Guided Tours in Cathar Country, France

This region - now once again known by its old name, Occitania - has a rich history, set against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty and spiced by unsolved mysteries. It is the lesser known south of France; more rural, more adventurous, and many sites are not so easy to find. When you would like to explore this region by car, or as a member of an organized group tour, an experienced tour guide can make history come to life and help you discover the incredible historical and cultural heritage of Occitania.



My name is Anneke Koremans. For over a decade I have been a 'guide accompagnateur' here in Cathar Country, France. I can be booked on demand, and therefore my tours usually do not have a date. The tours I describe below are the popular tours that can be done in one day, provided your accommodation is in the immediate area.

“Anneke will provide you with the experience of a lifetime. She knows every nook, cranny, mystery, and secret of Cathar country.” ~ Steve Berry, New York Times Best Selling author, known for e.g. "The Templar Legacy".

Fees:
You can hire me as your private tour guide from one person to small groups from 150 to 200 euros per day, depending on the number of people, the length of the tour and the destination (the maximum group size for this fee is 7 people). Large groups: 250 euros per day per group. These fees are excl. transport, lunches and entrance fees. Half days start at 100 euros per day, depending on the destination and number of people.

Private tours with transport:
(In cooperation with Barinca Travel)
Small car with driver and tour guide: 250 euros per day, max. 2 people.
Comfort car with driver and tour guide: 350 euros per day, max. 2 people.

Group tours with transport:
(In cooperation with Barinca Travel)
Mini-bus with driver and tour guide: from 450 euros per day depending on the destinations and requirements for the tour. Max. 7 people.
Large bus with driver, tour guide and tour management, organization, transfers and itinerary assistance: prices on request. Max 50 people.

All fees are excl. of all lunches and entrance fees. It is customary for a client here in France to pay for the lunches of the guide and, if booked, the driver.

There is a maximum mileage and time for day-excursions. The tour starts and ends at your accommodation.

It is often asked if I also do tours in the Provence or Spain. However, I only accompany tours here in Occitania.


Contact:
anneke@panoccitania.com

Possibilities of advance payment:
This is possible via PayPal & bank transfers, or, on one day tours (last minutes), cash on arrival at your accommodation before the tour starts (possible with small amounts only). I am unable to accept credit cards.

If you are interested in creating a group tour yourself, and hire me as your local guide, please read my blog page "Discover Cathar Country!"

Click HERE to read some of the reviews we have received.

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POPULAR TOURS

The Cité of Carcassonne, a day excursion to the largest medieval fortified town in Europe.

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Puivert Castle, where we discover the story of the Troubadours, and Alet-les-Bains, known for its stunning cathedral ruins, late medieval square with half-timbered houses and the 'House of Nostradamus'.

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A guided tour to Puilaurens Castle in the Fenouillet and Galamus, where we visit the Hermitage of St. Anthony of the Desert.

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Montségur and the Fontaine de Fontestorbes. This day is dedicated to the story of the Cathars and the courage of the local lords of Occitania, called the faidits, who not only tried to protect their lands from the northern invaders, but also the Cathar community: gnostic Christians who were branded heretics by the Roman Catholic Church. The Fontaine de Fontestorbes is a unique natural phenomenon.

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The Rock Church of Vals and Mirepoix. During this excursion we will see one of the oldest and rarest murals in France, in a church that was built atop a rock on a very ancient site. Mirepoix is known for its Cathar past and the witches of Mirepoix, and on Monday morning there is a lively Occitan market, the most picturesque in the region next to Esperaza (the Esperaza market is on Sundays).

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Tarascon-sur-Ariège; Prehistoric Park and/or one or two caves. Around Tarascon in the Ariège (not Tarascon in the Provence), are prehistoric caves and a very beautiful Prehistoric Park. Famous caves are Lombrives, the Bethlehem & Hermit's Caves (very steep climb), Bedeilhac and of course Niaux with the famous cave paintings (reservation and limited number of visitors).

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Excursions and guided tours around the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. This tour can include a visit to the Devil's Chair aka Throne of Isis and the Fontaine des Amours, Rennes-les-Bains, Coustaussa (beehive shaped houses (only possible on individual tours and with small groups, max. 7 people) and Bugarach (lake, church and/or Roman Bridge (steep walk)).

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Guided tour to the Cathar Castles of Queribus and Peyrepertuse, two strongholds in the Roussillon which are known for their impressive remains and location atop rocky mountain ridges. Only possible on individual tours and with small groups, max. 7)

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Guided tour exploring the strongholds of the Knights Templar in the Fenouillet and Conflent, in the area around Sournia, Belesta and Caramany, and the chapel of St. Michel.

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Full day visiting the Abbey of St. Michel de Cuxa near Prades and the fortified town of Villefranche-sur-Conflent, known for its caves (the Canallette Caves aka the Underground Versailles) and the Yellow Train. Time-wise, a choice has to be made between the caves and the Yellow Train.

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Full day at the very pretty Mediterranean port town of Collioure, with a visit to the Royal Castle in the morning. Famous painters from the early 20th century were attracted by the beautiful light and colourful houses and fishing boats. This town on the Med is known for its many artisan shops, a unique place to buy a souvenir. It is possible to stop at the abbey of Elne on the way back, provided we leave a little earlier from Collioure. Elne is known for its mystical symbolism in the cloisters.

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The Prehistoric Museum of Tautavel, discovering the oldest Europeans known at the moment (ca. 450.000 years old). This excursion can be combined with a visit to Queribus Castle or the castle of Aguilar (individual tours or small groups only, max 7).

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Exploring the Corbières with a visit to the Donjon d'Arques and the castle of Villerouge-Termenes, where the last Cathar Parfait was burned at the stake.

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Day trip to the Cité de Minerve, famous for its fatal siege and first site of mass murder by fire during the time of the Crusade against the Cathars, followed by a short visit to the enigmatic Dolmen de Fados, a beautiful prehistoric tomb.

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Guided tour of Lastours, aka the castles of Cabaret, with its troubadour and Cathar history. The four towers that dominate the present village are situated in a beautiful landscape. This tour can be combined with Carcassonne or the crystal cave, the Gouffre de Cabrespine.

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Half day or day excursion to Limoux, visiting the Notre Dame de Marceille basilica with its many stories and mysterious symbolism, and/or St. Hilaire Abbey, where the local bubbles called the Blanquette de Limoux, aka the mother of Champagne, was invented.





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Other destinations are on request. Some combinations can be made, provided the destinations are in the same direction and the time schedule allows for it.

Below you can see a map provided by Google Maps, showing you the general area
where I do my tours.

Hope to see you soon! From Occitania, with love! ♥






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