Les Corbières, a poem, legends carried by the winds and everywhere the sunlight which warms and dries these landscapes of rock, small sunny valleys, shady valleys and mountain pastures, like so many surprises for the traveler ...
To the west, the Corbières of poets ... and kings
On either side of the mount Alaric part of the Corbières is spread out. You will come across hills culminating on average at an altitude of 400 m, covered with scrubland and pine forests and interspersed with wine-growing plains. If Alaric is its northern limit, the Lacamp plateau encloses this territory to the west, before inviting you to the highlands of the Corbières, going up the course of the Orbieu.
L'Orbieu, tributary of the Aude, crosses this territory. It takes its source in Fourtou and cuts the plateau of Mouthoumet with spectacular gorges. For many centuries, it has hosted on its shores the songs of the Mitounes, washerwomen fairies with the golden baton and the tireless mills, from Mouthoumet to Luc-sur-Orbieu.
On this part of the Corbières, it is sometimes quiet, as in Lagrasse where its waters will offer you in summer, a beautiful swimming break (supervised) or more capricious and tumultuous in Ribaute. After Fabrezan, it flows quietly towards the Aude plain. But beware, like all streams and rivers in the Corbières, don't forget that a simple trickle of water can turn into a devastating wave at the instant of a thunderstorm.
In these western lands, the Mediterranean climate is well marked even if the summer drought is less pronounced than in the more eastern part where the first beech groves appear. This massif ensures the transition between the most coastal ranges and the more mountainous part known as the Hautes Corbieres.
By the diversity of the vegetation and the low relief but marked by rocky bars, this territory offers many favorable habitats for certain birds of community interest such asRoyal Eagle orEuropean Nightjar.
In the town of Lagrasse, two hikes will invite you to explore the pine forests (cypress / cypress trees, pines / pines, cedars / cedars), providing welcome shade in the hot summer months. It's up to you to choose between buttocks ou Charlemagne's foot… Name which comes from the ignorance of an employee of the cadastre of the Occitan language. He transformed the geographical indication "faissas" which means cultures spreading out on the hillside into buttocks, a very French word having nothing to do with it, and thus the legend was born ...
The GR36, from Alaric to Lagrasse.
"When Laric porta capèl, pren-te garda pastorèl"
When the clouds cover the Alaric, shepherd, quickly return your flock.
On the slopes of Alaric, mountain of poets and kings, the GR36 meet the Roc Gris hike which will take you back to Moux, a village housing the monumental tomb of Henry Battle, who was for Louis Aragon, the author of the most beautiful verse in the French language and for Marcel Pagnol an essential author of his time.
After the descent of the Alaric signal, the highest point of the massif at an altitude of 600 m, the GR36 crosses the towns of Camplong, Ribaute and Lagrasse. There he knocks at the gates of the Val de Dagne. Do not hesitate to discover the astonishing Mayronnes sculptural path, populated by strange creatures who will be your traveling companions.
The Hautes Corbières, between forests and mountain pastures
The Hautes Corbieres extend from Lacamp plateau in the plain of Mont Tauch. This area is itself extremely diverse and full of surprises, between oceanic and Mediterranean climates, mixed with mountain geography.
A climatic line exists by following the villages of Dernacueillette, Laroque-de-Fa and Vignevieille which corresponds moreover to the limit of the growth of the olive tree.
To the west, the oceanic Corbières, more humid and to the east, the Mediterranean Corbières, drier. In addition, the altitude of the Mouthoumet plateau (550 m) gives it a colder climate and it is not uncommon to encounter snow there in winter. On this plateau and beyond, you will be seduced by the moors covered with lawns.
The beautiful meadows of Bouisse, which you can see during the hike The Corbières pasture, consecrate the pastoral character of this territory.
In Salza, the cattle breeders join the long tradition ofsheep and goat farming. It is in this area, where you can measure the forest vocation, that significant reforestation has taken place: black pine / black pine, cedar / cedar, spruce / fals avet and Scots pine / roge pine and hardwoods, beech / faus, chestnut trees / castanhs and everywhere dominates the holm oak / ausina. In Albières, you will discover the last floors of the large national forest of Rialsesse, through the hike From branch to branch ; while in Massac stroll through the national forest of the dead Orme / Òlme mòrt on the slopes of Milobre, following the GR36 towards the Cedeilhan pass. You will then leave the mountain Corbières to be reconciled with the Mediterranean.
The Haute Corbières under the influence of the Mediterranean
In Rouffiac-des-Corbières, enter the vast wild boar playground. The relief is varied and very chaotic; land of Pechs and gorges, hills and slopes, and the scrubland, maquis and pine forests, battered by the Cers and the Marin. The mountain ranges are covered with woods and dense undergrowth: boxwood / wood, oak-kermes / garrolha, mastic / lentiscle, lavender / asp, white cistus / moja blanca, juniper / cade, heather / bruga ...Mediterranean climate It dominates everywhere except in Rouffiac-des-Corbières, because the olive tree / oliu does not grow there.
If you follow the GR36 to the south, it tries to escape to Fenouillèdes but before it joins the Cathar Trail à Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse. If you want to take in the measure of this Mediterranean landscape, climb the slopes of Peyrepertuse castle for a unique journey on this mineral vessel.
You will then discover to the south-east another mineral lighthouse, the Quéribus castle, patient lookout from the top of which (728 m) you will finally discover the Mediterranean.
After Cucugnan, the Verdouble gorges offer a sharp relief beyond Padern. They lead to the wine-growing plain of tuchan. This area has a steep drop of 136 m at Paziols, up to 917 m for the Pech de Fraysse on the Mount Tauch, which watches over the whole plain. On the slopes of Mont Tauch, hiking From Notre Dame de Faste to Ségure, will take you on the flanks of this giant of the Corbières, to discover the Notre Dame chapel, an unusual place built by the veneration of sailors.
In this Mediterranean area, reigns the vine / vinha and olive / oliu. All around, islands of vegetation in the heart of stones and rockeries and pine forests. The garrigue sports euphorbia (or witches' grass) / lachuscla-èrba de las bruèissas, Montpellier aphyllante / bragalon, coronille / coronilha, juniper cade / cade, kermes oak / garrolha, cistus / mojas ... As for the maquis which develops on siliceous and acidic soils, it gives pride of place to cork oak / siure, cistus / moja, heather / bruga, arbutus / arboç and lavender / aspic.
The groves of holm oaks / ausina enclose this landscape, which we also advise you to visit in spring, to take advantage of the profusion of colors and scents: white, pink, mauve, blue ... and this electric green that will soon be missing. 'approach of the first droughts, when the cicadas / cigalas will wake up (que cantaràn meaning pausa: Sega, sega, sega! - which will sing without stopping Sega, sega, sega: therefore harvest!) and crickets / grelhs:
“Que cantaràn meaning pausa: Sega, sega, sega! "
Translation: who will sing without stopping Sega, sega, sega: therefore harvest!
Let's follow a little more, in the footsteps of the Cathars afterwards Aguilar castle, towards Durban-Corbières. You gradually enter the lands of the Corbières Orientales national forest. After a detour through Embres-et-Castelmaure, the imposing ruins of durban castle loom in the distance. Abandon it Cathar trail which joins the sea, and go north. These Corbières are lower on average but very wild. And everywhere the vineyard / the vinha which flows from the hillsides and in the plains. They are often accompanied almond trees / los ametlièrs that you will discover in bloom from the month of February, cottony white petals which announce the coming promises of spring ...
Almond tree song
Already my window
i have a note:
the ametla trencada,
s'esmòu la flor blanca
in the wind of February,
la fuèlha Afinada,
from cocut al pè.
Per say polida
Avelana will say,
of capitadas amors
will say ametlons,
la man jos la FAUTA
lo jaç dins la bauca
the ametla will tend
coma los potons;
the ametla that hoped
dins his brèça clòt
per other sasons.
Morís la vièlha
if you last
del floc de ferratja
of an ametlièr soil
that his ombra tèunha
cobrís his reiaume
e farà flors blancas
Per dire caucanha
Avelana will say,
per say my lenha
of a vièlh ametlièr.
Song of the almond tree: Under my window is an almond tree: naked girl, the broken almond moves the white flower in the February wind, the thin-leaf tree, gum on its trunk. To say pretty, I would say hazelnut of loves shared the green almonds, the hand under the dress, a bed of wild herbs is the tender almond like kisses. But wait for the almond in the hollow of a cradle for other seasons. When the old woman dies, you will inherit the plot which bears a single almond tree whose thin shade covers this kingdom, will come with white flowers in February. To say fortune, I will say hazelnut, to say my branch of an old almond tree.
The heart of the Corbières
It is on these few notes of the Occitan hymn that the journey almost ends ... by going back to the heart of the Corbières. The very tormented relief offers experienced mountain bikers and walkers an ideal playground, between scrubland and pine forests... and always this sea of vines where point the small picturesque villages where one has the impression, in summer that time stopped. Explore the marked trails of the Round in the heart of the Corbières to discover the treasures and the hidden secrets of the landscapes.
If you are keen on geology and want to understand the formation of the astonishing syncline of Albas, browse the Geologist's hike in the footsteps of the first inhabitants of Corbières, dinosaurs, nearly 70 million years ago.
The heart of the Corbières is Mediterranean; the scorching summer makes crickets and cicadas sing. This territory is all the more fragile and never forget it during your walks and getaways. These forests and scrublands are home to many species of protected birds (Natura 2000), some of the secrets of which you can discover by walking the interpretation trail of the Viviès Circus, in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse.
Finally, go to Lezignan-Corbieres. The general impression that emerges from this territory is that of a quiet plain, receiving the waves ofa sea of vines, braving here and there a few hillsides abandoned to the scrubland and the pine forest. These Corbières rise on average between 200 and 300 m above sea level. However, one should not be lulled by the tranquil character of this landscape. It remains vigorous and enamelled with limestone bars like La Roquelongue, the Montbrun-Escales scale, the last upheaval of the Corbières, or powerful hills like those of Boutenac and Fontfroide massif, a privileged area for the development of the Mediterranean forest.
Finally, walking in the Corbières or, simply, putting a map of a corner of the country in front of your eyes, it is immediately a journey through time, recalling the activities of men and their relationship to nature. Knowledge of Occitan adds to the understanding of the territory.
Let us take, at random, a map of the territory: Pech de la Bade (oc: Puèg de la Bada; high hill) La Frau (la frau: the ravine); La Jasse (la jaça: the sheepfold): L'Estagnol (the estanhòl: the small pond): Laygalous (the aigalós: the humid place); Bentafarino (Venta farina: place exposed to winds); la Soulane (la solana: slope exposed to the sun); the Roumanissièro (the romanissièra: place planted with rosemary); Pradals (pradals: meadows); la Bouissière (la boissièra: place planted with boxwood); Malpas (badly: the difficult passage); the Turasse (the turrassa: the large motte); la Gleizette (la gleiseta: the little church); Ginestiès (ginestièr: place planted with broom); No Endiale (no endiala: difficult passage - eel); Garrabous (garrabós: place with rosehips) ...