Medieval Occitania - on the trail of the Cathars
Medieval Occitania - on the trail of the Cathars
Medieval Occitania - on the trail of the Cathars
Medieval Occitania - on the trail of the Cathars

Medieval Occitania - on the trail of the Cathars

Self-guided hike along medieval villages and bastides

  • Cultural hike in Albigeois
  • Breathtaking sites: Puycelsi, Cordes sur Ciel
  • Pick your starting point and hike at your own pace
  • Organic wine tastings of local wine
  • Guestrooms with half board

For those thirsting for Medieval Europe, the Albigeois region of southern France boasts preserved bastides, castles, and villages from the 11th and 13th centuries. Hike at your own pace along well marked routes on this historical tour.

Visit unique historical sites, home to the Cathars, persecuted during the 13th century, but who still managed to preserve their culture and heritage. 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...

Price from 999,- €

Medieval Occitania -on the trail of the Cathars

Self-guided tour, 8 days
Trip number 111

Difficulty level

Period

Enquire now

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Gaillac

Participants arrive in Gaillac, a charming medieval town located near 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 can take their time in the morning and stroll through the old neighbourhoods or visit the abbey. The walk goes on to Cahuzac-sur-Vere, a small village on the Way of St James. 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: Cahuzac-sur-Vere Castelnau-de-Montmiral

After breakfast, easy hike towards Castelnau de Montmiral, an old castrum from the 13th century. Halfway, you will enjoy a wine tasting in a castle surrounded by biodynamic vineyards. Arrival in Castelnau, classified as one of the "most beautiful village in France" with its narrow streets, gates and beautiful medieval houses. Overnight stay 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 your time to explore the small alleys witihin the city walls and, above all, enjoy the view of Grésigne's landscape. 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 will 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, participants will 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 is a medieval village nestled around its castle. After breakfast, participants will hike up to the rocky promontory on which it sits, and 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 in an old restored farmhouse transformed into a 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 will reward 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

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.

Optional extensions:

1) Albi: only 25km from Cordes, Albi is definitively worth a day trip! "Albi la Rouge", often compared to Tuscan cities, boasts 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.

Travel dates

  • Apr 19th, 22 – Oct 30th, 22
  • From 999,- €
  • open for reservation
  • Enquire now

Indicated pricing per person in double occupancy depending on the booking season.

Services

Price includes:

7 nights with half board, organic wine tasting, transfers as mentioned in the itinerary, luggage transport, detailed route description and our mobile GPS-app (the app serves as a travel companion), visitor's tax.

Guaranteed departure

Minimum number of participants: 2 persons
Not suitable for persons with reduced mobility.
Last possibility of cancellation by the tour operator: 21 days before departure.

Accommodation

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 this option interests you.

Level of difficulty: Medium

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.

Our suggestion: take a break in one of the listed bastide villages on this itinerary, which are well worth a visit.

Getting there

We recommend an eco-friendly travel by 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!

General information and tips for travelling to France can be found here.

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