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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Fun: Walking Fontjoncuse, with degustation after

In another daytrip, we talk about the surprising, delightful, Michelin two-star restaurant, L'Auberge du Víeux Puíts, located in the remote Corbières village of Fontjoncuse. Well, for those of you worried about your waistline, you'll be glad to know there's a hike in the same picturesque location.

And when you're done with the hike -- a 1.5 hour up-and-down ramble rated "of middling difficulty," through herb-choked limestone countryside (hat, water, and sunglasses recommended) -- you can conduct a wine-tasting (degustation) at the richly-medaled and welcoming Château de Lastours. (As opposed to the richly-medaled, delicious, but rather-full-of-themselves-the-day-we-visited, Domaine Haut-Gléon, up the road.)

The hike begins at the second bridge on the D123. You'll see a lonely mailbox, a big sign for the restaurant, and a sign pointing left toward Saint Victor. That's your direction. Park in the grass. Follow the yellow paint markings. The cell phone towers are your destination; you'll hoist yourself 205 meters. There's an old, long-abandoned hermitage at the summit; as well as some unbeatable views of the area, its canyons, curves, and wind farms. This part of France is the second windiest spot in Europe; first prize goes to Scotland. (We'll stand witness. Hiking in the Scottish Highlands, we once had to cross a bare summit on our bellies to avoid being blown away.)

Time to destination: 1 hour. Time for hike: 1.5 hours. This is hike #29 in the trail guide, L'Aude, Pays Cathare...à pied.

Directions: From the house in Valros, head toward St. Thibéry. Look for blue signs directing you to the A9, the Autoroute. Take the A9 south toward Barcelona and Narbonne. Take exit (sortie) 39, first toward Portel-des-Corbières, then on the D611 toward Fontjoncouse. You'll pass big signs for Château de Lastours. Stay sharp. The turn onto D123 toward Fontjoncuse comes up suddenly on your left. There's a sign for the restaurant. Take your time. This stretch of narrow road is among the prettiest canyon drives I know.
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