For those thirsting for Medieval Europe, the Albigeois region of southern France boasts preserved bastides, castles, and whole villages from the 11th and 13th centuries. Hike along well marked routes to see them at your own pace on this historical tour.
Experience the sites rich with the history of Cathar persecution and how they managed to revive their own culture and existence - all during the medieval period. Apart from the medieval highlights, participants will also visit a thousand-year-old vineyard from Roman times that does not appear in many tourist brochures.
Day 1: Arrival in Gaillac
Participants arrive in Gaillac, a charming medieval town located by the loop of the Tarn river. Overnight stay in an eco-friendly guesthouse and dinner at a downtown restaurant.
Day 2: Gaillac - Cahuzac-sur-Vere
Gaillac is located in the heart of southwest France, home to a vineyard founded by Romans. Participants may take their time in the morning to stroll through the old quarters or visit the abbey! Then it's off towards Cahuzac-sur-Vere, a small village on the way of the pilgrims of Compostella. You will cross a hilly landscape with vineyards. Overnight stay and dinner at the B&B.
Distance covered:17km - cumulative altitude difference: +130m
Day 3: A biodynamic wine estate and Castelnau-de-Montmiral
After breakfast, an easy hike towards Castelnau de Montmiral, an old castrum from the 13th century. At the halfway point of the route, you will enjoy a wine tasting in a castle surrounded by biodynamic vineyards. Arrival in Castelnau, classified "most beautiful village in France" with its narrow streets, gates and beautiful medieval houses. Overnight in a small family hotel and dinner at a restaurant in the village.
Distance covered:12km - cumulative altitude difference: -10m
Day 4: Castelnau-de-Montmiral - Puycelsi
Participants hike along the Vère to Puycelsi, also selected for the "most beautiful village in France" label. This former 11-th century castrum overlooks the Grésigne forest and the Vère valley. A great sight to behold. Take time to explore the small alleys witihin the city walls and, above all, enjoy the view of Grésigne's landscape (vantage point from the castle). Overnight stay at a guesthouse and dinner at a village restaurant.
Distance covered: 21km - cumulative altitude difference: +50m
Day 5: Puycelsi - villages of Penne and Bruniquel
Participants hike to Bruniquel, the next "most beautiful village in France" on the tour. The medieval village, located at the foot of its two castles, experienced the "Albigensian Crusade" in the 13th century. After a break in Bruniquel, they continue on a ridge path with panoramic views of the Gorges de l'Aveyron. Overnight stay and dinner at a guesthouse south of the village of Penne.
Distance covered:18km - cumulative altitude difference: +150m
Day 6: Penne - Roussayrolles via Vaour
Penne, a medieval village nestled around its castle. After breakfast, participants hike up to the rocky promontory on which it sits, where they can take in the breathtaking view of the Aveyron Valley. From the Vaour, the view extends over the Grésigne massif. Nearby are the dolmens of Peyro Lebado, the largest in the Tarn area. Overnight stay and dinner at an old restored farmhouse turned guesthouse surrounded by century-old trees.
Distance covered: 20km - cumulative altitude difference: +160m
Day 7: Roussay rolls - Cordes sur Ciel
Our last and most sporty section of the tour rewards participants with a wonderful panoramic view of the high village of Cordes sur Ciel. The ascent follows a steep, paved path. Fortress gates, city walls, carved Gothic facades and artists' studios make up the medieval site. This 13th-century bastide was a bastion of Catharism. Overnight stay in a hotel and dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Distance covered: 22km - cumulative difference in altitude: -120m
Day 8: Departure
The breakfast marks the end of the tour. Participants can be transfered to Cordes-Vindrac SNCF station for direct connections to Gaillac or Villefranche de Rouergue.
1) Albi: only 25km from Cordes, Albi is worth a day trip! "Albi la Rouge", often compared to Tuscan cities, has a remarkable heritage, namely its Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Package transfer including luggage to Albi: €65. Extra night with breakfast on request.
2) "Medieval sites in Aveyron". After a break, continue your hike further north to Villefranche de Rouergue, a magnificent bastide with a laid-back lifestyle. Discover the historic Najac fortress! Extra night in Villefranche de Rouergue with breakfast on request.
Indicated pricing per person in double occupancy
7 nights with half board, organic wine tasting, transfers according mentioned in the itinerary, luggage transport, detailed route description and our mobile GPS-app (the app serves as a travel companion), visitor's tax.
Minimum number of participants: 2 persons
Travel generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility.
Last possibility of cancellation by the tour operator: 21 days before departure.
Participants will be accommodated in 3-star hotels (national category) and comfortable guest rooms subject to availability. Each room has a bathroom and separate toilets.Additional accommodation can be booked in Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel before and after the hiking tour. Please send us a request if you wish to take advantage of this option.
Not suitable for beginners! Good physical condition required. You should be able to read the GPS data on your smartphone (app to be downloaded). Average length of hikes: 5 to 7 hours per day with 150 meters of accumulated altitude difference. The stages take place along well marked hiking trails in the valley predominantly in the mountains. All you need to do is carry your personal belongings for the day and your lunchtime picnic. Your luggage will be transported by car.
We recommend an eco-friendly train to the SNCF station in Gaillac, well connected to Paris, Toulouse, Montpellier with the TGV.
You will find detailed information in our non-binding, detailed offer!
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