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Join Respyreness on their cycling holiday in France! Mediterranean mildness, fantastic landscapes of the Corbières, vineyards, and castles perched upon rocky outcrops are just a preview of what you can expect to discover during this colorful tour. A host of seven exceptional Cathar castles and two abbeys will unveil their past history! All of these ancient strongholds are linked by sumptuous backroads in the heart of the Corbières and Fitou vineyards.
On this holiday, you will be accommodated at various accommodations. You will spend three nights in two or three-star hotels and four nights in bed and breakfasts. Your accommodations on your day three and day five are equipped with swimming pools. The accommodations are all on a half-board basis (except on day one, day six, and day seven).
On your first and seventh nights, you will stay in Carcassonne. For your second night, you will stay in Lagrasse. Your third day will be spent in Tuchan. Next, for your fourth night, you will stay in Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse. Sougraigne is where you will spend your fifth night. Lastly, for your sixth night, you will stay in Limoux.
What's more, by being accommodated in lovely accommodations, you will have the opportunity to experience the warmest welcome that characterizes this old land of heresy. It will leave you filled with unforgettable memories, not to mention the culinary specialties.
Respyrenees proposes a self-guided, independent formula. You choose your departure date and they will take care of all the rest from the initial meeting time through to the dispersion point. They will transport your bags between the accommodations and provide the maps and detailed cycling route notes, each for two to four people.
This is a way of enjoying complete flexibility. You dictate the pace and rhythm of your holiday. Moreover, Respyrenees' team will answer all your questions and will provide all useful advice in order to make this holiday a success. The arrival is on day one at your accommodation in Carcassonne, according to your time of arrival. The tour ends on day eight in Carcassonne after breakfast.
You will arrive in Carcassonne, a well-known place, thanks to its sumptuous medieval city. Then, you will check in at your accommodation. You can either choose to explore the city on foot or cycling, to cycle to Lac de la Cavayère, or to ride your bike along the Canal du Midi (depending on the time you arrive).
You will be settling in at the hotel. Depending on the time you arrive, you can choose to visit the famous site of Carcassonne. You can take a stroll through its streets and squares or follow an urban route which links to two monuments registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Canal du Midi and the medieval city of Carcassonne.
This itinerary starts from Porte Narbonnaise of the medieval city and will lead you to the Lac de la Cavayère. The lake is a real haven of peace and freshness, where you can even take a bath. A cycling path goes all around the lake, so you can enjoy at the most these 18 hectares of water surrounded by woods and garrigue.
Starting from the Le Port De Carcassonne, this return itinerary will offer you the possibility to explore a short section of the famous canal with your bike in a peaceful and bucolic environment.
This is a cultural and sports section. It links Carcassonne to the medieval village of Lagrasse. You will be following the towpaths along the Canal du Midi to reach Trèbes. And then, you will be heading to Lagrasse, one of the most beautiful French villages. It is well protected by its ramparts. The village faces one of the eldest European abbeys, which has its roots in the 13th century.
From Lagrasse, you will reach the village of Tuchan and the capital of Fitou, the appellation d'origine contrôlée vineyard. You will be cycling on scenic and rural backroads. You will be passing by Cathar castles called Château de Durfort, Château de Termes, Castillo Villerouge-Termenés, and Château d'Aguilar, depending on the option you choose. Your accommodation here is equipped with a swimming pool.
During this stage, you will discover the Cathar castles of Château de Padern, Château de Quéribus, and Peyrepertuse. They are not only famous for their majestic military buildings, but also for the spectacular places where they were erected. In the valley, the villages of Cucugnan and Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse are a real haven of peace and exude a very special charm. A sportier itinerary will give you the opportunity to pass by the famous village of Tautavel, where the ancestors have left their marks in the Caune de l’Arago. You can also visit the very interesting Museum of Prehistory Tautavel.
To reach the village of Sougraigne, which is nestled in an oasis of green, small winding roads will lead you from valleys to small passes to the villages of Rouffiac, Cubières, and Bugarach. Riding your bike is the best way to enjoy all the scents and colors of a fragrant vegetation. For the same distance, you can also choose a sportier version mainly in the forest. Your accommodation here is equipped with a swimming pool.
From Sougraigne to Limoux, you will follow other backroads. Some of them are tortuous because of the relief you will cross. Get ready to make emotional discoveries, with, for instance, the architectural beauty of the village of Roquetaillade. A sportier itinerary can allow you to discover the Château d'Arques and the lovely but challenging pass of Valmigère. Limoux is also famous for its Blanquette de Limoux, a sparkling wine that the Occitan people strongly prefer as Champagne, of course!
The highlight of this section to rejoin Carcassonne will be the stopover in the village of Saint-Hilaire. The village is considered a major site of the Aude Cathar country thanks to its cloister, which was built during the 14th century, and its Roman abbey. You will make your way through the Limouxin vineyard, dominated by the Mauzac (cépage) and the Malepère (AOC) hillsides. A sportier version will reward you with wonderful views before starting the descent to Carcassonne.
Your holiday ends after breakfast in Carcassonne.
Notes: This program was defined according to the last elements known during the writing. It may be necessary that the itinerary will be modified if situations arise that are beyond Respyrenees' control. The itineraries are given as an indication. They can be modified according to your wishes and goals. Moreover, the cycling duration is given to help you in your choice, but this is an average, not including the stops during the cycling.
Easy: You will be cycling three to five hours a day. Each stage ranges between 19 miles / 30 kilometers and 37 miles / 60 kilometers. There is no particular technical difficulty. For most of the stages, two options can be chosen with two different routes and levels of difficulty.
Respyrenees offers hybrid, road, and e-bike rentals. Please contact them a few days before the start of the trip, so they can inform you about the rental and lease terms and the organization on site.
Your luggage must weigh a maximum of 15 kilograms per person. Please don’t forget to attach the labels Respyrenees provides you, which shows your name and surname.
This holiday will take place in France. Starting and ending in Carcassonne, if you choose the normal option, you can go to Lac de la Cavayère, Canal du Midi, Trèbes, Lagrasse, Tuchan, Fitou, Padern, Cucugnan, Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse, Sougraigne, Rouffiac, Cubières, Bugarach, Limoux, Roquetaillade, and Saint-Hilaire. If you choose the sporty option, you can go to Lac de la Cavayère, Canal du Midi, Trèbes, Lagrasse, Tuchan, Fitou, Padern, Cucugnan, Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse, Tautavel, Sougraigne, Rouffiac, Cubières, Bugarach, Limoux, Roquetaillade, Arques, Valmigère, and Saint-Hilaire.
On this holiday, you will be served half-board meals (except for day one, six, and seven). The breakfast is continental-style (tea, coffee, milk, butter, and jam). The evening meals are often based on Basque specialties, which include a starter, a main course, and a dessert. There are plenty of restaurants in Carcassonne and Limoux. Drinks and picnics are not included, however, there is a possibility to do some groceries shopping on site.
On day one, you can explore Carcassonne on foot.
From Toulouse to Carcassonne, you can book your ticket with TER via Castelnaudary during the week and on Sundays. There are also many trains coming from Nice and Marseille. For more information, you can visit SNCF's website.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCyclingHolidays.com. All major credit cards supported.
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