Author(s): Alan Mattingly
A guidebook to walking the Cathar Way, a waymarked trail through France's southwest, linking historic castles. This 250km (two-week) route runs through the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Languedoc region of southern France, from the Mediterranean to Foix. A challenging, fascinating and rewarding route, but not an arduous mountain trek. The trail runs from the Mediterranean coast westward to the historic town of Foix. It can be walked in two weeks or less by anyone who is well-equipped and moderately fit. Good-quality accommodation is available at regular intervals along the entire length of the trail. The trail traverses the dramatic foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, a beautiful countryside which enjoys plenty of sunshine and is rich in wildlife. The highlights of the Cathar Way are the 'castles in the sky' like Queribus, Peyrepertuse and Montsegur. These incredible medieval fortifications will forever be associated with the ill-fated Cathar 'heresy', which was brutally suppressed in the thirteenth century.
Alan Mattingly was director of the Ramblers' Association from 1974 to 1998. He has also held various other posts in the outdoor field, including that of chairman of the Council for National Parks. He is now based in a small town in the eastern Pyrenees which lies just below the 9,000ft Pic du Canigou. When not exploring the Pyrenees on foot, Alan writes and also teaches English. He is author of Walks in the Cathar Region published by Cicerone.
Route Map Key Location Map Map of Stages and Cathar Castles En Route Map of Administrative Departments INTRODUCTION The Sentier Cathare, 'the most celebrated footpath in France' The Cathars Cathar History Cathar Castles The Cathar Region The Sentier Cathare, Port-la-Nouvelle to Foix Origin and Character of the Trail Waymarking and Route-finding Changes to the Route Castles and Other Features of Interest Getting There Getting Around Accommodation How to Use This Guide Planning a Trek Along the Cathar Way Route Summary Stocking Up Maps Weather Equipment and Water Risks