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My Route du Bonheur

In the land of the Cathars

Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge

+1 800 735 2478 * *Local charges apply
Five sons of Carcassonne” –these majestic fortresses dominate the land of the Cathars even to this day. As the vestiges of royal power, the castles of Puilaurens, Termes, Peyrepertuse, Aguilar and Quéribus are equally places of remembrance and resistance in the midst of the exquisite cities of Albi, Carcassonne and Prades.
Suggestion of itinerary
  • 4 hotels
  • from US$ 919.97 *
1
121 km
2
104 km
3
44 miles
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To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.


1 Albi — 1 Night
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La Réserve

Albi - France

Hotel and restaurant on a river. The Queen Mother of England made this charming hotel her base when she visited Albi, the native town of the artist Toulouse-Lautrec. In 2010, Unesco classified this episcopal city, a medieval gem constructed in red brick, a World Heritage site. Just as the royal visitor did, appreciate the gentle way of life, the spacious rooms opening onto the beautiful park, and dinners in the restaurant or terrace, with magnificent views of the river Tarn. With a glass of Gaillac in hand, discover the beauty of post-Impressionist landscapes whilst learning how Albi witnessed the birth of Catharism and, during the Renaissance, supplied pigments to the greatest painters of the age. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
20 rooms
(from) US$ 251.81
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Close to the property

Toulouse-Lautrec, an Albigensian painter

Toulouse-Lautrec, an Albigensian painter

Nestled in the striking Berbie palace, the Toulouse-Lautrec museum has the largest collection in the world of the eponymous artist’s masterpieces. A native of Albi, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is associated with the world of Montmartre, from the Moulin de la Galette to the Moulin Rouge. Yet the majority of his paintings, lithographs, drawings, and preparatory studies are located in Albi, including a remarkable set of 31 posters.

The splendid episcopal city of Albi

The splendid episcopal city of Albi

Some claim that the red bricks of the Sainte-Cécile cathedral can be seen from Rome! Built in the thirteenth century to restore Catholic authority in the region, the cathedral remains a mixture of finesse and power. Adorned in the same manner, the entire city dons its red hues above the emerald waters of the Tarn. Albi is a two-color rainbow city...

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121 km
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44 miles
2 Carcassonne — 1 Night
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Domaine d’Auriac

Carcassonne - France

Hotel and restaurant on a golf course. The Domaine d’Auriac is built on the ancient Carsac oppidum, where the story of Carcassonne, a Unesco World Heritage site, begins. For three generations, the Rigaudis Family has reinvented this 19th-century townhouse, built over the cellars of a Carolingian Abbey – ruled over by calm and fine dining in the shade of the 300-year-old surrounding park. The restaurant at the Domaine serves the original recipe for the typical local “Dieu le Fils” cassoulet. In a region where history, mysteries and legends, such as the story of Abbot Saunière’s treasure in Rennes-le-Château, abound, discover Cathare abbeys and castles whose ruins rise from cliff tops and rocky promontories. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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Key Services
21 rooms
(from) US$ 220.88
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Close to the property

Carcassonne, Europe’s largest fortress

Carcassonne, Europe’s largest fortress

With its two outer walls and its thirty-eight towers, Carcassonne is the biggest fortress on the continent! Overlooking the wine growing plain and the scrubland of Corbières, the city was beautifully rebuilt in the nineteenth century under the orders of the architect Viollet-le-Duc. His castle built in the twelfth century, its ramparts and narrow streets take visitors back to the days of the noble knights of the Middle Ages.

On the route

The castles of Termes and Peyrepertuse

The castles of Termes and Peyrepertuse

The northernmost of the "Five Sons of Carcassonne" continues to keep watch over the area. Named royal citadels, Termes and Peyrepertuse were established in the thirteenth century as an impressive line of defense against the Kingdom of Aragon. 800 m above the valley, the ruins of the Peyrepertuse castle are still impressive today. The ancient citadel was never taken...

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44 miles
3 Saint-Cyprien — 1 Night
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Hôtel Île de la Lagune Thalasso & Spa

Saint-Cyprien - France

Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Surrounded by greenery on a small private island in the lagoon of Saint-Cyprien, this contemporary hotel is a veritable cocoon enveloped by the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. Bathed in sunshine, the rooms invite you to leave your worries behind with their maritime decor inspired by Riva boats. On the roof, the year-round heated seawater pool offers a panoramic view over the entire lagoon, and the thalassotherapy spa boasts personalised treatments in an exclusive setting. At the Michelin-starred restaurant, the chef composes a seasonal Mediterranean cuisine of local products, magnified by their subtle pairings. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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24 rooms
(from) US$ 270.58
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Close to the property

The fish market at the Saint-Cyprien fishing harbor

The fish market at the Saint-Cyprien fishing harbor

Every morning between 8:00 am and noon the banks of the Saint-Cyprien fishing harbor come alive. Tourists and locals alike never miss a chance to see the ritual of the fish being unloaded right from the boats. Fresh off their vessels, the fishermen take to their stalls to reveal the Mediterranean’s best catches, from mackerel and whiting to sea bream and red mullet. Come to Saint-Cyprien for an authentic one-of-a-kind experience!

On the route

Collioure, the birthplace of Fauvism

Collioure, the birthplace of Fauvism

The pretty village of Collioure is the land of Fauvism and attracted countless artists including famous names such as André Derain and Henri Matisse. There is an indescribable light here that illuminates landmarks like the town’s old lighthouse, which these painters featured in their artwork. A gem this village built on the clear waters of the Mediterranean!

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121 km
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104 km
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44 miles
4 Prades — 1 Night
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Château de Riell

Prades - France

Hotel and restaurant on a river. In an unspoilt valley in French Catalonia, looking out at the snow-topped mount Canigou, you will find the Château de Riell, perched among parasol pines and oleander trees. This hotel is made for hedonists, with its baroque interiors and a restaurant whose highlights include lamb and seafood. Sports enthusiasts can choose from the huge range of outdoor activities against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery and the open-air pool set on the castle’s ramparts. Discerning gentlemen travellers will be impressed by the ambiance of the Out of Africa bar and the dacha, where you can sit and read or enjoy breakfast. A splendid escape in Romanesque Roussillon. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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Key Services
17 rooms
(from) US$ 176.71
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Close to the property

The castles of Aguilar, Quéribus and Puilaurens

The castles of Aguilar, Quéribus and Puilaurens

A little further south, these three castles formed the first line of defense against attackers. Quéribus, perhaps the most emblematic castle, sits on a narrow rocky peak. It is in the shade of its towers that the epic crusade against the Albigensians ended. This is also where the the last religious Cathars lived...

On the route

Canigou, the sacred mountain

Canigou, the sacred mountain

Canigou is more than a mountain, it is a true symbol for the Catalan people that celebrate it in songs and poems. Culminating at 2,784 m above sea level, its summit is the highest of the eastern Pyrenees. On clear days, it towers over part of the Pyrenees, the Roussillon plain, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. In order to ascend its peak, you must be well prepared with mountain climbing gear!

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Texts : © Gallimard Loisirs
Photos : © OT-Carcassonne, cgowson1, lecreusois