The Abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou
In the summer of 2018, we flew into Toulouse, France and spent ten days moving around southeast France. We saw some incredible places including Carcassonne and Collioure. When we left Collioure, just north of the Spanish border, we stopped briefly in Ceret, to tour an art museum and have lunch. Our next stop was Casteil, where we planned to spend the night. Our GPS unit, which I came to hate, showed us a “best route” that took us over the tops of some of the mountains. A combination of narrow mountain roads and constant switchbacks produced beautiful views, but white-knuckle driving. I’d much rather have gone back to the auto route and taken the long way…lesson learned.
I wanted to stay in Casteil due to its promixity to the nearby Abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou. Nestled in the Pyrénées-Orientales, the original monastery located here dates to 1009. It has been added to, modified, abandoned, and restored over the centuries. What you see today is a restoration dating to the 1930s. It’s about a 45 minute walk uphill from Casteil. The path is paved, and in quite good shape.
The view from above the Abbey is fantastic, with the Abbey perched on the rocks and the valley spreading out below. We were there near sunset, and the light was quite nice.
The sun was peeking in and out of the clouds, producing some nice rays.
The Abbey wasn’t open, so we were only able to wander around the grounds. I really enjoyed the hike up to the Abbey. It was very quiet and peaceful. I briefly considered going back up the next morning for sunrise, but it ended up being very overcast.