Today we did our first trip to see a couple of Cathar castles in the vicinity of Quillan. The main reason for today’s trip was actually to get to somewhere from where we might see the Pyrenees proper, but I have it in mind to see and document as many castles as possible while we are here, so I suspect we will be posting more gratuitous pictures of castles. Enjoy!
We set out just after 9am from Quillan for what we estimated might take us about an hour. Of course, at our speed on narrow country roads, it always takes longer. We hadn’t factored for the curious curse of the road signs though. As we got closer to our destination the distance to travel on the road signs increased rather than decreased. No idea what was going on there. Perhaps the local roading official put them in the wrong order?
Our final destination was Querigut – a tiny mountain village with the ruins of a small rock-based castle. Such a beautiful spot, surrounded by rolling grassy meadows. The castle was surprisingly small for all the effort they must have gone to get it there. Slightly perilous ascent, but great view from the top.
Next stop was the mountain village and sometime ski station of Mijanes. I just love the way the houses are all facing in the same direction, almost as if they have their faces turned towards the sun, like sunflowers.
Our final stop was at the Chateau d’Usson. No village to speak of, just a rural hamlet. The castle itself was closed until 2pm today (of course!), but we walked the 15 minutes up the little country road to the castle entrance anyway, and what a delightful walk. Narrow, winding country lane fringed by wildflowers, with locals tilling the soil in the sunshine.
And at the top, we were rewarded with our desired view of the snow-capped Pyrenees, still a little way off, but crystal clear in the sunshine.