Rustic feel to this 2 star hotel situated by the shores of lake Bouillouse at 2000m on the Cerdagne plateau
6 days walking/6 nights
Explore the Cerdagne, a picturesque plateau, lying at 6000ft up in the French Pyrenees
Picturesque and varied Pyrenees landscapes with beautiful mountains, deep blue lakes and dramatic gorges
Historic sites with several chapels and churches and the citadel of Mont Louis, classed as a world heritage site.
Relatively easy walking adapted to most walkers crossing a high-altitude plateau
One of the sunniest locations in France.
An enjoyable mixture of good walks, relaxing in warm water pools fed by natural spring water and soaking up the sun in clear mountain air.
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
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 several 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).
Overnight: Saillagouse, Walk: 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 can 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.
Overnight: Mont Louis, Walk: 4hrs, +550m, -250m
Day 4: Mont Louis - St Thomas les Bains
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 apses 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.
Overnight: Mont Louis, Walk: 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 several mountain lakes in this delightful spot sheltered below rocky summits. Night in lakeside hotel.
Overnight: Les Bouillouses, Walk: 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.
Overnight: Les Bouillouses, Walk: 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 on your return to Angoustrine where there is the possibility to book an extra night. .
Walk: 4 hrs 30 (or 6 h), + 100m, - 700m
Extra night possible in Angoustrine.
At a glance
1 June - 25 September
From €1145 per person (based on 2 sharing)
6 nights / 6 days walking
Linear & circular Trails
Time: 2hr 40 - 6hr per day
Ascent: 100-950m per day
2 star hotels
Other walking holidays in the Pyrenees
On this self-guided walking holiday in the Pyrenees of southern France you'll be exploring the Cerdagne, a picturesque plateau, lying at 6000ft up in the French Pyrenees. It is a delectable landscape 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.
6 nights/7 days: 6 days independent walking (4 linear trails & 2 circular tours)
Everday of week subject to availability from 1 June - 25 September
Walking Profile & Grade
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.
This walking holiday is graded moderate to challenging. You should have experience of day walking in mountainous conditions and be in reasonable health. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
6 nights accommodation (half board) in 2 star hotels (one with a covered swimming pool) and two with thermal spas. Possibility to book an extra night at the end of the final walking day.
Where is the Cerdagne?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking holiday in the Cerdagne is available from 1 June to 25 September. The amount of precipitation is much greater in the western Pyrenees than in the eastern parts, because of the moist air that blows in from the Atlantic Ocean over the Bay of Biscay. After dropping its moisture over the western Pyrenees, the air is usually dry over the eastern Pyrenees and so the Cerdagne is often bathed in sunshine.
In mid to late June you could expect temperatures to range from the low to mid-twenties Celcius in the valleys, to single figures at higher altitudes. Night-time temperatures are cooler than the surrounding plains with an average of 11°C in the valleys. Sunshine levels are reasonably high, although it is common for clouds to build up during the day over the mountains. Storms are reasonably common at this time of year. In June there may still be small patches of winter snow left at higher altitudes. This is the best time of year if you are interested in wildflowers.
Summers in the Pyrenees tend to see a reduction in the amount of wet weather coming in from the Atlantic, as well as any unsettled spring weather from the Mediterranean, with warm and dry periods, punctuated by short, sharp storms. In July and August you could expect temperatures to reach the mid-twenties Celcius on average in the valleys, but falling to single figures at higher altitudes. Sunshine levels remain high, although it is common for clouds to build up during the day over the mountains. Storms are reasonably common at this time of year.
As you progress into September conditions become slightly cooler and wetter, similar to those experienced in June.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
This walking holiday follows a mixture of local trails and long-distance trails. On some days it follows the GR 10 & GR 36 (Grande Randonnee) long-distance trail which is well way-marked with red and white markings. On other days you are following locally way-marked trails. The walking follows clear paths for most of the time. Our walking notes are detailed (more information here) and also include information about the sites that can be explored along the route. We supply one walking guide per person on this holiday. As well as the detailed walking notes we supply extracts from the official walking maps produced by IGN at a scale of 1:25,000. Your trail is highlighted on the maps.
On this walking holiday, your main luggage is transferred between guest houses so you only have to carry a day rucksack with picnic lunch (supplied by the guest houses and included in the holiday price), water and spare clothes, waterproofs, camera etc. On this holiday local taxi companies are responsible for transporting your main luggage. Please limit the weight of your bags where possible to 15kg.
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.
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)
6 nights / 6 days walking
- From €1145
- Prices are per person and based on 2 sharing a room
What's included in the price
- 6 nights accommodation in 2 star hotels
- All breakfasts and evening meals during the holiday
- Luggage transported between hotels
- Short transfer from Latour de Carol to hotel
- Detailed walking notes including information about the region and sites and walking map
What's not included in the price
- Travel to the train station at Latour de Carol
- Drinks during the day and to accompany evening meals
- Entrance fees to sites and hot pools
- Ticket for yellow train on day 2 (if used)
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less than 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
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.
It is possible to book an extra night in Angoustrine at the end of the last day's walk.
We can organise a city break in Toulouse before or after your walking holiday in the Tarn. Toulouse is the 4th largest city in France and is known as the ville rose (pink city) due to the use of bricks in many of its city centre buildings. It has a well-preserved city centre along the banks of the Garonne which is well worth a visit.
If you wish to extend a city break in Toulouse and get to know more about the region's culture through tailor-made activities and visits, check out this trip that includes a few days in the Tarn region. Contact us to add them to your hike.
Authentic trip to discover the Tarn: stunning walks, exquisite gastronomy and centuries of captivating history in Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne and more.
Thank you for leading us to this lovely experience. Our first European walking holiday - I will always remember this trip.