Built more than 1000 years ago, these castles stand atop rocky promontories as real fortified mountains! In those days, the papacy had condemned the Cathars as heretics, subjecting them to violent repression. In defence, the Cathars built castles, abbeys, and fortresses to withstand the enemy assault. From Foix to Mirepoix, today these medieval cities in Cathar country reveal their treasures against a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes between Corbières and the Pyrenees.
DINNER IS SERVED!
Exuding an aroma of prunes, Armagnac is made by distilling white wine. In Autumn, the “Flamme de l’Armagnac” travels the roads of Gascony, distilling the precious spirit... It’s a chance to get loose by the still in Eauze, or in the wine cellars of many local wineries.
With its 3km of battlements and 52 towers, it’s well worth visiting one of Europe’s finest medieval cities! The famous fortress lies around half an hour south of Limoux, a stage in the Tour de France, and every July it comes alive for the Carcassonne festival with its packed programme of theatre, opera, dance, and concerts.
Bordering Spain and Andorra, south of Toulouse, Ariège is packed with areas of natural beauty for fans of wild water activities. Marc Canyon, the Artigue river, and the Ars waterfall all provide the perfect setting for all kinds of canyoning (diving, abseiling, zip wires, and slides), and are accessible to all.
It’s still a long way to Paris from Ariège for the Tour’s racers! In addition to memorable wins for Warren Barguil, Kurt-Asle Arvessen and Luis Leon Sanchez, Ariège has earned its own record in the history of the Tour: Lézat-sur-Lèze is the smallest town to have hosted the start of a race.
La Bambouseraie d'Anduze offers visitors an extraordinary journey into an exotic setting you won’t find anywhere else in Europe. While the bamboo remains the uncontested star of this 12 hectare garden, visitors can also admire the sequoia and ginkgo biloba... not to mention the challenge of escaping the leafy maze!