Here’s the route we drove this afternoon. We stopped briefly at Laval and St Ferriol, which I had been to on foot earlier this week. Those villages are in the next valley north of Quillan. Laval is on the valley floor. It’s small. In fact, the walled cemetery shown below is almost as big as the village. We identified a swimming hole in the creek near Laval that we might visit on hot days later in the summer.
St Ferriol is just high enough to see a snow-covered high mountain in the south.
We drove on through forested hills, passing through Granes, St Just, and then stopping at Bugarach.
The view from St Just is just gorgeous. It’s the sort of valley that you could fall in love with. We discussed other beautiful valleys we have visited in our time, including the Elan Valley and the valley from Llanthony Priory towards Hay-on-Wye in Wales, and this one rates right up there with the best. We didn’t actually think to stop and get a photograph, so I can’t easily show it here.
The road from St Just to Bugarach is mostly narrow and is largely surrounded by forest, so I drove slowly and it took us longer than expected to cover that route. Luckily there was no traffic. I think the first vehicles we encountered were two quad bikes and a car as we neared Bugarach.
Bugarach village is beautiful, but the view of the mountain Pech de Bugarach is what I most remember the village for. There are apparently lots of walking routes in the forested valley and perhaps up that spectacular mountain.
When continuing our drive from Bugarach back north-west to the main road at Couiza, we saw several other villages that we hope to visit, but we ran out of time to stop today. Rennes-les-Bains appears to have good spots for bathing/picnicking, and is a short drive from Quillan, so we may return there at some stage.