A drive around the area east and north of Quillan

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.

Cemetery at Laval

Cemetery at Laval






St Ferriol is just high enough to see a snow-covered high mountain in the south.

Looking south from St Ferriol

Looking south from St Ferriol


St Ferriol

Flowers at entrance to a house in St Ferriol

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.

Pech de Bugarach from the west

Pech de Bugarach from the west

Pech de Bugarach from Bugarach village. Church bell tower in foreground

Pech de Bugarach from Bugarach village. Church bell tower in foreground

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.


3 thoughts on “A drive around the area east and north of Quillan

  1. anniemay1

    Hi – Could you point the way to the swimming hole near laval?

    In Rennes-les-Bains there are hot springs along the river well worth a visit, but best to get there early to enjoy at its best. The main spring that’s free is just opposite and below the “spa ruin” on your right as you enter the town. If you park on the left as you enter town just follow the path round to the left until you come to the hot water spring. Also nice square in Rennes-les-bains to have lunch and half decent childrens play ground. Nice spots along the river to have a bar-b-q as well.

    I believe there are some swimming holes along the river in Couiza as well haven’t explored to find them yet. Maybe you’s have?

    1. Stephen Christie Post author

      Anywhere you can find a way down to the creek from the road near Laval is likely to be OK. We stopped 500 m before Laval and found access through a field there. But there might be easier places to access the creek. The creek is fine for splashing around in, but I wouldn’t recommend proper swimming, as there are dairy cattle upstream in this catchment.

  2. Jennifer Andrewes

    I have just had several recommendations from a local this morning of good swimming spots (river and lake) in the vicinity of Quillan, including a Couiza swimming hole. Watch this space for future posts as we try them out!


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