Cathar Castles in the Pyrenees, from Quillan to Foix

Cathar country
Self-guided walking
Self-guided Walking
7 Days
6 Nights
6 Activity Days
From 520,00 €

Between Aude and Ariege, in the heart of Pyrenean piedmont loom imposing stone citadels, Cathar castles. These fortresses are the symbol of a tragic, political intrigue and drama that shook the South of France and marked the region. From Quillan, this itinerary will take you to Foix, in the heart of a territory steeped in history.

First, in Aude region, you can visit Puivert and its castle, on the land of the Troubadours. From Comus and Pays de Sault, you will join Ariege and Montsegur castle, the highest of the Cathar castles, erected on its "pog" at an altitude of 1207m.

Then, before to join the city of Foix and its castle, you will go to visit Castle of Roquefixade, near to Montsegur, perched at the top of an impressive cliff. This walking holiday combines a historical interest that stirs the imagination, as well as some memorable walking through lush, unspoilt mountains and valleys. Your itinerary follows the "Cathar Trail".

Dates and Prices


Every day from the beginning of April to the end of October. 
Booking from 2 people (solitary traveller: consult us).

From 01/04/2024 to 30/10/2024 : 

Prices with luggage transfer :
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 765€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 695€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 640€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 625€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 610€

Prices without luggage transfer :

- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 575€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 565€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 555€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 545€
- Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 540€

Extras :
- Extra single room option : 165 €/pers
- Extra transfer back from Foix to Quillan on a weekday: 150 €/transfer
- Extra transfer back from Foix to Quillan on a Sunday or public holiday: 210€/transfer
- Extra 5 picnics : 65 €/pers - Extra night in Quillan half board double room : 70€/pers
- Extra night in Quillan half board single room : 90€/pers 
- Extra night in Foix Bed & Breakfast double room : 60€/pers
- Extra night in Foix Bed & Breakfast single room : 80€/pers

Price includes

- Half board accommodation except on day 6, bed and breakfast
- Transfer day 3
- Luggage transfer depending on the option chosen
- Dossier containing maps, route notes (1 for 4 persons, given in 1st accommodation)
- GPS tracks if you ask us + access to the detailed itinerary on the Mhikes GPS mobile application

Price doesn't include:

- Holiday and travel insurance
- Visits, access to castles and museums
- Dinner day 6
- Drinks and picnics
- 15€ booking fees

Day 1 : Start of holiday in Quillan

Start of holiday in Quillan, check into your accommodation and possibility to visit the village. Depending on your arrival time, it is also possible to go hiking.
Loop starting Quillan
The itinerary offers a remarkable diversity of Mediterranean and mountain vegetation. You will discover an architecture that is both unusual and charming : chalet of Carach and the village itself that is famous for its XI century church. The return route meanders back along the river Aude. Distance : 12,5km, duration : around 4h, altitude gain : +375m, descent : -375m.

Day 2 : From Quillan to Puivert

From Quillan, you will discover on this first walk part of the Pyrenees that has a strong Mediterranean influence. The trail leads through olive groves and vineyards, then a pleasant scrubby vegetation of box trees, shady oaks and juniper that give a subtle fragrance to the air. Crossing undulating valleys and hillsides, a castle will eventually come into view, the castle of Puivert. In its days, the castle was far more festive than military, it was the castle of the troubadours. A splendid ridge walk will lead you towards the castle doors. It is possible to explore the castle’s towers, dungeons and the famous hall of musicians. This feodal castle was a hive of activity in the XII century, a meeting and performance place for the most famous troubadours of the era. Distance : 20km, duration : around 6h30, altitude gain : +750m, descent : -550m.

Day 3 : From Montplaisir to Comus

Transfer from your accommodation in Puivert to the hamlet of Montplaisir, start of your walk. Through forests, discovering the Plateau de Sault, located between 950 and 1300 meters high. From the Plateau de languerail, you will discover Montsegur, Roquefixade, and the Plantaurel just front of you. A little further on, the gorges and the Frau mountain will reveal all their splendour... that you will have the opportunity to admire on the next stage.  Arrival in Comus, small and typical village. Distance : 17,5km, duration : 5h45, altitude gain : +650m, descent : -350m.

Day 4 : From Comus to Montsegur

This walk makes the transition from Aude to Ariège and from Pays de Sault to Pays d’Olmes. First, the Frau gorges reveal their vertiginous walls cut into limestone over nearly 1 km. Then, the path joins the village of Montségur, visible as soon as you reach the end of the western side of the gorges. The pog of Montségur symbolizing resistance of the Cathar Church facing the Rome Church and the kingdom of France. The castle was taken in 1244, and all people died in a huge pyre. The walk being quite short, it’s opportunity to visit the museum in the village. Distance : 13,5 km, duration : 5h15, altitude gain : +650m, descent : -900m.

Day 5 : From Montsegur to Roquefixade

To start the day, a short trip to the pog of Montsegur is a must. After the visit to the castle, the Cathar Trail takes you through the heart of the Pays d'Olmes, wool country, which used to specialise in the manufacture of horn combs. During your walk, in addition to the green landscapes of the middle mountains, you will discover one of the medieval castles of Ariège, that of Roquefixade, dominating the village of the same name, formerly called the Bastide de Montfort. Charming villages such as Montferrier, or the hamlet of Coulzonne, will be an occasion for improvised meetings full of warmth with the locals. Distance : 17km, duration : around 6h45, altitude gain : +800m, descent : -950m.

Day 6 : From Roquefixade to Foix

Last section of the Cathar path, this walk will take you to Foix trough the Pradières domanial forest. This itinerary is also marked by very beautiful views of the Ariège mountains. In the morning, as the start of the hike, a short round trip to the rocky outcrop supporting the ruins of the Roquefixade castle is possible. Distance : 17km, duration : around 6h, altitude gain : +550m, descent : -900m.

Day 7 : Visit of the Foix city and its castle, end of stay

Your stay ends in Foix. You can visit the centre of the old town with its narrow streets full of history, as well as the château comtal perched on its rock!

This programme is an example of the itinerary we aim to adhere to. It may be necessary, if situations arise that are beyond our control, for the itinerary to be modified.


Day 1 according to your time of arrival in your accommodation in Quillan (11).


Day 7 after breakfast in Foix (09).


Level 2/5
Occasional walker, in good physical condition. Hiking 5h-6h per day on average, altitude difference 400m-700m on average, on easy paths and tracks. They are average times that only take into account the effective walking time and do not include the stops during the hike. Depending on the weather conditions, the walking pace can also vary, ranging from +300m to +500m of climbing per hour.


Half board except on day 6 (bed and breakfast)
- 2 nights in hotel *** in room days 1 and 6
- 1 night in guesthouse in room day 4
- 3 nights in gites in room days 2, 3 and 5

- Continental breakfast (tea, coffee, milk, butter, jam) 
- Evening meals in gites, often based on local specialities, include a starter, a main course and a dessert.  For dinner in Foix (D6), plenty of restaurants in town.
- Picnics not included. They can be reserved in advance (with extra). Or you can buy them directly at your accommodation or at the grocery stores, mini-markets and bakeries listed in the roadbook.
- Drinks not included

Luggage porterage

You will need to carry a day backpack only. Our bag-moving service means you can travel light during your walks. Your main luggage (that should please be easily transportable) will be transported by vehicle between the different night stops, unless you have chosen the version without luggage transport. 


Self-guided walking, without guide.

Pyrenean travel agency specializing in your hikes and treks in the Pyrenees, the GR10 and more
ARIEGE: 20 chemin de la montagne, 09000 FOIX
+33 (0)5 34 14 51 50 - +33 (0)6 10 97 16 54
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