Cathare Castles, Canal du Midi and much more…
…Jump directly to Sports
Situated in the heart of the Limoux wine region and surrounded by mountainous terrain, Roquetaillade is a charming unspoiled medieval hill-top village with narrow streets and almost all houses made of local stone. From the church, which is one of the highest points of the village, you can enjoy far reaching views over the vineyards with the Domain du Moulin nesting near the bottom of the valley.
Famed for the longest carnival in Europe and its excellent sparkling wine “Blanquette de Limoux” which is produced using the Champagne process. Cooking fans should earmark Fridays, the market day, with many delicious local products on sale. Limoux also has a good range of shops and restaurants.
Famous for its beautiful medieval fortress ‘La Cité’, which is a World Heritage site. This fantastic castle inspired Walt Disney and was used in many films including Kevin Costner’s “Robin Hood”. Inside La Cité there are many medieval buildings but sadly most of them are now shops or restaurants. The least spoiled are the perimeter walls and indeed worth a tour with its views over Carcassonne and the countryside.
The Canal du Midi
Another World Heritage site, one of the modern wonders of the world in its day. You can enjoy boating, cycling or walking along it.
With its cathedral and many more historic sites Toulouse has a very pretty city centre with beautiful parks, flea markets and designer shops. So nice that you could get carried away and not have enough money left to try one of the many inviting restaurants. On the outskirts of Toulouse is the famous Space Museum – entertainment and education for budding astronauts of all ages.
The ancient maritime centre with its Archbishop’s Palace is a jewel to be discovered buried amongst the holiday resorts of this coastal area.
Its wooden arcades on the main square dating back to the 13th century invite you to sit down and enjoy the medieval atmosphere.
Some of the villages not to be missed
Minerve – a small village on a peninsula in a deep cut river with 2 gigantic washed out tunnels in the river bed.
Alet-les-Bains, a medieval walled village and Rennes-le-Chateau, famous for its mysterious vicar and the still not found Templer treasure.
Bages and Gruissan – the most romantic villages close to Narbonne.
Collioure – a beautifully preserved former fishing village with three bays, a castle, wind mill and narrow roads with colourful old houses.
Montagne la Clape – just beautiful rugged landscape, rocks and vineyards.
The Cathar castles
Most of them occupying spectacular sites perched high on top of rocky mountains with breathtaking views, give testimony of the force of this medieval religious sect, which has its followers to this day. Peyrepertuse is the biggest and Lastours the most stunning of the castles.
Marking the border between France and Spain, these spectacular mountains can be enjoyed at any season. Our nearest ski resort is just one hour away. There are many natural parks, activities abound and the places to visit here are too numerous to mention.
With its endless beaches is just over an hour away. Some of the beaches appear to have indeed no end. Our favourite is La Franqui with pine trees reaching almost to the sea, its lagoon and little beach houses.
Gorges and caves
There are many to explore in the Languedoc. One of the most impressive of the gorges is the ‘Gorges de Galamus’ with the rugged road carved out of the rock. Near one end of this narrow gorge there is a small hermitage precariously clinging onto the steep cliff.
This area of Aude is rich in prehistoric fossils. In Espéraza is an excellent Dinosaur Museum (next to the Hat Museum) where you can see many fossils and reconstructions of local finds. There are often school trips organised to look for fossils in the disused quarry next to Domaine du Moulin.
Grotte de Niaux is said to have the best prehistoric paintings after the Grotte de Lascaux and the Prehistoric Parc nearby illustrates the practicalities of prehistoric life to small and grown up children in a beautifully landscaped parc.
Languedoc-Roussillon is the single biggest wine-producing region in the world, being responsible for more than a third of France’s total wine production. Adopting New World techniques, there are some splendid wines to be found in this area. If wine is your thing, then a little homework before your visit will pay dividends, as there is so much to choose from and never enough time.
Some French markets with local products and an atmosphere thick with tradition…
Sunday – Esperaza
Monday – Mirepoix
Tuesday – Limoux, night market in July and August
Wednesday – Quillan
Thursday – Carcassonne
Friday – Limoux
Saturday – Quillan, Gruissan, Carcassonne
The market hall in Narbonne is open daily until 1pm
…Jump back to Culture
For the more energetic amongst you there are many exciting activities and sports available in the area. Below is a list of some of them…
Situated close to the medieval town, the Carcassonne Golf Club (30km) well deserves its reputation as a course of international standard. Even the most experienced and demanding players will be seduced by the exceptional quality of it’s fairways and the speed of it’s greens. The course has been created using and respecting the manual rolling relief of the terrain, designed with elegance and balance, the magnificent panoramic views giving an extra pleasure and delight. Its 18 holes totalling 5800 meters, with a par of 71, are open all year round. Golf-de-Carcassonne.com
Canoeing, White Water Rafting & Canyoning
White water rafting can be undertaken between Axat and Quillan about 45 minutes away.
A stunning experience is canyoning in the Gorges de Galamus where one can swim in the stream, jump into natural pools and slide down small waterfalls. It is easy enough also for young children.
Walking in the Hills & Mountains
There are many easy walks locally or you can drive into the high Pyrenees within an hour where you can find walks and climbs to suit all ages and abilities.
There is a club in Carcassonne, open every day for everyone from 7 years old.www.winkart.fr/WinKart/Accueil.html
In the Gouffre de Cabrespine, one of the world’s biggest caves open to the public, one can take part in a 5 hour underground safari./www.grottes.com/infos.html
There are several beautiful lakes in the area where you can enjoy all sorts of watersports for example in Arques, lac Montbel, lac du Bugarach and lac de Cavayère in Carcassonne.