To the west, the Corbières of the poets … and the Kings / A l’Oèst, las Corbièras dels poètas e dels reis
On either side of the Alaric, a part of the Corbières region stretches out that we would like to invite you to discover by hiking across the paths amidst vineyards and garrigues or by taking the GR36. In the quiet solitude of these paths, you could ponder on the following words of Joseph Delteil, “Here, time walks …”
The GR36 will guide you from the Alaric to Lagrasse.
Quand Laric porta capèl, pren-te garda pastorèl (When the Alaric wears its [cloudy] hat, shepherd bring in your flock!) On the slopes of the Alaric, hill of poets and kings, it meets the Roc Gris hike which will lead you to Moux, the village where the monumental tombstone of Henry Bataille, can be found. Louis Aragon considered Bataille to be the writer of the most beautiful verse of the French language and Marcel Pagnol thought he was a major author of his time.
After coming down from the observation point on Mount Alaric, the highest point of the massif at 600 m, the GR36 crosses the villages of Camplong, Ribaute and Lagrasse, where it knocks on the gates of the Val de Dagne. Each year, on the last Sunday of June, the Val de Dagne producers welcome you to their farms. We also suggest you pay a visit to the astonishing Sculptural Path of Mayronnes, somewhere between a hike and a cultural excursion, strewn with strange creatures, your companions during your walk here.
You will come across many a 400 m high hilltop, covered in garrigue and pine woods and interspersed with vineyard plains. With Mount Alaric being the northernmost border, the Lacamp plateau fences this territory off to the west, inviting you to the higher grounds of the Corbières by following the river Orbieu upstream.
The Orbieu, tributary of the Aude river, crosses this territory with character. It originates at Fourtou and flows royally across the Mouthoumet plateau, which it slashes with spectacular gorges. For many a century, it has been host to the songs of the Mitounes, legendary fairies/washerwomen, and their battledores, and to the indefatigable mills, from the lands of Mouthoumet to Luc-sur-Orbieu.
In this part of the Corbières, the river flows reasonably tranquilly, as it does in Lagrasse where its waters will offer you a nice guarded and relaxing summer break. But it can also be more meandering and temperamental, for instance at Ribaute. Once it has passed Fabrezan, it flows gently towards the Aude plain. But be careful, for it does not lack in character, and this also holds for the other streams and rivers of the Corbières. Always bear in mind that a simple trickle of water can become a devastating wave as a result of a heavy storm.
To the west, the Mediterranean climate is more distinctly present, even if the summer drought is less marked than in the eastern sections of the region where the first beech groves can be found. This massif marks the transition between the secondary ranges, situated nearer to the coast, and the more mountainous parts, called the Hautes Corbières.
The diversity in vegetation and the low relief, even if characterized by some rocky ridges, turns this territory into an ideal habitat for certain species of birds of specific interest for the environment, like the royal eagle and the European nightjar.
On the territory of the town of Lagrasse, two hikes have been developed for you to discover the pine woods (cypress trees/cipressièrs, pine trees/pins, cedar trees/cèdres) which offer you a most welcome shade when the summer temperatures are at their most torrid.
You will have the choice between the Foot of Charlemagne and his royal buttocks… a name which originated due to the ignorance of someone working for the cadastral office (section Occitan language). This employee transformed the geographical indication “faissas”, which means a number of agricultural plots designed in terraced form on a hillside, into the French word fesses (buttocks). This, of course, had nothing to do with the initial meaning but led to the birth of the legend …