Day 1: From Quillan to Puivert
Start at your hotel in Quillan. (If you want a transfer to shorten
this first walk you can get one from Quillan to Nébias. Suppl. €5,-Please
let us know in advance). Nebias is a small Pyrenean village, the
walking trail known as the Sentier Cathare leads all the way to
Puivert castle. In its time this castle was far more festive than
military a castle of troubadours. The surrounding terrain is scrubby,
there is a pleasant vegetation of box tree, and juniper which gives
a subtle fragrance to the air, to be enjoyed in the shade of the
oaks. From undulating valleys and hillsides the castle comes suddenly
into view, the imposing site gets ever nearer. A ridge walk will
lead you towards the castle doors, it’s possible explore the
towers, dungeons and the famous hall of the musicians. This feudal
castle was a hive of activity in the XII century, a meeting and
performance place for the most famous troubadours of the era. The
village of Puivert itself also represents an interest and vestige
to the past, the museum of Quercorb is a superb exhibition that
really evokes the life of the area at the end of the last century.
There is a model of Puivert castle showing how it would have been
in the XIV century. (Please note it is also possible for clients
to be transferred directly to Puivert from Quillan and from their
chambre d’hote walk in the village and visit the castle.)
Night and evening meal in chambre d’hôtes
Transfer from Puivert to Camurac
walking, +115m altitude, -210m, 20,5kms
Day 2: From Puivert to Belvis
Transfer from Camurac to Puivert
trail is for the most part in the forest, the Cathare footpath traverses
the forest of Lescale and Picaussel in the direction of the Pays
de Sault. A vast, airy wide open plateau situated high up
between 950 et 1300m, the plateau is the gateway towards the high
mountain summits. Does, stags, roe deer are at home in these thick
fir tree forests, if you don’t have the chance to observe
them you will surely see their tracks and hear them nearby. The
forest is also home to foxes, squirrels and fouines, just thirty
years ago lynx, wolves and bears would also have been present.
During this day’s walking you will be surprised by the
diversity of the vegetation, different species of trees such
as oak, fir, silver birch and ash. On the outskirts of the forest
the land is covered with the box tree, heather and juniper. The
village of Belvis has a traditional architecture typical of the
style to be found in mountain villages between 900 and 1000m, slate
roofs, houses huddled closely together and concentrated around the
church interwoven with small alley ways.
Transfer from Belvis to Camurac.
Night and evening
meal in Chambres d'hôtes at Camurac.
4h15 effective walking,
+583m altitude, -25m, 15,8 kms
Day 3: From Belvis to Comus
Today we have a section of the walk that offers a wonderful transition
of scenery. The walk will lead you into the county of Ariège and
the ‘Pays d’Olmes‘ by a footpath that was once
used at the beginning of the century by the local inhabitants whether
for simple means of communication and travelling or for commercial
exchanges. It was the main route between the ‘Pays de Sault’
and the ‘Pays d’Olmes’ regions.
Night and evening meal in Chambre d'hôtes at
5h15 effective walking, +660m altitude, -772m, 20 kms.
Day 4: From Camurac/Comus to
Transfer to Belvis
The lay of the land dictated
the route and the natural route of access between the villages of
Comus and Montségur was by the gorge of the Frau. For one kilometre
the gorge is notched out of high chalk walls, the path passes between
cliffs soaring impressionably straight up, vertically, towards the
sky. The name itself Frau means fear or apprehension.
penetrating into the gorges, you will pass through the picturesque,
rural villages of Camurac and Comus. It is here in these out of
the way corners that the phenomena of the ‘inquisition’
hit particularly hard across the Pays de Sault and the lands of
Ariège in the XII and XIII centuries, the views are captivating.
The castle of Montségur balancing high on the pog,
a high mountain pinnacle is a very emblematic symbol.
Built between 1204 and 1211 by Raimon de Péreille at the request
of the local Cathare clergy, this site was to become during
the first part of the XIII century the religious capital of the
Cathare church. You will find here, a place and atmosphere out of
Night and evening meal in Chambre d'hôtes at
3h15 effective walking, +660m altitude, -772m, 13 kms.
Day X: Walk Around Montségur
The site of Montségur, the very bastion of the Cathare resistance
certainly requires an additional day for exploring. The village
itself is quite unique, the houses and buildings are in long curved
lines one after another. They flank the mountainside in a well defined
pattern and are linked by small streets and pedestrian walkways.
There is a museum and some art and craft shops. From the museum
a pathway leads to the foot of the pog, a high rocky buttress, it
takes about 30 min to walk up to the summit where you arrive at
a sumptuous belvedere. The panoramic view extends for miles around
over the Massif de Tabe, with the Pic de Soularac and further East
the mountain of the Frau. Having visited the castle a circular walk
in the direction of the ridge of Taulat will allow you to discover
high altitude mountain plains, still used to graze the local cattle.
Night and evening meal in Chambre d'hôtes Montségur.
6h30 effective walking, +774m altitude,-580m, 12kms.
Day 6: From Montségur to Roquefixade
The ‘Sentier Cathare’ or Cathare footpath progresses
through the heart of the region known as the ‘Pays d’Olmes’,
in past times a land renown for the weaving of cloth, wool, fabrics
and certainly specialised in the production of combs made from cows
Still in the county of Ariège, traversing lush, green
countryside, undulating between valleys and mountainsides the trail
will lead you towards the medieval castle of Roquefixade. Crossing
through the village of Montferrier and the hamlet of Coulzonne you
may well run in to some locals and experience a warm exchange or
interesting insight into the life here.
Night and evening meal in chambre de hote at Roquefixade.
4h30 effective walking +400m altitude, -760m, 17kms.
In 2020 the last 2 stages of the
Sentier Cathare (Montségur-Roquefixade en Roquefixade-Foix) are
Day 6: From Roquefixade to Foix
The last section of the sentier Cathare presents the double
particularity of visiting a medieval castle at the beginning and
at the end of the day. The route itself follows for most of the
time a ridge walk between the small village of Roquefixade and the
county, country town of Foix. The town of Foix was a
counts town and its castle linked to Gaston Febus is characteristic
by its three towers and high, unusual rocky base. Foix is the principal
town of Ariège and in during the Summer months it is a centre of
music and animation, a season of festivities and merriment as well
as the colourful Friday morning market.
Night and evening meal in a hotel
5h00 effective walking +350m altitude, -720m, 18.5kms.
Day 7 Last visit of Foix
This morning, the last possibility to visit the centre of the
old town and to wander through the old streets and to visit the
2h00 effective walking.
The programme is an example of the itinerary
we aim to adhere. If due to situations beyond our control the itinerary
may be modified.
The walks are on good footpaths
and trails. You need to be used to walking and taking regular exercise
to enjoy this holiday. There is between 4h30 and 6h00 effective
walking each day. The ascents and descents are constant.
There will be between 350m and 750m ascension per day.