Monday May 16th Sournia to Caudies de Fenouilledes

What an utter pain in the arse, just discovered that the blog masterpiece I did yesterday has disappeared. Slightly dodgy wifi in the garden of the two Dutch bikers who were running the auberge in Caudies de Fenouilledes must have done for it.

The main problem I had yesterday was near starvation. It was Monday and there was nowhere to get food. French villages have just about lost all their shops and bars and the few they have seem to be shut much of the time. I read somewhere that in the sixties there was a bar in France for every 100 people, well those days have clearly gone.

The topography around here consists of a series of ridges running east to west, approaching 1000 metres high. The villages tend to sit in the wide and fairly lush valleys in between the ridges and walk is zig-zags it's way through the countryside. Yesterday it was up over the ridge from Sournia then west, away from Budapest, along the north side of the next valley, through a series of villages, then, in this case through a ridge, into the next valley.

The scenery is gorgeous. It must be the best time of year to see it and the weather at the moment is particularly good, clear, a bit sharpe and not to hot. So climbing out of Sournia I was again treated to great views of Canigou and the Pyrenees as well as the coastal plain and beyond that the Mediterranean. Going down to other side of the ridge involved a trip through a deciduous forest where the trees had only just come out in leaf.

Canigou from above Sournia

South West to the Mediterranean

The walk also involved a series of villages, firstly Le Vivier, then St Martin, then a number of houses which don't quite coalesce into a village but somehow manage three ruined Cathar castles, and then Caudies de Fenouilledes itself. Just before arriving at Caudies de Fenouilledes I was treated to a walk through the Gorge du Juame which cut through the ridge I had been walking along and took me into the next valley.

Ruins at le Vivier

Ruins at Fenouillet

The villages are very nice, the stone property has been well restored, and I suspect that a lot of the accommodation is used for second homes or for holiday lets. Ever getting hungrier I was hoping for a shop or a bar (in Spain villages this size would have had a least one bar), but no such luck.

The countryside in between the villages was great, hay meadows, vineyards, and higher up herds of cows with calves and a bull. The bulls looked pleased with life and were not going to bother themselves with an idiot carrying a large bag.

Happy Looking Charolais

Arrived at Caudies de Fenouilledes, which is a small town rather than a village, at about 4, spent half an hour trying to find the Auberge and in the meantime spotted the supermarket and boulangerie which will be open tomorrow. Total walk was 28 kilometres with about 700 metres of climb and I was well ready for my dinner when it arrived at 8.


  1. You will by now have noticed that even the smallest village shops sell those marvellous IGN maps that display your trail clearly (at least under their French numbers). They may help you to estimate the length of your next stretch.

  2. I used to live in Caudies, it's a village, just 300 people. There is no work, perhaps some wine growers. Pretty dead. Yes the country side is great and the walk from Fenouillet through the gorge is very nice and cool in the summer. Its interesting to know which auberge you stayed in ... on the road ?

    1. Can't remember the name of other auberge but it was very nice and yes near the road. Will have to go back