“High-perched” hike on the Cathar Trail

Durban Corbières 2 days

Localisation-Durban-Corbieres
portrait, Anais
Tried and tested for you by
Anaïs, the one with nice calves
Legendary! Just the mention of the name takes you off on an unforgettable journey. It conjures sudden images, colours and smells, of castles clinging to rock faces and Mountains watching over the Pyrenees like sentinels. Stop daydreaming and grab your trainers, we’re off for two days’ hiking on the Cathar Trail! Here you’ll find the ingredients for a successful hike, from Durban to Duilhac.
  • Itineraries
  • Nature
  • Sensations
  • Slowtourism

Day 1:
Stage 2, from Durban to Tuchan

Heading for the Trail

The landscape parades before our eyes. Sun drenches the vineyard. A smile lights up your faces.

Durban, in the heart of the Corbières. At last, you’re here. For you, the Cathar Trail starts here! You’re about to discover the majestic “Vertiginous Citadels of Aguilar, Quéribus and Peyrepertuse!

fleur de ciste rose

After a short walk you’re looking down on the village of Durban and the castle. With its cobblestone alleyways, stone cottages clinging to the rock and the crystalline waterfall, it looks just like a Mediterranean village. The marine wind blows. The mountains smell of thyme and the garrigue.

Did you know?
The Cathar Trail, or GR®367, is an itinerary of nearly 200 km that runs between Port-la-Nouvelle on the Mediterranean and the Pyrenean town of Foix.
Dans les vignes du Minervois ©Pierre Davy-ADT de l'Aude

01 Highlight

Impressive Récaoufa

Wow! A tough climb. A 4 km effort to reach the top! At 376 metres above sea level, this is THE spot. Meet Sainte-Raphine, the statue that stands here, then feast your eyes on the spectacular panoramic view. Port-la-Nouvelle and the Mediterranean Sea on one side, Mount Canigou on the other. And all around, dead calm. In need of a break…

Picnic at Embres-et-Castelmaure

You enter the village under a blazing sun. You’re guided by the trickling of the fountain! You fill your flasks and eat in the shade of a parasol pine. The cicadas are still chirping. You’re overwhelmed by the smell of overripe grapes. It’s nearly time to harvest…

This hamlet is a good place to stop if you find this stage too long.

Embres et Castelmaure ©Céline Deschamps-ADT de l'Aude
Hiking info
The Durban-Tuchan section is the second stage of the Cathar Trail. Allow eight hours of walking to cover the 26 km. Elevation gain 800 metres.
Ruelle dans le village de Tuchan ©Vincent Photographie

From château to castle

A square tower emerges in the distance. Your first castle? You hurry the pace. Not a knight, Cathar or arrow slit in slight, just a beautiful wine cellar in an exceptional setting. The door is wide open and inside, the winegrower greets you with a beaming smile! You relish this visit and enjoy the privilege of tasting a glass of Corbières.

02 Highlight

Aguilar, encounter with a citadel...

There’s that castle you were looking for!

Aguilar is just a few tens of metres away. Its two massive outer walls occupy the entire surface of the spur. With its six towers lit up by the low rays of the sun, it looks like a beast preparing to pounce.
Le Mont Tauch, à Tuchan ©Vincent Photographie
An emblem
The majestic Mount Tauch appears in the distance. It has one of the region’s most beautiful viewpoints over the Corbières and the Mediterranean Sea. It is also a favourite launch pad of the royal eagle! It takes two hours to make the climb, which starts from the Glacière ravine!
Le château d'Aguilar à Tuchan ©VIncent Photographie

This monument’s spectacular appeal makes you forget the weight of your backpack and your aching calves. As if by magic, you accelerate the pace. The sun is declining.

As you approach the keep, you’re rewarded with the most beautiful sunset ever staged by Mother Nature…

03 Highlight

Night in a yurt in Tuchan

Découverte du Château d'Aguilar et sa tour ©Vincent Photographie

Night in a yurt at the Saint Roch stopover gîte

What a room! A Mongolian yurt on the slopes of Mount Tauch. Definitely a change of scene. Dinner smells of the garrigue and speaks of the terroir.

Your tired feet recover from the day’s 27 km of walking. Time for tarot and a local beer. Outside, the crickets begin their musical performance. It’s time to relax. It’ll be a pleasant night’s sleep.

Great idea: the gîte can also provide you with a picnic (€8/person).

Day 2:
Stage 3, from Tuchan to Duilhac

le château de Padern

Padern, an inlet, a village, a castle

The Grau (inlet) of Padern basks under the blazing sun. The landscape is as picturesque as they come. Here, the River Verdouble carves out the limestone rock of Mount Tauch to create superb gorges where turquoise waters flow between streams and potholes. The place just beckons you to take a dip. Despite the intensely cold water, you give in to the temptation.

Molhet Prieuré

Today’s hikers will be moved by the ruins of this once-superb church. Its walls offer a shady picnic spot. Opposite you can see the Cathar Trail quite clearly. In the distance, Quéribus, Cucugnan and the legendary Pech de Bugarach. You know where to head… On the road again!

The Tuchan-Duilhac section is the third stage of the Cathar Trail. Allow seven hours of walking to cover the 23 km. Elevation gain 840 metres. This has to be the most beautiful of the Corbières sections of the trail.

04 Highlight

Ready
to conquer Quéribus Castle

The climb seems to go on forever

But you know the castle is just above you.
It stands masterfully, defying the horizon. The leading light of the Occitan world: Quéribus, After 30 minutes of walking, 3 outer walls, and hundreds of steps in the head-on Cers wind, at last you find yourself at the top of the keep.
Head in the clouds, you stand on the narrow platform of the castle tower, gripped by dizziness… Yet it’s there, it’s right there.
The 360° view stretches to the Pyrenees and the Big Blue Sea. Below you, the Grau de Maury channel makes its way through the rock face.
You’ve made it to the top of the world.

An ever-turning windmill...

Even before you spot the sails of Omer Mill, a powerful smell of crusty bread tells you which way to head.

Inside the bakery, mouthwatering biscuits, brioche, pasta, tarts and golden loaves fight for space on the display shelf. You’re spoilt for choice. Easy decision: you choose the muesli & raisin hiker’s shortbread! The first bite fills your mouth with dried-fruit flavours and sweet finesse. For a fleeting moment, you’re a child again…

Commerces autour du Sentier Cathare ©Vincent Photographie-ADT de l'Aude
A gourmet favourite!
Biscuits from Omer Mill in the heart of Cucugnan village.
Randonner sur le Sentier Cathare à Cucugnan ©Vincent Photographie-ADT de l'Aude
Hiking info
The Tuchan-Duilhac section is the third stage of the Cathar Trail. Allow seven hours of walking to cover the 23 km. Elevation gain 840 metres. This has to be the most beautiful of the Corbières sections of the trail.
To find out more about the legend of the Priest of Cucugnan, visit the Achille Mir theatre.

Support the candidature

Alongside the Citadel of Carcassonne and 6 other castles, Quéribus Castle is in the running for a UNESCO listing!

Randonnée sur le Sentier Cathare au Château de Peyrepertuse ©Vincent Photographie-ADT de l'Aude

05 HIGHLIGHT

Peyrepertuse, the royal castle

This site is a masterpiece of innovation

The fortress blends into the rock and is virtually invisible from a distance. Its sheer scale and strength become apparent as you climb towards it. With 300 metres of fortifications placed 800 metres above sea level, it is two castles rolled into one, with crenellations, posterns, machicolations, and an extraordinary medieval staircase carved right into the rock…

Randonner sur le Sentier Cathare en direction du Château de Peyrepertuse ©Vincent Photographie
le Sentier Cathare au château de Peyrepertuse

A spectacular visit. The ascent to the Saint-Jordi keep will dazzle and thrill you. Now you know what is meant by “Vertiginous Citadels”. When you look down, you realise just how impressive a monument this is.

Quéribus, the distant neighbour emerging from the horizon. Together, these sentinels have watched over the landscape for centuries.

Not far away, a few birds of prey make circles in the reddening sky of the Corbières.
Keen to capture this bewitching tranquillity, you reach for your smartphone!

06 Highlight

Morning dip before the return

Le moulin de Ribaute à Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse

Splash!

It’s sunny and hot! Head for Ribaute Mill at the bottom of the village. The path winds its way between evergreen oaks to emerge in an enchanting landscape. Here, the Verdouble (that river again!) has created a few marvels. Cascades of water tumble in bursts onto the red-tinged white limestone below. Go on! Jump in!

The gorges are very busy in peak season. Lifeguarded bathing in July and August.

It only takes a damsel to dive And if you swallow water, go with the current Drowned in a kiss
It’s no big deal.)

Claude Nougaro - Album : L’enfant phare.

It’s time to turn back..
Back at the village, you get into the taxi with a light heart and blistered feet...

Église du village de Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse ©Vincent Photographie

Live

instagraminstagraminstagraminstagraminstagraminstagraminstagraminstagraminstagraminstagram

Try the experience yourself...

Enjoy peace of mind throughout your experience.
All the addresses you need for a successful holiday have been collected for you.

LES TERROIRS DU VERTIGE

Drinks, wines and spirits CUCUGNAN

MONSIEUR MARQUILLO LUCIEN

Walking activities TOULOUSE

GITE D'ETAPE L'EMBELLIE CATHARE

GÎTE D'ÉTAPE L'EMBELLIE CATHARE - LE GÎTE ET LE COUVERT

Group / holiday gîtes DUILHAC-SOUS-PEYREPERTUSE

LA PEIRIÈRE

Bar-restaurant TUCHAN

From 22€

Tips for getting organised

Seasonality: When to live this experience?

The trail is passable all year round. To avoid excess heat, the ideal period is May-June and September-October.

Equipment

Find all our tips for organising your hike HERE: matériel, période, équipement, visites…

Getting here

By car

From Narbonne or Carcassonne, take the Route des Corbières road.

By bus

Route 51: Narbonne, Tuchan

By train

There are trains to Durban Corbières from the Port la Nouvelle and Narbonne (TGV & regional trains).

Calculate my itinerary :
 

Something to take home

Wines

The Trail explores the Corbières and Fitou PDO vineyards. Just choose the colour and appellation area you like best.

Gourmet treats from Omer Mill

A visit to Omer Mill in Cucugnan provides the opportunity to try the miller/baker’s specialities. Sweet or savoury, there’s something for everyone,

Give a note
to this experience

1 étoile2 étoiles3 étoiles4 étoiles5 étoilesLoading...