For approximately 1 ½ hours, we wound up and around the mountains and eventually on the final approach were creeping up incredibly narrow roads with sheer drops down into the valley. This is not a drive for the faint of heart! I was so glad Denis was driving as Chateau de Quéribus came into our view.
Once parked, we paid our admission of 5.50€ and started the trek (about 10 mins) up to the top of the hill upon which the castle ruins sit. It is hard to believe that in the 10th century people were able to bring materials up these hills and build a magnificent structure upon the top of a rock that has withstood the elements even until now.
This castle is one of the “Five Sons of Carcassonne” that were created as defensive points against the crusade of the Albigensians. It really is like walking into an imaginary time since it is so well preserved. You can see how life was conducted during that era while wandering through the Gothic style halls and up the narrow circular staircases.
The terrace at the top of the tower, reaching 728 metres, gives you an unbelievable view of the Pyrenees and the village of Cucugnan below. The mountains stretch for miles around and you can also see one of the other castles Peyrepertuse, sitting tall, strategically positioned amongst the hills. It was just awesome!
After marveling at the incredible structure, relics and views, we came back down and visited the charming village of Cucugnan. This pretty town has a working windmill (Le Moulin d’Omer), ancient fortifications and walking tours that invite you to visit the buildings of the picturesque village. This is a lovely spot to visit. See this link to the village's website: http://www.cucugnan.fr/fr/queribus-cucugnan/accueil
On our way back home we talked about the wonders of this incredible area and happened upon a sign that showed symbols of the region being known for castles, grapes and wine. Loosely translated it means "It's all about the wine." Oh, what more could you want from life?