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Carcassonne & Cathar Trails

7 Days & 6 Nights 5 Read 5 reviews
  • Cathar country of the Languedoc-Roussillon & the French Pyrenees
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of Carcassonne and its fortified city
  • Landscapes shaped by the history of the ever-rebellious Cathars
  • Bastide of Mirepoix with its colourful half-timbered houses and squares
  • Regional French cuisine and wines of character, such as Roussillon red
Make your way on foot from the fortified city of Carcassonne into the foothills of the Ariège Pyrenees, stronghold of the Cathars. Here, the Middle Ages have left an indelible footprint. Mystical Medieval castles, Romanesque abbeys and a multitude of history all serve to provide a walking tour which stirs the imagination. These landscapes are full of intrigue with lush valleys, dramatic gorges, rolling hills, snow-peaked mountains and pretty villages in the shadow of dramatic castles. Experience appealing and delicious regional cuisine, robust wines, and characterful hand-picked accommodations.

What To Expect

This walking tour introduces you to the fascinating history of south west France and is a good introduction to walking in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Explore this region of medieval castles, small villages, lakes and enjoy the welcome of the locals, strongly independent descendants of the Cathars.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Multi Centre Walking | You will spend multiple nights in one or more of the locations on this walking holiday

Ideal if you have an interest in:

Historical Journeys

Grade & Terrain

This tour has a moderate grading. However the first city walk in Carcassonne is easy to moderate, then the difficulty increases as you go further into the mountains. The trails are a combination of city walks or using dirt or wooded trails, gravel tracks and tarmac country roads. This tour is suitable for walkers with good physical fitness. There are significant elevation gains on losses on the final walk in Montségur and on the walk from La Bastide sur L’Hers into Montségur, however, it is a gradual elevation gain as you walk into the mountains. If it has been raining when you are there or just before, there are likely to be some muddy trails too.

Navigation

Some of the walks will be way-marked with either a red and white GR sign, when on a GR Trail and some also signed with yellow signposts. However you will also need to be vigilant and be able to closely follow your route notes. We can also provide you with detailed maps and GPS tracks for those who like to take a GPS unit. Please ask your Destination & Adventure Specialist for details.

Accommodation Information

On this tour you will stay in charming, characterful and hand-picked 2* and 3* hotels and chambres d’hotes. These lodgings are truly special places and one of the highlights of this tour.

Alternate Accommodation

We will always try and accommodate you at the accommodations listed. However, if those listed are unavailable, alternative accommodation of the same or better standard than those described will be provided. However, since accommodation in Montségur is scarce there is the possibility of staying in another chambre d’hotes, either in the village or just outside. These accommodations are more simple but very clean and comfortable.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. We welcome solo walkers on this trip with a supplement. Although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo.

Meals

A continental or buffet breakfast is included each morning. Lunch is not included. On some days you will be walking through small villages with cafes, restaurants and a shop or two, so you will be able to buy lunch en route. However on some of the walking days it will be essential to take a packed lunch as there are no cafes or restaurants en route. Dinner is not included allowing you to try some excellent local cuisine in nearby local restaurants or you can dine at your accommodation if they have a restaurant.

Included
  • 6 overnights in hand-picked 2* and 3* hotels and chambres d’hotes
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers
  • People transfers as per the itinerary
  • Detailed information pack, route notes and maps
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Carcassonne
  • Travel from Foix
  • Lunches & Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Personal equipment
Extras
  • Private transfers to and from Carcassone and Foix
  • Additional nights before, during and after the walk

When To Go

We would encourage you to travel anytime during the available dates which is April to October. In the spring there will be plenty of wildflowers, summer is warmer but should never be really hot, especially when you are in the mountains and the autumn is a fantastic time to go when the fruits are ripening and the days are still warm.

Getting to the Start

There are a number of different options available to get to Carcassonne. It is on a main train line and accessible from either Toulouse or Beziers Airports, which are the closest and most convenient. Toulouse Airport is served by many different airlines, including Easyjet, Air France and KLM. You can take an airport shuttle bus into the centre of Toulouse (every 30 mins and takes approx 25 mins) and then board a train from Toulouse Centre to Carcassonne (takes approx 1 hour and also leaves hourly). From Beziers Airport you can take an airport bus into the centre of Beziers (only 4 times a day and takes approx 30 mins) and then a direct train to Carcassonne from here (every 4 hours taking about 45 mins).

Please check the SNCF website for train details.

Macs Adventure can also arrange private transfers to and from Toulouse or Beziers Airports to Carcassonne. Please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist for details.

Getting from the End

An included transfer is provided from your accommodation in Montségur to Foix Train Station. From Foix there are direct trains to Toulouse. This train departs hourly and takes approx 1H15. You can check the SNCF website for more details on times, prices and schedules.

Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Carcassonne Day 2 Carcassonne City and Landscapes Walk 5.5 miles / 9 km Day 3 Transfer to Vals. Walk to Mirepoix 9 miles / 14 km Day 4 Walk Lac de Montbel to Mirepoix 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 5 Transfer to La Bastide sur l’Hers. Walk to Montségur. Transfer to Mirepoix. 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 6 Free day to explore Montségur Day 7 Onward Travel

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