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Ref CY1D

Mountain bike FranceTO THE HEART OF CATHAR COUNTRY V2 An MTB mini-break in the Eastern Pyrenees

En route to Cathar country, famous for its numerous castles: Aguilar, Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, Puivert… Riding in the country of the “Citadelles du vertige" (literally “Vertiginous citadels”), takes you from the lavender and thyme of the Corbières to the dense forests of the Ariège mountains, with the majestic chain of the Pyrenees as a backdrop.

Guided version: from 395€ - DetailsSelf-guided version: from 265€ - Details Duration : 3 or 4 days | Level : Customer satisfaction : - 0 reviews
+33 458 140 435 A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.
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This tour is E-MTB compatible

Highlights

  • A beautiful and contrasting country, that will win you over with its warm welcome and delicious cuisine.
  • More than just a cycling tour, this trip offers you a historical and cultural journey to the time of the Cathars and their castles.

Description

Comments

  • This trip exists in 3 versions : V1 = 1 wheel / V2 = 2 wheels / V3 = 3 wheels.
  • Special offers for private groups. Please ask us for a quotation.

GPS tracks

If you choose to book a self-guided tour, we provide the GPS tracks of the route. GPX type files will be sent to you by email.

These tracks were created with GPS mapping software. In some parts, it may be that there are slight differences between the GPS track and field reality. These tracks are a "plus" that allows you to follow our route, but it does not replace the "paper" maps and common sense when out in the field...

We ask you not to publish these GPS tracks on the internet. Their development has required many hours of work, both in the field, and in the office. Thank you in advance for your understanding...

Day 1: Ax-les-Thermes - Montségur

Itinerary start: Rendezvous on the first day is at 9am in front of Ax-les-Thermes SNCF railway station (09).

Rendezvous on the first day is in the charming thermal spa town of Ax-les-Thermes, at 720 metres above sea level. The start of the riding sees us climb up to the Col de Balagues from where we can admire the Pyrenees, before passing the villages of Prades and Montaillou. We then tackle a superb descent, smooth at first before becoming more technical, through the Gorges de la Frau (Gorges of Fear). Luckily for us attempts to create a road through the gorges were unsuccessful, and today a path is the only access through the impressive natural feature. We arrive at Montségur, and its famous castle, via the Col du Liam or the Fougax Valley. Optional climb (on foot) to the “Pog” (castle), walled citadel and refuge of the Cathar Church… Night in a gite in Montségur.

Distance covered: 40 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1500 m.

Day 2: Montségur - Comus

Once we've finished our breakfast we begin the day with a 500 metre descent, all on singletrack! This trail alone was worth getting up for this morning! We then make our way to the pretty royal forest of the Plateau de Sault. If we're lucky we may see some lily flower rosettes engraved and painted on the rocks, indicating the forest boundaries in the time of Louis XIV. We climb progressively through the forest, before reaching a view-point at 1200 metres, offering impressive views of the Pyrenees. We then make our way to the small village of Comus, where we settle in to our lodgings for the night.

Distance covered: approx. 35 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1300 m.

Day 3: Comus – Ax-les-Thermes

We start the day with a ride through a superb dense forest, leading us to the beautiful village of Montaillou. The village, a stronghold during the period of the Cathars, was the subject of a remarkable book covering the period and the lives of the heretic "résistants" following the massacre at the fortress of Montségur. At the top of the village the ruins of a castle overlook the small village bell-tower. We pass through the cross country ski resort of Chioula before launching into an unforgettable descent to Ax-les-Thermes!

Distance covered: approx. 40 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1200 m.

Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.

Itinerary end: Separation on the last day is at Ax-les-Thermes SNCF railway station at around 3pm.

Day 1: Quillan - Comus

Itinerary start: Rendezvous on the first day is at 9am in front of Quillan SNCF railway station (11).

To begin our tour we leave Quillan and climb up to the Plateau de Nébias, where we discover the superb fortified Château de Puivert. One of the finest examples of Cathar castles, sitting proudly atop a hill at over 600 m above sea level, the château is classified as a historical monument. The oldest mentions of its existence date back to the 12th century. We continue our route in the direction of the Plateau de Sault and its majestic forests, before continuing on to the Langarail Ridge and the immense fir plantations of Comus (a reminder that the mountains are close by...). Night at 1200 metres in Comus, a small mountain village in the Pays d'Aillou, with superb views of the sunset over the Pyrenees.

Distance covered: 35 km / Altitude gain: 1400 m.

Day 2: Comus - Puivert

We make the most of the fresh morning air to climb the Col de Balagues to admire the Pyrenees once again, before tackling a superb descent, smooth at first before becoming more technical, through the Gorges de la Frau (Gorges of Fear). Luckily for us attempts to create a road through the gorges were unsuccessful, and today a path is the only access through the impressive natural feature. Optional climb (on foot) to the “Pog” (castle), walled citadel and refuge of the Cathar Church… We then pass through the hamlet of Moureux before descending the valley of Fougax. Night in a gite at the foot of the majestic Château de Puivert.

Distance covered: 50 km / Altitude gain: 1200 m.

Day 3: Puivert - Labau

Another great day's mountain biking in Cathar Country! This morning sees us heading south, crossing the Plateau de Sault. The landscape then becomes more mountainous as the ridgelines begin to rise higher and higher either side of us. We make our way into the Gorges du Rébenty on a superb trail. The Rébenty is a small but fast-flowing river that begins high in the Pyrenees (at 1600m) and joins the Aude River some 34 kilometres later after having dug out some deep and impressive gorges, backdrop for today's riding. We head to Labau, a tiny hamlet hidden in the hills, where we settle into our gite for the night.

Distance covered: 40 km / Altitude gain: 1100 m.

Day 4: Labau - Quillan

We join the trail through the Gorges de Rébenty once again. We then leave the gorges by the Haute Vallée de l'Aude, and the Défilé de Pierre Lys, a 2 kilometre long, 20 metre wide canyon with 300 metre overhanging cliffs. An impressive sight! Easy riding takes us through the Forêt des Fanges, known for its giant fir trees. The old royal Fanges Forest is a caver’s paradise, with over 100 cavities and sinkholes. The forest was best known during the 17th century, when tall fir trees were cultivated, notably for the production of masts for the French royal fleet of ships. We then attack a superb singletrack descent which leads us to the town which marks the end of our tour: Quillan.

Distance covered: 40 km / Altitude gain: 1300 m.

Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.

Itinerary end: Separation on the last day is at Quillan SNCF railway station at around 3pm.

This tour has not yet received any reviews.

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"My France Bike Trips" allows you to:
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You can prefix chosen words with the '+' sign to make them mandatory, or with the '-' sign to avoid results containing this word from appearing, e.g. west +nepal -canada

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A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.


Phone number: +33 458 140 435
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Contact us

A dedicated team of travel specialists is available to offer you expert advice Monday to Friday from 9 to 12:30 AM and 13:30 to 6 PM (French time) on the phone, or by email.

Send the message