Circular family walks for children in the Pyrenees

 

Circular Walks for All the Family.  Written Guides in English.

 

3 examples of interesting, easy, family walks in the Central Ariege-Pyrenees.

 

 

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Case Walk 3: A Walk for all the Family with Great Views.

 

Near Foix, Ariege. 1 hour south of Toulouse.

Loubens - Le Pech de Limouzy

 

Use with Topo Guide 'L'Ariege ...a pied' Walk no: 17

 

 

 

 

Time/Distance: 2hours/5.5 kms Difficulty rating: GREEN

 

Start: Loubens in the centre of the village.  To find on a map: 10 minutes north of Foix off the main route D919 Foix-Toulouse.

Parking: a car park is located in the centre of the village. 

 

Difficulty: Suitable for children 10+.  There is about 300m of ascent/descent. Good walking shoes/boots are essential. Water should be carried (always June-Oct as the temperature is generally 25 degrees plus). 

 

Points of Interest:   Spectacular views of the Pyrenees range. Flowers & Butterflies. Oak woods.

 

Refreshments/Accommodation: 10 minutes from the historic medieval town of Foix, the capital/administrative centre of the Ariege Department.

Restaurants at Le Fossat 15 minutes. 

 

The walk starts in the picturesque village of Loubens, nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees, hidden from the main tourist route (D919) from Toulouse to Foix.  The route climbs out of the village up to the top of the ridge above, along the ridge line past a TV mast at the highest point, before returning to the village in an anti-clockwise loop.

 

On leaving the car park next to the tennis court in the centre of Loubens, head east out of the village past the church, in the direction of Pamiers.  At the cemetery, adjacent to the church, turn left onto the yellow way marked path leading through the trees directly up the hillside.  Follow this path upwards and to the right.  You will enter the edge of an oak wood; the path continues up and to the right following a small ridge line.  You will after about 25-30 mins come out on to a metallic road; turn left on this farm road following the sign 'Le Pech de Limouzy'.  After passing a farm on your right on a bend, 200m further on you take a signposted and yellow marked track up the side of a field and into the woods.  This track with bring you out on the top of the ridge after about another 20-25 mins.  Continue straight ahead.  You will now get fantastic 360 degrees views from the Montagne Noir to the east all the way round to Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the west.  Continue along the track up to the high point 'Le Pech de Limouzy' passing the television mast.  After a partial descent the main track bears to the left at an old ruin.  Take this track, which immediately descends; after approximately 800m the track levels out and turns right; you must continue straight on at this point; look out for a yellow VTT mountain biking sign with dots and an arrow which is attached to a tree.  Carefully follow this path observing the yellow markers that direct you back to the village which can be seen in the valley to your front.  In the village centre turn left towards the church, returning to the car park.

 

 

 

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Case Walk 1: Chateau Roquefixade

 

 

 

 

Start: Roquefixade centre of the village.  To find on a map: 20 minutes east of Foix on the D9A, just north off the main route to Lavelanet.

 

Difficulty: Suitable for children 7+.  My 4 year old daughter managed it with no problem!  There is about 300m of ascent/descent. Good walking shoes/boots are essential. Water should be carried (always June-Oct as the temperature is generally 25 degrees plus).  The descent is a little steep in places but short and not dangerous.

 

Points of Interest:   Cathar castle. Mountain views. Alpine flowers. Beach woods.  Birds of Prey.

 

Refreshments/Accommodation: The friendly Gite Etape offers refreshments

(a deserved cold beer or a cup of tea!), meals and rooms.

 

The walk starting at the village of Roquefixade, below the impressive Cathar castle of the same name, is still one of my favourites.  The village itself is pretty, nestling below limestone crags.  From the church follow the signs to the Gite Etape (behind the church) and then at the Gite turn right finding the red markers.  The path initially takes you out along the ancient Cather Way for about 500m, then turns left (now follow yellow markers), climbing up through old deciduous woodland, through giant old beach trees, eventually bringing you out on top of the limestone ridge.  Here you then get some fine views of the Pays d'Olmes mountain range and across the wide valley to the more famous Montsegur Cathar stronghold perched high on a rocky crag.  You continue along the wide ridge which opens out into grassland, with views all round, towards Toulouse and around towards Mirepoix, Carcassonne and the Black Mountains on the far horizon. In spring there is a carpet of wild flowers, with a myriad of colours, plus butterflies and hummingbird-months busily gathering pollen.  In a short while you come to a point directly above the Chateau, with more views to the high Ariege Pyrenees and back down the valley towards medieval Foix.  The castle is worth a visit

(it is free!) and is a good distraction for children who will want to scramble inside the walls - but please pay attention as there are no safety barriers and the drop from the top is a long way down!  You can ignore the castle and descend easily and quickly (it is a bit steep but not difficult) joining again the Cathar Way following the red markers to return to the village.

 

I highly recommend you take a small detour to the Gite Etape in Roquefixade for a well earned refreshment!

 

 

 

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Case Walk 2: Le cirque de Cagateille.

 

 

 

 

Start: After Saints Girons, take the D618 towards Seix-Guzet, then D3 up to Pont-de-Taule, then the D8 direction Ustou-Guzet.  On leaving Le Trein, turn right on the D38 to Bielle, Saint Lizier, Estillon.  Follow the valley towards the high mountains, after the last hamlet cross the stream and continue to the end of the road.  There is a car park 'la Peyre' and information/map. Le cirque de Cagateille is signposted from Le Trein. 

 

To find on a map: Carte de Randonnee 2048 OT Aulus-Les-Bains. Grid C10.

 

Difficulty: Suitable for children 7+. 

 

Points of Interest:   A magnificent 'hanging valley'. A pretty stream, ideal for picnics & playing.

 

Refreshments/Accommodation: There is a Gite d'Etape & bar in Bidous.

 

The walk: Leave the car park towards the high mountains/valley head, climbing for 50m up to the left following the Red/White markers towards the Le cirque de Cagateille/l'Etang de la Hillette/Port de Couillac.  Follow the path straight through the beech & oak forest for about 30 mins.  You will then leave the trees, entering an open, grassy valley with the cirque de Cagateille in front of you.  You can then sit by the stream, relax & enjoy the magnificent scenery.  The path continues up the face of the cirque, towards l'Etang de la Hillette....this is a superb, but rough & steep route...this is another story!

 

Return to the car park by the same route.

 

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                          about us    activities    accommodation    for children    foodie    snowshoeing    chemin de la liberte    contact

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M: 00 33 6 76 35 94 88