Cathar Castles

  • From Toulouse
  • History

8 days / 7 nights

Day 1 : TOULOUSE / PYRENEES MOUNTAINS

Arrival in TOULOUSE.

Drive to FOIX.

City tour of FOIX.

Drive to hotel in Foix Area.

Overnight.

 

Day 2 : UNDERGROUND RIVER OF LABOUICHE / CASTLE IN FOIX

Breakfast

Departure to the subterranean river of Labouiche : it is the longest navigable underground river in Europe.

Proceed to FOIX.

Visit to Foix Castle : the castle in Foix, in the principal town of Ariège, is imposing because of its size, its dominant position in the middle of the town and its state of conservation.

Drive back to your hotel.

Overnight.

 

Day 3 : GROTTES DE NIAUX / AX LES THERMES

Breakfast

Visit to NIAUX CAVE : the famous Paleolithic cave is one of the rare decorated caves still open to the public. It shelters paintings and traces of Man dating back 14,000 years. You start by going through some truly impressive galleries before entering the Salon Noir, a monumental rotunda whose walls are covered with outstanding and highly detailed paintings of animals : bison, horses, ibex and deers.

Proceed to AX LES THERMES.

Free time in the Centre Thermoludique of Ax Les Thermes : 3000 square meters of well-being and relaxation. Natural hot springs between 33 and 38°C, jacuzzis, saunas, hammam, massages…

Drive back to your hotel.

Overnight.

 

Day 4 : MONTSÉGUR CASTLE / LIMOUX

Breakfast

Visit to Montségur Castle : Perched on top of a rocky peak at an altitude of 1,200 meters, the Château de Montségur in Ariège is nothing less than a legend. The castle’s imperious ruins reaching up into the sky strike a chord with us all, pervaded with a still-palpable drama, energy and emotion. At the summer solstice, the sun’s rays enter the loopholes in the east wall, exiting as a single beam through the loopholes in the west wall, pointing the way, it is claimed, to the treasure of the Cathars.

Road to LIMOUX.

Visit a wine cellar of LIMOUX and tasting wine of Blanquette de LIMOUX.

Proceed to CARCASSONNE.

Drive to hotel in Carcassonne Area.

Overnight.

 

Day 5 : CARCASSONNE

Breakfast

Visit to the medieval city, the defensive walls and the castle of Carcassonne : the Walled City of Carcassonne is known first and foremost as a fortified medieval town. The city lost its strategic importance after the signing of the Pyrénées Treaty in 1659. In the second half of the 19th century, it underwent a major restoration project supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and was included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.

Boat trip on the Canal du Midi : A magnificent work achieved in the 17th century by Pierre-Paul Riquet and diverted through Carcassonne in 1777-1798, the Canal du Midi has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996.

Drive to your hotel.

Overnight.

 

Day 6 : TOULOUSE

Breakfast

City tour of Toulouse. Toulouse has some wonderful surprises for you. Private mansions from the golden age of woad (a plant grown in the 16th century for its blue pigment), religious buildings with brick and stone decorations, rich museum collections located in remarkable monuments and converted industrial sites : so many amazing places to see ! Let the “Pink City” reveal all its history and charm as you travel amongst its streets and monuments.

Drive to hotel in Toulouse Area.

Overnight.

 

Day 7 : ALBI

Breakfast

Visit ALBI : Visit Sainte Cecile’s Cathedral and the choir : the most imposing building in Albi. Its bell tower (78m) dominates the city and the surrounding region like a medieval watchtower. It is the biggest brick cathedral in the world.

Visit the Toulouse Lautrec’s Museum : a visit to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum allows you to discover the evolution of this ‘atypical’ artist through a chronological exhibition of his works. Paintings from his youth, portraits of friends and family, the famous paintings of brothels and prostitutes – alongside his advertisements for bicycles, restaurants and cabarets – as well as his lithographs, make this collection exceptional.

Visit CORDES-SUR-CIEL : Cordes fascinates all those who discover it because it is initially a mirage: that of a city launching itself into the sky. It is a living piece of history and art and one of the most significant medieval cities of France.

Round trip by little train.

Drive back to your hotel.

Overnight.

 

Day 8 : TOULOUSE

Breakfast

Transfer to airport for departure.

Check in and take off.