Be prepared for company when you hike up the loaf-shaped hill overlooking Oms for a sunset apero or picnic, because friendly goats with Vogue hair will gladly share their paradise with you. The path up La Calcine is steep in parts but the spectacular 360° views are more than worth the effort.

Goat 2

Oms is off the tourist grid and nestles in a cradle of pastures and forests twenty minutes out of Céret. Wide sand tracks and sanglier paths wind between the cork and green oak trees that cover the hills and vales around the village, and low dry stone walls still crisscross some of the steeper slopes. Man may have abandoned the terraces where vines and vegetables once grew, but Mother Nature thrives in this hidden corner of the Aspres.

Calcine

From Le Boulou, take the D115 towards Céret, turn right just before the Pont de Diable in Céret then follow signs to Oms. (See inset for detailed directions to the path.)

La Calcine rises a mere 100 metres above Oms and is sprinkled with fragrant potpourri (it is autumn after all!): lavender and thyme, wild roses and cistus. The path takes you past a sheer cliff, where limestone was once mined, and is strewn with chalky rock that crumbles in your hand.

As you sip your aperitif at the top, the setting sun drenches the sky in Matisse reds and oranges, from the Corbières in the north to the Albères in the south. On a clear evening, the Cathar fort of Queribus can be seen jutting out of the Corbières skyline.

Calcine

The Mediterranean glistens on the horizon, and with half-closed eyes, you might see shadows of prehistoric mouflon and tahrs, wild horses, bison, deer and reindeer flitting across the sprawling Roussillon plains.

Mount Canigou quietly surveys this kingdom, first in a vermillion cloak worthy of a monarch, then as the sun disappears softer veils of grey and blue, more suited to a monk, bedeck the sacred mountain of the Catalan people.

Calcine

Aim to start the hike a good 1-1½ hours before the sun goes down, and head back to the car thirty minutes or so after sunset so the fading light can guide you – but pack a torch just in case the view and wine entice you to stay longer than is sensible!

How To Get There


♣ Time needed: about 20 minutes from Céret to Oms by car, and a further 30-40 minutes to hike up La Calcine.
♣ From Le Boulou, take D115 to Céret.
♣ Before Pont de Diable (at the start of Céret) – turn right into D615 following Oms/ Llauro sign.
♣  After about 7.5 kms, turn left into D13, at Oms sign.
♣ After another 3.7 kms, turn sharp right into a road that hairpins back, marked with three colourful signs. The middle yellow one is where you’re going: La Calcine. If you see the Oms village sign, you’ve gone too far.
♣ Take third road to left, immediately after the cemetery road.
♣ 600 metres later, park your car on the left hand side of the road in a small slipway leading to a track with a “gate” if strands of wire can be called a gate! It might be electrified if cattle are out to pasture so take care. Hop over, or go through it, making sure to close it after you.
♣ Follow the path as it climbs through cork oaks, past a children’s drawing on a board about flowers, and continue through thickening scrub and trees. A good 25 minutes after the electrified gate, the path forks, but both upper and lower options end at the top. Cow patties are a good sign you’re on the right track!
♣ Once you reach the flat crest of La Calcine, build a pile of rocks to mark the path as in the darkening light, you may not find it easily!

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