Carcassonne and the Cathar castles

7 days on the roads of the Corbières country

Highlights

Carcassonne, medieval city listed as a Unesco heritage
The cycle paths of the Canal du Midi
The Cathar castles of Peyrepertuse and Quéribus
Tasting of beautiful protected wine appellations
The quiet roads and authentic landscapes of the Corbières

Between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, a trip on the road of the Cathar castles

Discover what makes up the authenticity of the Cathar Aude through a bicycle trip on the roads of the Corbières mountains.

Your journey begins on the banks of the Canal du Midi in Carcassonne. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the famous fortified city is internationally renowned. A visit to the Château Comtal is a must in order to immerse yourself in this unique medieval universe.

Your cycling holiday heads south towards the Pyrenean foothills. The wine-growing landscapes of the Blanquette de Limoux appellation surround you and accompany you to the Abbey of Saint Hilaire its uncertain origins seem to be the fruit of tales and legends.

Continue by bicycle on the quiet and hilly roads of the Corbières massif, a varied vegetation composed of vines, pine forest and scrubland with Mediterranean scents present themselves to you. This wine-growing land thanks to its schist and limestone soil and the influence of the Mediterranean climate is a prestigious enological region. In the small villages, share a moment with the winemakers recounting their expertise over a drink.

During your journey, you will find two of the most famous and impressive Cathar castles: the castles of Peyrepertuse and Quéribus. These imposing monuments perched on their rocky peaks dominate the plain and bear witness to the fierce confrontations of the last centuries. Like lighthouses above the ocean, they offer breathtaking panoramas over the Pyrenees.

Between wine-growing villages and Cathar castles, you will discover the village of Lagrasse classified among the “Most Beautiful Villages of France“. This charming medieval village set in a lush greenery on the banks of the Orbieu river invites you to visit its majestic Benedictine abbey founded under Charlemagne in 779. Its abbey, the largest in Languedoc, will reveal its most beautiful architectural treasures to you.

Lulled by the song of the cicadas, guided by the peaceful banks of the Canal du Midi, you cycle through hilly landscapes which are sunny all summer long.

 

Itinéraire Carcassonne et les châteaux cathares
Niveau FitFit
Day 1

CARCASSONNE

Welcome in Carcassonne. After settling in at your hotel, enjoy your free time to discover the medieval city.

Day 2

From CARCASSONNE to COUIZA 51km 857m Niveau Forme

You leave Carcassonne and head south towards the first slopes of the Pyrenees through the vineyards of Limoux, famous for its Blanquette (sparkling white wine). Located halfway between Carcassonne and Limoux, you discover the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire which is one of those places that is steeped in history. As soon as you set foot in the abbey you feel its thousand years of history tickling your imagination. Once past Limoux, you need to climb some hills to reach the village of Couiza to spend the night in a magnificent 16th century castle.

Day 3

From COUIZA to CUCUGNAN 48km 719m Niveau Forme

After passing through the charming small spa town of Rennes-les-Bains, marking the entrance to the Corbières, you will go up the valley through the landscapes of the Hautes Corbières and the Pic de Bugarach peaking at 1230m. On the last kilometers the famous Vertigo Citadels appear before you, the castles of Peyrepertuse. The difficulty of this stage will be largely offset by the beauty of the landscape!

  • For a few more km 58km 1153m Niveau Expert

    By taking this long version, you make a round trip to the Hermitage St Antoine de Galamus via the Gorges de Galamus.

Day 4

CUCUGNAN LOOP OF CHATEAU DE QUERIBUS 58km 959m Niveau Forme

From Cucugnan, through vineyards and scrubland, discover the castle of Queribus perched at 728 meters on a rocky peak! If the weather is good, you will be able to see the snow-covered peaks of the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean Sea and the vineyards of the Corbières. Then you continue your way to Tautavel and its famous museum of prehistory. You will then pass by the caves of La caune de l’Arago, a prehistoric site in a vast cavity overlooking the Verdouble river.

Day 5

From CUCUGNAN to LAGRASSE 52km 683m Niveau Forme

This route leads you to the discovery of other Cathar castles: the castle of Padern first then the castle of Villerouge Termenes. Well pitched in the middle of its village, the castle of the archbishops of Narbonne has high walls with notched towers. Inside, the Middle Ages regain their life, colors and flavors! There are still few kilometers left on a small road surrounded by landscapes typical of Corbières to reach the small village of Lagrasse classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France.

  • For a few more km 77km 1163m Niveau Expert

    This detour by small roads allows you to discover Villeneuves les Corbières and Cascatel les Corbières for the first part of the route. You join Villerouge Termenès and Félines Terménes to pass then at the foot of the castle of Termes and to finish your road at the edges of Orbieu.

Day 6

From LAGRASSE to CARCASSONNE 49km 445m Niveau Loisir

In a landscape of vineyards and hills typical of the Corbières, Lagrasse is also a village of know-how that the craftsmen will be pleased to make you discover. A small road will take you through the Alaric mountains and its vineyard, before reaching Carcassonne by the banks of the Canal du Midi.

Day 7

CARCASSONNE

Departure from Carcassonne after your breakfast. If you can, take advantage of the morning to take a walk again in the medieval city and buy your last souvenirs!

Essential Range

You want to enjoy your itinerary without anything fancy. Our ”essential” range offers a simple accommodation for a good night’s rest in a simple hotel, guesthouse, rest house or hostel.

Accommodation example
Façade de Chambres d'hôtes Les florentines CARCASSONNE Chambre d’hôtes Chez Montiz

Starting from 795€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Comfort Range

Our quality standard at Abicyclette. This type of accommodation includes 2 and 3 stars hotels. Depending on the itinerary, you might spend some nights in approved guesthouses. You enjoy a double bedroom with private bathroom and toilet and adapted welcome for you and your bikes.

Accommodation example
Façade de l’hôtel Hotel Montmorency Carcassone Château des Ducs de Joyeuse - Couiza

Starting from 1045€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Privilege Range

Opt for total comfort in charming 3 and 4 star hotels which offer all the services you need and a special welcome for you and your bikes.

Accommodation example
Château des Ducs de Joyeuse - Couiza

Starting from 1815€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Price includes

  • Accommodation: 6 nights in a double room
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfer
  • Phone assistance
  • Application fee
  • Day 1 : Orientation by phone
  • A personalized greeting with our team at the beginning of the trip to receive your travel documents
  • Taxes
  • The itinerary trackable on the following supports:
    • Loan of a Bicycle GPS uploaded with full itinerary of the trip
    • Cycling practical guide including restaurant recommendations for lunch & dinner with topo maps

Price does not include

  • bike rental (see option)
  • Breakfast on day 1
  • Lunches
  • Dinners not included in "Price includes"
  • Drinks, visits & other personal expenses

Homemade and fully tested itineraries
  • Routes selected for their cycling and touristic interest entirely tested and away from traffic
  • Accomodations selected for their hospitality, atmosphere, services and quality meals
  • A flexible organisation to suit you needs and wishes: You choose the date you want to you leave on! We check the availability of each accomodation to make sure it is possible.

Close assistance
  • One of our guides greets you on your first day. He will hand out all the needed documents for the trip (hotel vouchers, maps of the area,GPS, practical guide), get you settled on your bikes (for rental bikes).
  • Phone assistance, you can reach the Abicyclette team whenever you need
  • A Luggage transfer service which respects your hours of rest (we pick them up after 10:00 and deliver them before 16:00)

Follow your itinerary anyway you like – modern, practical, traditional

GPS for cycling trips

  • We loan you a GPS so that you can easily follow your itinerary without having to look for your way around (bike support included)
  • A practical cycling guide with all the useful information (addresses, highlights for the day, topo maps, and touristic information)

 


You can also

 

On our guided tours (for groups on demand), we accompany you every step of the way
  • One of our state qualified instructor and professional cycling guide accompanies you every step of the way
  • Full board (all meals covered unless asked otherwise)
  • A picnic buffet set up for lunch with a wide choice of fresh and local produce

We offer a high-end bike rental service. Our bikes are suited for road and gravel road long-distance cycling. Fully equipped and highly reliable, they are faithful travel companions.


Hiking Bike

SCOTT SUB SPORT 20

Reassuring and comfortable geometry.

Shimano 27-speed

Disc brakes

Supplied equipment per bike

  • 1 helmet
  • A handlebar bag
  • A 20L rear bag
  • 1 lock
  • 1 multi-tool
  • 1 repair kit including:
    • Lot of patches
    • An inner tube
    • A set of tire levers
  • 1 pump
  • 1 odometer counter
  • 1 gourd

Ebike

EBIKE SCOTT SUB TOUR ERIDE

All the pleasure of cycling without too much effort and accessible to all.

Shimano Disc Br-MT200 brakes

Bosch ActivePlus 500w motor

Weight 25.60 kg

Supplied equipment per bike

  • 1 helmet
  • A handlebar bag
  • A 20L rear bag
  • 1 lock
  • 1 multi-tool
  • 1 repair kit including:
    • Lot of patches
    • An inner tube
    • A set of tire levers
  • 1 pump
  • 1 odometer counter
  • 1 gourd
Vélo electrique scott eride

Child bike

CHILDREN’S BIKE: 8 to 10 years old; 135-145cm

Agile and handy bike and 100% safe for nice family rides

Supplied equipment per bike

  • 1 helmet
  • A 20L rear bag
  • 1 lock
  • 1 multi-tool
  • 1 repair kit including:
    • Lot of patches
    • An inner tube
    • A set of tire levers
  • 1 pump
  • 1 odometer counter
Vélo enfant scott 24"

Getting here

Departure city : CARCASSONNE

Coming by car

  • at from PARIS
  • at from BORDEAUX
  • at from LYON

Coming by train

  • Carcassonne train station - 5h30 from Paris
  • Toulouse train station - 4h30 from Paris

Coming by plane

  • Toulouse airport

Arrival city : CARCASSONNE

Coming by car

  • at from PARIS
  • at from BORDEAUX
  • at from LYON

Coming by train

  • Carcassonne train station - 5h30 from Paris
  • Toulouse train station - 4h30 from Paris

Coming by plane

  • Toulouse airport

* Abicyclette Voyages accompanies you on demand, including transportation solutions.

How to get back to the starting point

  • Return by car in 0h00 to your starting point ?
  • Private shuttle: see detailed fares or contact us

Recommended equipment

Bike

  • Trekking or hybrid bike
  • 21 to 30 speeds
  • 26 or 28 inch (700) wheels

Clothing and equipment

  • Helmet (included with the rental)
  • Clothing suitable for cycling
  • Warm jacket (eg fleece)
  • Rain proof jacket
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 pair of cycling shoes
  • 1 small backpack or panniers
  • 1 or 2 water flasks (included with the rental)
  • 1 lock (included with the rental)
  • Our reccomendation for optimal comfort:
    • 1 pair of gloves
    • 1 special pair of pants (shammy leather)
    • 1 night see fluorescent vest

Bike maintenance

  • Emergency repair kit: 2 or 3 tubes, patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
  • Daily use kit: cloth, brake pads, oil

Other

  • Suitcase for transporting personal effects in luggage transfers (limited to one per person when possible)
  • Change of clothes for the evening
  • Warm jacket for the evenings
  • Set of toiletries
  • Mobile phone and charger

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