A sporty couple would like to discover the Cathar Country by bike. Évasion à vélo developed a tailor-made one-week stay around the most beautiful Cathar castles.
Here's how it could work...
As agreed, Thibaut called us and we built our circuit together in just under 40 minutes. Through an exhaustive questionnaire, he let us express our wishes and we didn't see the time go by.
We decided to leave in October for a period of 7 days, with stages of around 50 to 60 km/day having quite significant differences in altitude: hilly terrain, mountain passes, etc.
We also asked Evasion à vélo to base our tour on the discovery of the most beautiful castles in the Cathar Country to really feel the historical atmosphere!
Thibaut recommended a loop tour starting with a first half-day of "warm-up", then more fast-paced stages, while taking our time for cultural visits.
For the accommodation, we wanted top-of-the-range guest rooms or charming hotels with a superior 3* level.
For dinner, we preferred to have the choice of location. Evasion à vélo left us free most of the time, while giving us some good recommendations. The following week, we received the description of the trip with the price by e-mail. Everything was in line with what had been agreed, so we approved the quote and paid the deposit. We were already impatient to get going!
Two weeks before departure, we received all the useful elements for our trip by e-mail and post: the highlighted map and its protective cover, a smartphone holder, a comprehensive travel journal and two saddle covers with the Evasion à vélo logo to protect our bikes in case of rain. A link received by e-mail enabled us to have the route on our smartphones to complete the map.
Day 1 28 km 320 m + (1)
In the late morning, we arrived by car at the superb guesthouse located a few minutes from Limoux. After a quick lunch, we got on our bikes to head towards the beautiful abbey of Saint-Hilaire and then the village of Saint-Polycarpe. We returned to the guesthouse to enjoy the swimming pool.
We had dinner in Limoux in a good restaurant recommended by Evasion à vélo.
(1) This is the sum of the elevations of all the climbs of the course
Day 2 60 km 850 m + (short variant: 50 km 700 m +)
Then we got down to business! We took a beautiful road that leads to the Louviéro pass. The weather was fine and we felt good, so we did a detour to see the castle of Termes and then the castle of Durfort. We then visited the Romanesque church of Saint-Martin-des-Puits and reached Lagrasse. In the evening, we strolled around the old village.
We had dinner and spent the night in a cosy guesthouse with a friendly atmosphere.
Day 3 51 km 775 m +
We headed south, crossed the Villerouge pass to reach the castle of Villerouge-Termenes. After climbing a last small pass, we went down to Padern from where we had a marvellous view of the castle. We passed Cucugnan to reach Duilhac and the extraordinary castle of Peyrepertuse. What an atmosphere!
We spent the night in Cucugnan in a very beautiful 4* guesthouse and had dinner in the village.
Day 4 55 km 1000 m + (short variant: 52 km 850 m + or long: 65 km 700 m +)
The day started in glory with the magnificent Château de Quéribus, then the small mountain pass of Grau de Maury and its superb view.
We then went down to Maury and decided to stay on the original route; with no regrets, since it is a small road full of charm that overlooks the valley. We then headed towards the Galamus Gorge to reach Bugarach and then Rennes-les-Bains, again by a superb road.
Finally, we reached Couiza where we stayed in a castle (!) and enjoyed its swimming pool after this beautiful day. We also had dinner there.
Day 5 49 km 540 m +
The day promised to be easier, we saw that the circuit had been well designed (of course "tailor-made"!). We passed through Rouvenac, then the bastide of Chalabre and its beautiful church, to ultimately reach the cycle path. We reached Lagarde and its imposing castle and then Mirepoix.
We visited the old town which is superb, as was the 4* guesthouse, again perfectly chosen by Evasion à vélo. We had dinner in town.
Day 6 57 km 950 m +
We reached Belloc then Léran and its castle, and finally Lavelanet and its church. We then started the climb, quite steep but not very long, to the Col de Montségur and its famous castle: the panoramas are breathtaking! Then all we had to do is ride down to Belesta.
The guest room was amazing: both the place and the hosts. We had dinner in town in a very good restaurant.
Day 7 40 km 430 m + 430 m
We reached Puivert, dominated by its Cathar castle. Then, by a pretty, quiet road and a last small pass, we reached Roquetaillade, Magrie and finally Limoux.
This trip enables exploration of the very lovely facets of the Cathar region and its most beautiful castlesIt’s also possible to visit Carcassonne and the Minervois region on charming, les hilly routes.
Price (excluding equipment rental) : €840 /person