiting

 

In addition to the wild and beautiful landscapes all around you, here's a list of interesting places to visit.

 

We will also be pleased to advise you on your outings according to your personal taste!

Feel free to ask Richard, he knows the area very well and can provide information both on the most appropriate hiking trails as on the most interesting historical sites to visit.

 

Mount Bugarach

Peak of Bugarach

(next to our place)

 

La Bastide is located at the foot of the famous Pic de Bugarach. "Up to the Peak" is one of the first things to do here! It's a beautiful ride and the view from the top is magnificent. On a clear day you can see down to the sea to the east and south to the Pyrenees.

 

Please also read our more detailed article on the Pic de Bugarach.

 

Galamus Canyon

Canyon of Galamus

 

( 10 minutes by car)

 

 

This spectacular Canyon, 300m deep, is crossed at about midway by a narrow road cut into the rock in the early twentieth century. A hermitage is built on the side of the cliff and there is also a cave converted into a church.

 

We recommend leaving your car in the parking lot and walk across the gorge. The view is well worth it!

 

Cathar Castles

(At 30-50 min drive)

 

The area is full of medieval fortresses in ruins, more or less built on impressive rocky peaks: the castles of Peyrepertuse, Quéribus, Montsegur, Puilaurens, Termes, Arques, Aguilar ...

They are traditionally called "Cathar castles", but most of them have nothing to do with the Cathars and were built after the end of the Crusade against the Albigenses.

They were strategic military strongholds, including border crossings between France and Aragon before the Treaty of the Pyrenees moved the border to the south in 1659.

Even if they are not really Cathar castles, these fortresses are very beautiful, impressive and interesting to visit!

 

Cathar Fortresses

 

Some of these castles existed at the time of the Cathars, when this region was not part of France. The Cathars did not build them, but they searched for shelter in the castles during the Crusade against the Albigenses.

The Castle of St. Pierre in Fenouillet e.g. sheltered Cathars. As well as the Castle of Quéribus, which belonged to a family of Languedoc Cathar people. It was the last stronghold which fell into French hands in 1255.

For more information on the Cathars and the Crusade against the Albigenses, read our article Cathar Country.

You can see photos of some castles in our photo album of the Region.

 

The Medieval City of Carcassonne

Medieval City of Carcassonne

( 1:15 by car)

 

The famous medieval city of Carcassonne is part of the UN list  « Cultural Heritage of Mankind ».

It is very impressive because it was restored relatively early, in the nineteenth century, by Viollet-le-Duc, which means that it is very well preserved. It really looks like a city of the Middle Ages!

Especially the huge door with his double-gate and double city walls recall the days of knights.

 

The Roman Aqueduct of Ansignan

Aqueduct of Ansignan

(30 minutes by car)

 

 

The aqueduct of Ansignan is the oldest building in good condition of our region. It is an authentic Roman aqueduct, built in the third century during the Roman occupation of the region.

It is 170m long and rises to 15m above the river. It is still in service and is used to irrigate the gardens of the village of Ansignan.

 

The Abbeys

Abbey

 

(1h-1h30 by car)

The famous Abbey of Fontfroide is the largest monastery in the region, evidence of wealth and power of the Roman Catholic Church in the time of Catharism.

The abbeys of Saint Hilaire and Lagrasse, albeit smaller, are very beautiful as well.

 

The Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean Sea

(1:15 by car)

 

 

We are not beachfront, but the Mediterranean Sea is close enough to spend a day on the beach!

You can also stroll along the coast to admire the small fishing villages, beautiful coves and enjoy mussels and chips near a port.

 

 

The Dinosaur Museum

(40 min drive)

 

The Dinosaur Museum in Espéraza presents the fruits of the excavations at the paleontological site of Bellevue in Campagne sur Aude, near Espéraza. A nearly complete fossilized skeleton of Ampelosaurus Atacs was found on this site, as well as many other bones and dinosaur eggs.

 

Dinosaur Museum in Espéraza

 

On Sunday mornings there is also a popular farmers market in Espéraza, a large and very friendly market with its products of our local farmers and crafts, its musical entertainment: a colorful meeting place and very convivial!

 

The Museum of Prehistory

 

(1 hour drive)

 

The Museum of Prehistory of Tautavel is the second largest museum of prehistory in Europe. It houses hundreds of exhibits and reconstructions of all sizes and is equipped with audio-guides in several languages.

The star of the museum is the 'Tautavel Man', a pre-Neanderthal human living in this region  450,000 years ago. It is the oldest human found in France. His bones were found at the prehistoric excavation site of Tautavel.

 

The African Reserve of Sigean

(1h30 by car)

 

 

The African Wildlife Park in Sigean is one of the largest African wildlife parks of Europe: 3000 African animals share a territory of 260 ha. You can even cross the lions' park by car!

 

African Wildlife Park in Sigean

The Train

TPCF

 

To visit the valley of Fenouillèdes and part of the Upper Aude Valley, you can take the tourist train, the TPCF (Train of the Cathar Country and Fenouillèdes).

 

With its 60 km journey, the train runs on one of the longest private railway lines, from Rivesaltes to Axat.

Wine Tastings

Wine

 

 

And don't forget the wine tasting tours in the many excellent wineries in the area:

 

  • in the north the Minervois wines
  • in the south the Côtes du Roussillon and Rivesaltes
  • in the east the Corbières
  • and in the west: Blanquette de Limoux!