We love to talk about our adventures, and share our experiences.
We believe stories truly show the magic and greatness of a location. What we want, is to trigger people to go and discover new spots. Therefore, we gladly uncover some secrets of our favorite locations.
It is our mission, to create memorable experiences, using our local expertise and good collaboration with our supplier partners. We find it really important to personally maintain a relationship with our partners, so we can, together, with passion and creativity, focus on the client’s motivations, and create the best fit possible.
Meeuwissen, B. (2021, 19 mayo). Fam trip experience [Landscape – Fam Trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Occitania
Our trip starts early in the morning. We depart Andorra, from our French border side, enjoy the sunrise and beautiful views of the mountains of the “Circ de Pessons” at Grau Roig, before crossing the mountain pass towards Pas de la Casa. We continue, and take the road to Bourg-Madame. On our way we enjoy Pyrenean mountainous landscapes, beautiful meadows with cows and horses, and enjoy a sunny day with blue sky, some low clouds make the view idyllic and dreamy.
Escoda Meeuwissen, S. A. (2021, mayo 19). Road to Bourg-Madame – An dyllic and dreamy landscape [Landscape – Fam trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
Meeuwissen, B. (2021a, mayo 19). Bains de Dorres [Landscape – Fam trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
The trip to our first destination, Mont-Louis, was not too long (approx. 1-1,5h/55km). On our way we made a few stops to truly appreciate some highlights, such as one of the biggest solar ovens in Font-Romeu, and the roman thermal baths in Dorres, although these baths were closed now, we enjoyed a beautiful easy walk through the park and village. Easy and accessible parking, also for touring cars.
The Mont-Louis funding story
We are curious beings, and when we see a tourist office, we use the opportunity to talk with the local experts to hear about their stories and the hidden secrets of each location. The lovely team at the tourist information office of Mont-Louis, showed us the citadel, and the military compound, this visit takes approximately an hour. We enjoyed a coffee on one of the terraces in Mont-Louis and made a short walk through this fortified village, following the information panels.
Approved by Louis XIV, Mont-Louis completed the line of defenses stretching from Mediterranean Sea. The citadel is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, built in the 17th century to defend the new French border with Spain. Created from scratch by Vauban, it is a perfect example of 17th century fortified military architecture in which Vauban was able to express his creativity fully, using the resources and landscape to build a cost-reduced fortification, were soldier and civilians would live.
Meeuwissen, B. (2021, mayo 19). Citadelle de Mont-Louis [Arquitecture – Fam Trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
A tour around the citadel, tells the story of the fortress and its construction and explains in great detail the transformation process of the location, from its origin to the actuality. Most of the facts, are related to the purpose of the construction, the citadel and military compound (not accessible to the public without a tour guide).
From Mont-Louis we continued towards another Vauban city, also recognized by UNESCO:
The medieval city of Villefranche-de-Conflent
A true treasure ready to be discovered. Not only for its interest sights such as the Castle “Chateaux-Fort Liberia” or its fortification, listed as UNESCO heritage, but also for the wonderful medieval streets filled with live and artisanal products or its wonderful Catalan gastronomic cuisine. Other highlights, less than 1km from the center are Les Caves Grandes Canaletas.
These magnificent stalactite caves in the foothills of the Pyrenees amaze because of their size, fantastic beauty and magical light. Audio and light shows are carried out right under the roof of the caves.
Meeuwissen, B. (2021d, mayo 19). Confluence Montagneusse de Villefranche [Landscape – Fam trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
Meeuwissen, B. (2021, mayo 19). Chateau-Fort Liberia [Arquitecture – Fam trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
On the heights, above Villefranche-de-Conflent, majestically overlooking the medieval village and the confluence of the three valleys, you can see the outline of Fort Liberia. This “Chateaux”, ensured surveillance of the Tet valley, and, with the ramparts of Villefranche formed impressive defense.
The medieval village of Villefranche-de-Conflent, features in the list of the most beautiful villages in France. Listed as a World Heritage site because of its fortifications by Vauban, this fortified village, situated at the foot of Mount Canigou, was founded at the end of the 11th century by a Count of Cerdanya, in order to protect the valleys from invasion. It was then reinforced by Vauban in the 17th century, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659, to ensure its safety and that of Conflent.
In midst of the charming streets of Villefranche-de-Conflent, we went to meet Claude and his family at the restaurant called “Le Relais de Villefranche”. A wonderful spot, where you can enjoy good food and a cozy ambience, the sun at its beautifully decorated terrace, and/or if too much, the shadow of its canopy. The restaurant offers excellent service, big dishes full of flavor, at an affordable price. Therefore, we have set the location as a must-visit.
The visit of the fortified villages of Mont-Luis and Villefranche-de-Conflent, and their surroundings, can be done by touring car. However, we propose to travel from Mont-Luis to Villefranche-de-Conflent with the “Petit Train Jaune”, the little yellow train (please take into account that the French railway operators love to strike now and then, so we always have an alternative prepared, just in case…. if no train, then we will add an extra touristic highlight to the tour instead.
As program, we propose: Touring car to Mont-Luis, little yellow train to Villefranche, free time for a stroll through the village center, lunch at Le Relais and jeep tour plus visit of Chateau-Fort Liberia, enjoying history and views. (If no train, then add a visit to the Caves de Canaletas in Villefranche-de-Conflent or add a visit of the Citadel in Mont-Louis on our way back).
Meeuwissen, B. (2021, mayo 19). Le Relais [Gastronomy – Fam trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/
Meeuwissen, B. (2021, mayo 19). Le Petit Train Jaune [Transport – Fam trip]. Rediscovering the French Oriental Pyrenees – Post. https://www.my-woe.com/