Exploring East

In the east there is so much to be seen that we better take two days. We first go to Bugarach, then to the Col de Linas from where most people climb the Pech Bugarach and then on to Cubieres. It has a lovely little church. Here we turn south to the famous Gorges the Galamus. A spectacular road hacked out of the rocks in the nineteenth century. Halfway is the Hermitage de St Antoine with a church in a huge cave. Really spectacular. On to St Paul de Fenouillet in a broad valley stretching all the way to the Mediterranean. An area famous for its wines. Especially the Cotes de Roussillon, the Rivesaltes, the Banyuls and the Fitou wines.

We take the road to Maury and turn left for the Chateau Queribus. The last Cathar castle to fall in 1256. A steep road leads to a parking place close to the castle. Then down to Cucugnan with the pregnant Mary in the church and the characteristic Omers mill. Now we have a choice. Going a few miles back to the west and visiting the largest cathar castle Peyrepertuse. Then going north to Auriac, the castles of Thermes and Villerouge Thermenes and the abbey of Lagrasse. And still further to the northwest the abbey of Fontfroide and the beautiful city of Narbonne.

Or we can turn east at Cucugnan and visit the castle of Padern, then on to Tuchan which has some good restaurants and next to the chateau Aguilar. From Tuchan we have several choices, all located to the southeast of Tuchan. There is the Castle of Opoul, the village of Perillos and the magical cave of Perillos. A little to the south is the impregnable fortress of Salses. Then Tautavel, famous for its museum showing how 500.000 years ago humans lived in a nearby cave. And on the coast you can visit the village of Ste Marie la Mer, east of Perpignan and further south the well-known city of Collioure. With its beaches, it’s many shops and restaurants and its beautiful church.

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