Southern France( Port barcares,Coullioure,Perpignan,Carcassonne,Pays Cathares)

Southern Travel Blog

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Sunset at the Etang at port barcares

On the day of St Mary Magdalene we arrive in Southern France. Why do I mention that maybe inrelevant detail. In southern France Mary Magdalene is truly a saint and a big support for many people. We pass the French town Beziers. And I start thinking of the history here. This is the first town were cathars were massacred during the Albigensian Crusade(1209-1255). My mind stops at this point but the car doesnt stop and drives further. And then we arrive in Port Barcares.

Port Barcares

Port Barcares is a french tourist town at the beach. The beaches here are big and pretty quiet and the water is great. So a great place if you like to hang out on the beach all day. It has everything to offer what you can expect from a beach. You can rent all kind of stuff for pleasure in the water(surfboards,catamarans etc.

Sunset at the Etang at Port Barcares
) The only thing I strongly advice not to do is go to the market. Its sooo crowded! Its a quit simple but fun place to be and swimming with the Pyrenees in the backround is just lovely. And for the karting fans: Near port barcares you have the largest outdoor karttrack of Europe. It has a something nice to it drive on a large track with the sun shinning at 35 degrees celsius and burning your skin without you noticing it.

Leucate

What goes for Port Barcares goes for Leucate. The only thing is that the ambiance is not so good as port barcares.

Coullioure

Drive along the coast and head south to Coullioure. A place where many famous painters went to get inspiration. It is honestly breathtaking beautifull. It has ambiance and beauty and also a lot of culture.

fisherman at the etang
A big fort along the coast etc. You just have to see some pictures. When youre in Southern France try to visit this place!

Perpignan

After trying to take the bus to Perpignan (wich never shows up) we take the car to Perpignan. Arriving there you clearly see oke this is for shoppers. We had some trouble finding the centre but that was a good thing because on the way to the centre we found the castle of the king of Mallorca. Its a huge building and nice to have a look. It has a lot of rooms and gardens and yes a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene.So when you have a lot of time visit Perpignan but when you havent got a lot of time just skip it.

Carcassonne

I like history and have a special interest in the Cathars so Carcassonne is a medieval city I cant skip in this journey.

beach at Port Barcares
When I finally arrived in Carcassonne I felt stupid that I didnt spend my time more usefull. This has nothing to do with history. Oke you can see the pretty walls of this medieval town. But this place has tourist written al over it and it was way to crowded. But he you dont drive all the way up to Carcassonne and go away without seeing it. So I rush through the narrow medieval street dodging tourists. This place is actually quit nice if tourism didnt destroyed this place. A sad moment for history fans. So just skip this to because there are so many things you must visit.

Pays Cathares

I did not had to be sad about Carcassonne because there is a way were history comes alive here in Southern France. Drive out to the Pyrenees and enter Pays Cathares(Cathar Country). So heading to the ruins of the strongholds of the Cathars during the albigensian crusade.

Driving to Pays Cathares
You look around but you cant find them between the mountains. Thats because they are just a rocky as many mountaintops. Its trully brilliant once you stop a stronghold. No wonder they could last so long in a siege and the crusaders had it difficult to siege there strongholds. There are so many ruins and stuff you can visit. Pays Cathares makes history come alive. We choose Queribus and Peyrepertuse.Arriving at Queribus it keeps getting harder the higher you come. We step out of the car and start climbing up . There is a path but its pretty hard for some people I think. Luckely I train very hard with track so it wont stop me!Queribus she keeps comming closer and closer. There she stands proud and pretty much in tact. It makes you wonder if the Cathars really didnt surrive the crusades. I reach the stronghold and climb to the highest viewpoint.
Pyrenees
Wow what a view and wow how brilliant to build such a place. I can go on and on about the beauty etc but moving on to peyrepertuse. Well pretty much the same story. The view is different and even harder to climb. But its not if you have been to queribus you can skip peyrepertuse. There similair but somehow different. Also try to visit Montsegur the place that has becoming legendary for the marterdom of the cathars. The crusaders had a pretty big fire going on at the foot of the moutain. When the Cathars surrenderd they just all walked without expressing pain in to the fire.

Villefranche

Its the small version of Carcassonne only it lies in the mountains so the view is more beautifull. When I must choose Villefranche or Carcassonne?I choose Villefranche because you can see a lot of beautifull pyrenee mountains and castles etc.

Small village in the Pyrenees

 

Other things to see

Little yellow train takes you through the Pyrenees you can enter at Villefranche

You can rent a car and drive to Andorra. It is a nice and beautifull drive and in Andorra you have a big big big mall.

You can rent a car and drive to Spain. Swim between the rocks or have some nice tapas.

 

 

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Sunset at the Etang at port barcar…
Sunset at the Etang at port barca…
Sunset at the Etang at Port Barcar…
Sunset at the Etang at Port Barca…
fisherman at the etang
fisherman at the etang
beach at Port Barcares
beach at Port Barcares
Driving to Pays Cathares
Driving to Pays Cathares
Pyrenees
Pyrenees
Small village in the Pyrenees
Small village in the Pyrenees
Villagesquare in the pyrenees
Villagesquare in the pyrenees
Villefranche
Villefranche
Fort near Villefranche
Fort near Villefranche
Europes largest Outdoor Karttrack…
Europe's largest Outdoor Karttrac…
Former Fishermans village in Port …
Former Fishermans village in Port…
Pyrenees
Pyrenees
Another nice shot of the Pyrenees …
Another nice shot of the Pyrenees…
Queribus
Queribus
Pyrenees in Pays Cathares
Pyrenees in Pays Cathares
Queribus
Queribus
View from Queribus
View from Queribus
View from Queribus
View from Queribus
Peyrepertuse
Peyrepertuse
Port Barcares
Port Barcares
Old Lighthouse of Coullioure
Old Lighthouse of Coullioure
Coullioure
Coullioure
Fort near Coullioure
Fort near Coullioure
Lighthouse Coullioure
Lighthouse Coullioure
Rocky beach Coullioure
Rocky beach Coullioure
Chapel along the coast
Chapel along the coast
Coullioure
Coullioure
Coullioure
Coullioure
Canal du midi
Canal du midi
Canal du midi
Canal du midi
You are about to enter Pays Cathar…
You are about to enter Pays Catha…
Nice shot
Nice shot
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photo by: buddieshot