WALK THE REGION With Christian Piquemal
CONFLENT at THE FOOT of CANIGOU
Our itinerary unwinds gently between altitudes 700m and 800m. It provides 360° panoramas over mountains as well as perspectives over the Rotja and Cadi valleys. The historical heritage is remarkable throughout with a special mention for a pre-historic dolmen and the Romanesque churches of Corneilla de Conflent, Fillols and Vernet les Bains. The oldest part of Vernet, perched on the southern side of a hill, deserves a longer visit.
Two walks are available. The shorter successively crosses both sides of the valley going to Corneilla and back. The longer takes in a detour to the charming village of Fillols.
You can also start walking from Corneilla. All itineraries are marked out in yellow paint.
Please note that times indicated only cover the actual walking as there are many worthwhile stops along the way .
Direction Prades to Villefranche de Conflent. At the roundabout in front of the ramparts, take direction Vernet les Bains. In Vernet, park anywhere near the Cadi River.
Start of walk:
From the bridge over the Cadi, direction Sahorre, to the horse riding centre, walk alongside it and turn left onto a path across woods. You meet up with the track on the crest line. Follow it to your right, passed the old Saint Clément chapel (10th -11th cent.) until you reach the dolmen. Turn 90° to the right and down across a pine forest to a little road leading to Corneilla. The 19th century castle on the right belonged to the Monfreid, a family of artists. Cross the D116 to enter the village. Once the residence of the Counts of Cerdagne and Conflent, it is dominated by the beautiful church Sainte Marie (11th -12th -13th cent.)
Walking time: 1h30 .
Back to Vernet – 1h15. Follow the main street direction Vernet then on the left take the “Cami de Sant Jaume”. After 50m, turn left up a cemented ramp between 2 houses. When you reach a small canal, cross it a few metres further on and take a steep way up to a wider track. It goes past a water tank and meanders across glades and forests to finally meet the road D27. Take it on your right. Leave it just after the small bridge and follow the path going down. Cross the metallic bridge over the river Saint Vincent to soon reach Vernet les Bains.
Total time: 2h45.< br>
Detour to Fillols – 1h40. From Corneilla, follow the road D47 along the church direction E. After 100m, turn right along the old road gently leading across fields to Fillols. The pretty Romanesque church, the little square with its refreshing fountain and the convivial “Café de l’Union” offer a rewarding break. The place is one of the privileged starting points for climbing Mount Canigou. Go to the upper part of the village and take the road D27 direction “Vernet”. Leave it when coming to a little bridge (signposted on the left). The old path “Vieux Col de Fillols” takes you over the hill and down to meet the D27 again. Follow it all the way to Vernet or take the shortcut described in option 1.
Total time: 3h10 .
Some portions of this itinerary are part of the “Chemins de St Jacques in Conflent” an exclusive 5 to 6 day guided trip led by Christian between Ille sur Tet and Font Romeu.