Soul Journeys – Walking in the footsteps of the Essenes, Cathares & Magdalenes

Walking holiday with both guided and self-guided options in France

From € 455.- / 8 days
Price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • 1
  • Guided / Self-Guided
Three walkers on the top of a rocky hill ruins of a castle on a rocky hilltop Sun shinging through mist next to steps on the side of a mountain leading up to the ruins of a castle
This historic holiday takes you on a breath-taking soul journey to the most sacred Essene, Magdalene and Cathare sites in Occitanie, offering plenty of opportunity to reconnect with your soul, meditate and reclaim your inner peace, and experience your personal past life regression at one of these revered sites.

This walking holiday is an adventure back in time that leads you along ancient trails to the most famed castles and initiation caves of the legendary Cathare, Essenes and Magdalene peoples. Best suited for individuals, couples or small groups (max 6), Soul Journeys offers guided visits, past life regressions and meditations on site at: Carcassonne, Montsègur, Roquefixade, Peyreperteuse, Quéribus, Rennes-le-Château, the Mary Magdalene caves, Bugarach & the remains of the Essene monastery, Ussat and the Cathare initiation caves (your choices).

While we hold space for you, you get to decide whether to walk shorter or longer circuits each day or simply enjoy breathing in the wonder and serenity of these hallowed lands and their heritage in peaceful solitude.

The price quoted is for B&B (half-board and picnic/buffet lunches are available). Nearest airports/train stations are Carcassonne, Toulouse and Bram. Transportation on all day trips is included in the price.

Woman sitting on the edge of rocks
Ruins of a castle on top of rocks

Accommodation at the Razès Gîtes

There are three gîtes @ the Razès Gîtes – Soujeole, Corbières and Malepère – suitable for singles or couples. Each has its own: private entrance, parking, fully equipped kitchen, dining and lounge area, double bedroom and bath/shower room. Rent one or all three if you want to come with friends (max 6 people). Full linen and towels are provided: a library of books, music and films is also available.
Entrance of the gite from the terrace
Gite entrance
A meditation and yoga room is available for use (instruction is optional) and a barn – the Grange – a great place to get together and/or meditate as it offers respite from the summer sun or snug comfort from the wood burner in winter. There are cooking & BBQ facilities here, table-tennis and darts, boules and board games and a washing machine. There are three secluded gardens perfect for outdoor dining and relaxation.
hikers resting on a plateau and taking photos
Ruin of a hilltop castle

Walking in the Razès and across the Cathare hills

Soul Journeys is based in the rural Razès in the Aude département of Occitanie, 90 km inland of the Med and 90 km north of the Pyrenees. The area is famed for its birds of prey and wild orchids as well as its rolling landscape decorated with hills and dales, valleys and peaks, rivers and streams. The Razès offers easy to moderate terrain.
castle on mountaintop
Rocky mountain
Depending on the time of year, walkers will typically pass alongside vineyards and fields of sunflower, poppies or barley and over rocky garrigue (scrub) outcrops, through country lanes and woods, past farms and crop fields, hamlets and villages.
three men walking down a mountain
hiker with outstretched arms
On the Cathare trails, you tend to go up short but relatively steep stairs to access the castles, through heavily wooded forests, and over cliffs. Wherever you walk, you tread in the footsteps of the Cathares and, as such, you breathe their lingering message of martyrdom, truth and freedom from the land itself.

Soul Journeys walking holiday itinerary

Please contact the holiday provider for a personalised itinerary.

Day One – Arrival, welcome, drinks and dinner.
An afternoon stroll around the local Razès countryside if flight schedules permit.

Day Two – Le Tour de Montségur et Roquefixade (5 or 10kms)
Following historic Cathare trails through centuries-old forests which simply ooze with tranquillity and wellbeing, this walk leads up to and around the austere Montségur and its sister castle, Roquefixade. The forest views open up to offer some of the most impressive vistas looking out south to the majestic Pyrenees, the distant Corbières to the east and the Montagne Noire to the north. Leaving the village, the path meanders along open meadows and farmlands, climbs up through ancient woodlands, down rocky slopes and emerges on craggy mountain sides offering views of the Pyrenees, a memorial to the Résistance, ruins and shepherd huts. Beautiful in its variety and impressive in its outlook, these castles are perfect places to meditate and/or enjoy a past life regression or simply enjoy the peaceful serenity of watching the sunrise over nature’s most magnificent landscape below. An opportunity for a picnic lunch atop a mountain or lunch out in the small village of Montségur.

Walkers resting on the walkway of a castle
sun setting behind mountains in a beautiful display of colours

Day Three – Mirepoix market
Enjoy the delightful sights and sounds of the morning Monday market in the neighbouring medieval town of Mirepoix, the best of its kind for miles around. Options to eat lunch out or back at the gîte. The afternoon is yours to either rest and relax in the gardens or enjoy a walk around the local Razès countryside.

Day Four – Le Tour de Rennes-le-Château and the Mary Magdalene caves (5, 8 or 15kms)
There are many Cathare trails to choose from, some passing through ancient woodlands, others following trails over open scrubland across the terres rouges (red lands), characteristic of the local scenery as popularised by Kate Mosse in her novels. All options start in the small town of Couiza or Rennes-le-Château itself: one path meanders up through fairly steep, heavily scented and wooded forests to reach the castle via the Tour Magdala; another heads out into the gently climbing hills and fields of the terres rouges, passing shepherd huts dotted in the garrigue (scrub) lands and the impressive red-pink ruins of Coustaussa. A visit to the secret venue of the Mary Magdalene and Cathare initiation caves is a must for those who want to meditate in the holy place where Mary purportedly took retreat, and experience the Cathare rebirth cave where individuals go to release, surrender and let go of any and all things which ail or impede their current life. A picnic is available or lunch out at Rennes-le-Château or Couiza.

inside the ruins of a castle
old castle on a mountain-top

Day Five – Carcassonne (3 or 6kms)
A trip to the largest fortified castle in Europe, the famed Carcassonne itself. A great venue to soak up the medieval vibes on a quiet early morning and always full of historic mystery and intrigue imbued in the remparts and historic quarters. A picnic is available or many restaurants to choose from either in the walled Cité of old Carcassonne or the new town below.

Day Six – Quéribus and Peyrepertuse (5, 8 or 10kms)
These are quite possibly the most spectacular and celebrated of all the castles boasting magnificent views over the Pyrenees and Corbières mountains, invoking an immense sense of reverence and wonder. The energies are magnificent and, being situated closer to the Med, very different to those in the inland forests.
There are short but steep walks up to both, one through the typical lavender and thyme-scented garrigue and up through an open and craggy mountain side, the other through a well-shaded and concealed rocky path through ancient evergreen woodland. The peace is palpable, broken only by the winds and cry of birds of prey circling overhead. A long but extremely rewarding day out where a picnic is available or the delightful villages of Cucugnan and Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse based at the foothills of the castles offer a variety of lunch options.

two men hiking up a mountain track
hiking woman taking in the view at the top of a hill

Day Seven – Cathare initiation caves at Ussat (3 or 5kms) OR Essene Monastery ruins at Bugarach (5, 6 or 12kms)
There aren’t enough days in the week to include all sites of Cathare, Essene and Magdalene intrigue and so today is choice day! The first option offers a visit to a series of little-known, but revered Cathare caves carved into the Pyrenean landscape where you can take yourself through the initiation stages as would the Cathares have done themselves centuries ago. The second option involves a short walk along an ancient, rocky path through woods and open pasture to the remains of a former Essene monastery. A refreshing dip in a beautiful and secluded waterfall is possible on the longer Bugarach walk. Both places invite the explorer to sit and soak in the august atmosphere, embrace the serenity and solitude of the place, and meditate on lives past and present. Picnic lunches are a prerequisite here for both venues.

Day Eight
Breakfast, lunch and departure. A possible short walk around the Razès if flight schedules permit.

Dates and Availability

​Soul Journeys’ guided (and self-guided) walking holidays @ the Razès Gîtes are available all-year round – come in the season you want and arrive/depart on the days that best suit your travel plans.
group of people hiking in mountains
rocky outcrop on a mountaintop
If you want to walk every day, simply choose your preferred distances and you will be guided by Jo or can self-guide if you prefer. If you want to walk every other day and have a rest day in between, the tranquil gardens, meditation room and Grange offer you beautiful spaces within which to relax and unwind.
ruins of caste on hillside in France

Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form, for more information.

Additional information

Details of this walking holiday

  • Includes: guided walks, entrance fee into all the castles, guided meditations, past life regressions, and Cathare initiations, transportation to and from sites, breakfast and daily refreshments in-gîte, welcome aperitif and dinner on arrival day.
  • B&B from €455 per person for 8 days


  • Discounts for solo walkers
  • Airport/train station transfers to and from Carcassonne, Bram or Toulouse
  • Half board from €560 per person for 8 days (incl. 3 course meal with wine)
  • Full board from €665 per person for 8 days (also incl. picnic or buffet lunches)

Not included

  • All other costs (such as dining out) and travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday

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Get in touch for more information about this walking holiday:

    Map of France showing the location of the Soul Journeys – Walking in the footsteps of the Essenes, Cathares & Magdalenes Mixed walking holiday

    Holiday Type:

    Guided / Self-Guided
    Walking Holiday

    Board Basis:

    Bed & Breakfast. Self-catering, half-board, and full-board options available.


    From € 455.- / 8 days
    Price per person based on 2 people sharing


    • Winter walking holiday
    • Dogs welcome
    • GPS tracks available
    • 1 One accommodation

    Dogs by prior agreement. Winter walking possible.

    What's included:

    • 7 Nights’ accommodation
    • 7 Breakfasts and daily afternoon tea/coffee/ refreshments
    • Welcome aperitif, briefing and dinner on arrival
    • 6 Guided walks, entrance fee into 5 castles, guided meditations, past life regressions, Cathare initiations, transportation to and from sites

    NOT included:

    All other costs, including travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday.

    Walking Grade:

    hills and low mountains
    • Hills to low mountains
    • Easy to moderate walking
    low and high mountains
    • Low to high mountains
    • Moderate walking


    Tailor-made walking possible

    Best time to go:

    April – November

    Contact Details:

    Soul Journeys – Walking in the footsteps of the Essenes, Cathares & Magdalenes, a Mixed walking holiday in France by Reconnecting with Nature

    Contact: Jo and Bob Norton
    Telephone: +33 468 698 136
    +33 782 719 588

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    Visit Website

    Languages spoken:

    English, French

    Getting there:

    • Carcassonne Airport (35 km)
    • Toulouse Airport (110 km)
    • Béziers Airport (145 km)
    • Perpignan Airport (155 km)
    • Bram Train Station (25 km)
    • Carcassonne Train Station (40 km)
    • Castelnaudary Train Station (35 km)
    • Toulouse Train Station (100 km)

    Location map


    We offer airport/train station transfers. Car hire and taxis (expensive) are available.


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