France - Carcassonne
Closeup ruins of medieval stone walls in France
Stone Castle Ruin Overlooking the Southern France Valley
Chateau de Peyrepertuse Aude
Carcassonne Pont Vieux france night reflection blue hour cite bridge
From Perpignan to Quéribus
The schedule for this four-day tour between Perpignan and Queribus is a family weekend to discover the history of the Cathar castles.
Visiting three castles, breathtaking panoramas, heading down into in gorges, exploring the beautiful fortifications of Carcassonne and its gastronomic heritage: the Cassoulet! A four-day programme with something for the whole family.
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A border town, of shared cultures, bathed by the sea, Perpignan is the first step of your tour. Enjoy the cool mornings to stroll along Promenade des Platanes and head towards Casa Xanxo, one of the few Gothic houses in Perpignan. Follow this with Cathédrale Saint-Jean and the Museum of Fine Arts.
After lunch in the pedestrian zone, go to the Palace of the Kings of Majorca via Rue Petite-la-Monnaie. Pass by the Tour de l’Hommage to discover, from its terrace, a beautiful 360° panorama which stretches from Mont Canigou to the coast and encompasses the Fenouillèdes and the Corbières.
30km north-west of Perpignan is the must-see Tautavel, a small village of the renowned Corbières. At the Tautavel Museum – a European Centre for prehistory, 21 rooms and over 2,000m2 of exhibition galleries awaits.
Next stop is Puilaurens where you will spend the night.
MyTripTailor Advice: Parking in the centre of Perpignan is not easy. Try your luck at the (paid) car parks under the Promenade des Platanes: Accessible via Wilson Boulevard and the F.-Palmarole. If you’re parking for under 2hrs, you’ll find spaces in the small streets close to the canal, (before the city centre).
As soon as you’re up, go and storm the château.
You’ll see the crenellated enclosure, and the four towers that defend the dungeon approaches, from a distance. The path leading to the castle, steep at times, has been landscaped as a botanical trail: Hawthorns, junipers, viburnum lantana and the particularly fragrant boxwood, accompany walkers to the top of the hill, under the foliage of Holm oaks, fir trees and maples.
At the bend of a small wild circus, the crenellated enclosure of the castle suddenly appears. Allow two hours for the guided tour.
Time permitting, you should then head to Grau de Maury. This small pass, a passage between Languedoc and the Catalan regions, offers wonderful views. The range extends far beyond the serrated ridge that dominates the depths of the Fenouillèdes.
Next, set the course for Limoux, your next stop.
MyTripTailor Advice: Along the way there are several points of interest: The views from the Langarail pasture, Belvedere of the Pas de l’Ours or a hike through the Gorges de la Frau
You wake on this third day in Limoux. Begin your day with a stroll through the old town, still partially enclosed by its 14th century walls: its streets converge on Place de la République, lined with buildings and dominated by the elegant Gothic spire of St. Martin’s church. You can also visit the Piano Museum, the Petiet Museum or the printing house.
You then leave Limoux to drive to Carcassonne to visit La Bouichère, a garden of scented plants where 2,500 varieties of perennials (a beautiful collection of fragrance plants including thyme, sage, lemon balm, oregano and pelargonium) are labeled according to use or history.
12km north-east of Limoux, you can go and admire the Abbaye de Saint-Hilaire before reaching Carcassonne, your penultimate stage.
MyTripTailor Advice: In Limoux, carnival is a tradition! Every Sunday, between January and April, masked processions (les fécos) dance beneath the arcades of Place de la République.
Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1997, Carcassonne will linger in the memory of all who have walked the narrow streets of this medieval city.
The city is the largest fortress in Europe. It’s fortified nucleus, the Château Comtal, is surrounded by a double enclosure that also encompasses the Basilica of St Nazaire. Allow a whole morning to visit before going to explore the lower city.
Don’t leave it too late to leave Carcassonne, Château de Quéribus, which brings your tour to a close, awaits!
The last refuge of the Cathars, a genuine eagle’s nest overlooking Corbières and Fenouillèdes, it faces its big brother Peyrepertuse, both sons of Carcassonne. A raw beauty, stationed on the borders of Aude, who dared to defy the king; Grandiose ruins, which now stand alone, waiting for its procession of amazed visitors. Allow an hour for the visit and don’t miss the Gothic room of the Keep or the views from the chicanes.
MyTripTailor Advice: Valid all year round, the Carcassonne Citypass includes a guided tour and gives discounts on Canal du Midi cruises, the Cité Festival and other sport and nature events
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