Exploring South

First we take the road to Quillan. There is not much to be seen in Quillan, but there are wonderful shops and good restaurants. Then we can go east through he Gorges de Pierre Lys to Axat. From there we have several choices. A little further east to the Chateau Puilaurens. One of the best preserved Cathar castles. Nearby is the beautiful ND de Laval. Then, at St Paul de Fenouillet, we turn south. A side step to the aqueduct d’Ansignan and then to Sournia with its strange rock formations. Over the mountain to Prades, a big city. With south of Prades the Abbey of St Michel de Cuxa and further south, at he foot of the magic mountain de Canigou the abbey of St. Martin du Canigou.

If we go south at Axat, following the river Aude upstream, we come to the most beautiful cave in Europe, the Grotte de l’Aguzou. A little further we find the castles of Usson and Querigut. If we continue south we come to the famous ski resorts of Mont Louis and Font Romeu in the Pyrenees. We can also turn west at Chateau Usson and take the road to the Col de Pailheres. A famous track in the Tour de France. Full of hairpin bends, very steep, up to 2005 meters high (hors categorie). Then down to Ax-les-Thermes. If you want you can turn south to Andorra, a twenty-minute drive. Just across the border you will find a huge supermarket.

We can go back from Ax-les-Thermes to Quillan across the mountains. The highest point here is the Col de Chioula (1431 m). Then down to the plateau de Sault. Where we can visit he Cathar castle of Montaillou and have an excellent lunch in the famous Relais du Pays de Sault. Instead of turning east to Quillan, we can go a few miles west to Nebias. That has a famous natural Labyrinth. And then take the inner road to Brenac, the city of flowers, with one of the most beautiful churches in the area.

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