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.
Accommodation at the Razès Gîtes
Walking in the Razès and across the Cathare hills
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.
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.
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.
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.
Breakfast, lunch and departure. A possible short walk around the Razès if flight schedules permit.
Dates and Availability
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)
- All other costs (such as dining out) and travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday