21 September 2015

Château de Quéribus

The Château de Quéribus is a somewhat-restored Cathar castle in the Pyrenees of France. It was used to defend the border between France and Spain until 1659, when the border moved South. It was also the last stronghold of the Cathars, a Christian religious group active in Southern France from the 12th through the 14th centuries.

We drove here today from Palavas-les-Flots. It was a mostly pleasant 2 1/2 hour drive along the autoroute*, until... we started our ascent! The last ~5 miles were on a gravel/tar road, at 20 mph, switchbacks, narrow, sheer drops... Well, basically I knew the route would be problematic for this height-issued person, but I was determined to challenge that on this trip. That got us to the rest area 2 km shy of the castle - beyond that, another 10 minutes of walking would have put us in the ramparts.

There's a reason this was the last castle to fall - the access is perilous! All I can say is that I know my limits. And my limit got us close...

Looking down towards the town of Cucugnan, with the Château de Peyrepertuse on the far cliff

This is the way we came...

The old borne (milepost) showing the line between the Aude and the Pyrénées-Orientales départements (note the limestone mountain just behind it)
 Some encouragement for English-speakers: "you can do it"

You can read more about Quéribus if you see the French Wikipedia site (translate to English via Google):  https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Château_de_Quéribus

* Autoroutes are fast freeways (130 kph, or ~80 mph) with tolls, few exits, but plenty of "Aires" (rest areas that often have gas stations and restaurants)

Our Costs:
Tolls = 13.90€ each way
Gas = 28€

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