The Cathar Way and Carcassonne – 7 days
Enjoy a seven day cultural journey and freedom trail, following in the footsteps of the Cathar people. You will begin in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Carcassone, before setting off on the Cathar Way escape route into the Pyrenees. Immerse yourself in the culture and cuisine of the area, all in the company of your knowledgeable guide.
This trip is available in June 2019 & 2020. Please enquire, we need to have your interest at least 2 months in advance of your preferred dates.
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- Vacation Style Holiday Type
- Activity Level Demanding
- Group Size Medium Group
Cathar trail & Carcassonne – Le Chemin de Bonhommes, part 1
Duration: 7 days – 4 days trekking Guided in June or Self guided between May and September according to availability
Accommodation: 6 nights accommodation – Hotels, Gîte d’Etape and Mountain Refuge.
About the Cathar Way:
‘Bonshommes’ or ‘good Christians’ was how the believers of the Cathar movement referred to themselves. But the Catholic Church thought otherwise and launched a crusade against them in 1209, followed by an Inquisition to complete the job of rooting out these ‘evil spirits’. From around 1230 to 1310 or so, countless bonshommes sought refuge in the mountains of Ariège and across the border in Spain rather than risk prison or being burned at the stake. This superb escape route follows in their footsteps as they fled persecution. Along the way you will experience a smorgasboard of culture and wine tasting, while enjoying fabulous mountain scenery.
Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation. A visit is a fascinating experience.
Dates & Availability:
June 2019 (Guided) £695 / Self – Guided £575
June 2020 (Guided)
Time of Year
Ideal time: June to October. In the spring there will be plenty of wildflowers, summer is warmer but should never be really hot, especially when you are in the mountains and the autumn is a fantastic time to go when the fruits are ripening and the days are still warm.
Grade & Terrain
This tour has a moderate grading. This tour is suitable for walkers with very good physical fitness. There are significant elevation gains and losses on the final walk in Montségur and if it has been raining, there might be some muddy trails.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps – for self-guided participants
Some of the walks will be way-marked with either a red and white GR sign, when on a GR Trail and some also signed with yellow signposts. However you will also need to be vigilant and be able to closely follow your route notes. We can provide you with detailed maps and GPS tracks for those who like to take a GPS.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
It is a requirement of booking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital.
Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take.We provide a full kit list on booking.
- Accommodation and food as specified in the programme
- Transport to and from Toulouse Blagnac on a single timed transfer per group
- Local transport as per the itinerary
- Guiding by a qualified International Mountain Leader
- Maximum ratio of 10 clients to one guide
- Mountain snacks
- Any additional transport or accommodation needed if you have to leave the group for a medical or fitness reason
- Day1 Visit the stunning fortified town of Carcassonne
Transfer from Carcassonne airport to the stunningly beautiful Carcassonne fortified city. Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation. We stay the night here in the Hotel du Pont Vieux **
- Day 2 Foix – Roquefixade 5hrs 30 18km, 5h30, +660m, -770m
We transfer to Foix and the trail begins in the Gorge de la Frau heading towards Roquefixade and the beautiful ruin of Roquefixade castle. Accommodation: Gite d’etap de Roquefixade. Dormitory accomodation or shared accommodaton.
- Day 3 Roquefixade (720m)- Montsegeur via Montferrier (920m) 17km, 4h30, +400m, -760m
From Walk towards the mythical village of Montségur. Montségur was considered the sacred heart of the Cathar region and their last stronghold, though some small remnants of the sect hid out for some time after the traumatic events at Montésegur at castles further east. The trail weaves its way to the village of Montferrier through the forest of Modini to Roquefixade, an ancient bastide of the 13th century. Accommodation: Hôtel Costes ** Montsegeur twin, double or triple rooms.
- Day 4 Montségur village – Refuge de Chioula
Montségur – Comus (1160m) (3hrs 50) Comus – Refuge de Chioula (1610m) (3hrs 50) Refuge de Chioula lies in a gorgeous location and is very much a typical mountain refuge nestled in a area used for cross-country skiing in the winter months
- Day 5 Refuge de Chioula – La Forge (1090m) – Orlu – Orgeix - Ax les Thermes
3hrs walking to Orgeix followed by either a short descent to Ax les Thermes – a relaxing spa or walk around Ax. An alternative is to continue from Orgeix over the Col de Joux (1710m) to Merens de Vals which adds 5hrs walking time onto the day. Hotel Auzeraie **, Ax les Thermes
- Day 6 Rest day in the Spa town of Ax les Thermes
Rest day, spa trip or gourmet experience available. We love this town so much, it’s well worth spending an extra day there with summer ski lift, orlu nature reserve and wolf park and the Bains de Couloubret, a perfect way to end the trip. Hotel Auzeraie ** Ax les Thermes
- Day 7 Depart for Carcassonne airport
Morning departures to Carcassonne.
You can use public transport or a taxi to reach your evening destination.
Yes your luggage will be transferred and you will be just carrying your day pack with water, food, waterproofs, personal first aid kit, map and compass and GPS.