At 10.00am on a beautifully clear day, we assembled at the col de Creu between Matermale and Sansa for the second of our winter snowshoe walks.
Our previous walk in the valley of Planès had been a great success so this time we had planned a bbq at the unguarded refuge les Estagnols, on the slopes of the Madres peak.

At 10.00am on a beautifully clear day, we assembled at the col de Creu between Matermale and Sansa for the second of our winter snowshoe walks.
Our previous walk in the valley of Planès had been a great success so this time we had planned a bbq at the unguarded refuge les Estagnols, on the slopes of the Madres peak.

This French tradition of serving a frangipane filled tart known as the ‘galette des rois’ (or the ‘gateau des rois’ in the South of France) on, or around the 6th January, (the first Sunday of each New Year) actually dates back to the 14th century.

After the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, the Catalan territories of the Vallespir, Conflent, Capcir, the valley of Le Carol, and 33 northern villages of the Cerdagne were transferred to France. The disgruntled Spaniards made regular and damaging raids over the new frontier, and the king’s military engineer Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban designed a new fort at the crossroads of the Conflent, Capcir and Cerdagne to defend the border. Named after King Louis X1V, it is said that he chose the position of Mont Louis based on the good health and fine teeth of the inhabitants of nearby villages!