- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
See all independent walking holidays
Cerdagne & Walks
On this independent walking holiday you'll be exploring the Cerdagne, a picturesque plateau, lying at 6000ft up in the French Pyrenees. It is a
scoured and shaped by Ice Age glaciers leaving behind deep ravines, rocky knolls and an array of beautiful mountain lakes, surrounded by imposing mountains including the Pic Carlit at almost 3000m or 10,000ft. Pine forests and pasture are omnipresent at lower altitudes whilst higher up alpine meadows flourish with an array of wild flowers including gentians, anemones and orchids.
The Cerdagne plateau had been contested for centuries between France and Spain until the treaty of the Pyrenees in the 17th century fixed a border across the mountains. The citadel of Mont-Louis was built as a safeguard to protect the border and is an austere and imposing structure. The area is also known for its quaint villages and Romanesque churches with the most unusual being La Merquita, a tiny and beautiful church with three apses in clover-leaf shape.
This self-guided walking holiday in southern France is designed to be accessible and interesting to both occasional walkers and experienced trekkers alike. There is plenty of time to enjoy the changing countryside in a spot reputed for its sunny climate, as well as taking advantage of the natural springs giving warm open air pools to relax and rejuvenate tired muscles. Those who are looking to increase the challenge, can make the pilgrimage to the summit of the highest mountain in the Eastern Pyrenees, the Pic Carlit.
This holiday is at the lower end of the moderate to challenging grade. Average days are about 5 hours long and include 500m of ascent. Day 2 can be shortened by taking the yellow train from the station at Ur. Day 6 can include the optional ascent of the main mountain summit in the region, Pic Carlit which is challenging in grade. Despite the Cerdagne being located in the high Pyrenees, the walking is relatively gentle and accessible to the average hill walker. In addition, there is the possibility of easing tired muscles by relaxing in open air pools fed by natural warm spring water and using thermal spa facilities at your hotels.
Walking Holiday Day-by-day
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Latour de Carol and short transfer to your hotel in Angoustrine.
Day 2: Angoustrine - Saillagouse
From outside your hotel, your route climbs to the pretty village of Dorres with a lovely panoramic view as you pass Belloch Church. After the trail descends to the Cerdan Plateau, and on easy ground, passes through a landscape of pasture and small copses. You'll pass through the Spanish enclave of Lliva; a small bit of Spanish territory entirely surrounded by France. You'll pass through a number of typical traditional mountain hamlets on your way to Saillagouse, an important local centre. There is the possibility to shorten the day's walk by taking the yellow train from the station at Ur to Saillagouse. (cost about 6 euros per person). 4 or 6hrs, +/- 400-450m
Day 3 Saillagouse - Mont Louis
Today, you approach the mountains on the slopes of Puigmal, the second highest summit in the eastern Pyrenees. At the start of your walk, you have the possibility to swim in the natural hot spring at Llo, at the entrance to the Segre gorge. After a series of small ascents and descents, your path traverses a delightful pine forest, before descending to the citadel at Mont Louis, classed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Night at a hotel with spa treatments. 4hrs, +550m, -250m
Day 4: Mont Louis -Saint Thomas les Bains – Transfert à Mont-Louis
A short walk along the mythical GR10 (which traverses the Pyrenees) where you'll pass by the strange church at Planes - a Romanesque church with three aspes in clover-leaf shape, which is unique in Europe. The trail rises to reach the beautiful mountain pass of Cedeille before continuing by traversing the mountainside and a gradual descent of the Riberole Valley. After a descent through forest you'll arrive at the upland pastures of Orri before descending to Saint Thomas les Bains. Small train transfer at 6pm and night at Mont Louis. 5hrs, +550m, -750m
Day 5 Mont Louis - Les Bouillouses
From your hotel, your day's walk traverses the citadel designed by Vauban and follows a secluded stream alternating between sombre pines and beautiful flower filled meadows, to arrive at lake Pradeilla. This is the first of a number of mountain lakes in this delightful spot sheltered below rocky summits. Night in lakeside hotel. 4hrs 45, +500 m ; - 200 m
Day 6: Tour from Les Bouillouses
A tour which allows you to enjoy the vast array of beautiful mountain lakes that decorate this upland plateau encircled by immense granite peaks. At Estany de Vallel you have the possibility of ascending the highest summit in the region, the Pic Carlit at 2921m. 2 hrs 40 (or 6 h), +/- 300 m (or +/-950 m)
Day 7: Les Bouillouses – Angoustrine
An enjoyable descent by the Angoust Valley to reach the isolated chapel of Saint Martin d'Envalls. Possibility to go to the open air sulphur pools at Dorres. Tour ends at your return to Angoustrine where there is the possibility to book an extra night. 4 hrs 30 (or 6 h), + 100m, - 700m.
Accommodation & Meals
Friendly, family run, two star hotels, one night with covered swimming pool and two nights with thermal spa centre at the hotel. Breakfast and evening meals at your hotel. Picnic is not included in the price, but can be ordered from your hosts the evening before.
|Les Bones Hores||Hotel||Rustic feel to this 2 star hotel situated by the shores of lake Bouillouse at 2000m on the Cerdagne plateau||2 star|
Eurostar, TGV and TER French trains allow access to Latour de Carol train station. Transfer from the train station to your first hotel is included with the walking holiday. Changes between the Eurostar and TGV are at Lille or Paris. TGV's run from Paris to Toulouse, Montpellier or Perpignan.
The simplest travel solution is to go via Toulouse. From here there is a direct TER train to Latour de Carol. The local trains from Perpignan have to change at Villefranche-Vernet. Please use Rail Europe's train finder in our travel shop to organise your TGV train journey.
Please contact us before booking to check for practical times.
There are flights from French and UK airports to Toulouse airport. Operators from UK airports include Flybe, BMI Baby, British Airways and Easy jet. A shuttle bus will take you to the city centre in about 20 minutes, where you can access the train station (see above)
Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets
Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.
Self Drive from UK
Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries & DFDS seaways. Crossings are also provided by train with Eurotunnel.
Once in France, the journey from Calais to your hotel at Angoustrine takes about 11 hours (excluding long breaks). You can leave your car at the hotel car park for the week.