Monday, June 22, 2009

Focus on Christian Piquemal

Christian is a professional English speaking local guide. His
walking tours provide a large and varied display of destinations in
French and Spanish Catalonia. The programmes are flexible and
adapted to all levels and interests.
Find more information on

Samples of his one day tours are as follows :

Walk one :

1000 Years of harmony between Man & Nature
1 full day - 4 to 5 h walk

One of the least known areas in Catalonia, Alta Garrotxa is a wonderful sanctuary for nature and historical heritage. It provides dramatic scenery from karstic gorges to rolling hills and emerald green rivers. Ancient footpaths lead to Romanesque churches, medieval bridges and isolated farmhouses.

2 programmes are available:
* GORGES of SANT ANIOL - The itinerary follows a deep valley at the foot of limestone cliffs with successive crossings of the river. It finally reaches the idyllic setting of the 11th century hermitage of Sant Aniol. To go back, the easy way goes the same way. Hikers may fancy going back on a vertiginous path over the cliffs.
* From OIX to BEGET - Both villages were (and still are) favourite stop-over for travellers throughout centuries. Footpaths are ideally designed, offering panoramas over the legendary peak of Bassegoda and the Costabona mountain range. The renowned village of Beget is classified as “National Monument of Catalunya”.

People opting for a 2-day trip can stay for the night either in Oix or Beget where first class b&bs and good food are available.

Walk two:

Balcony over the Tet Valley
1 full day - 6 h walk with no hurry

This is one of the most appealing walks in Conflent. The quiet atmosphere, wild environment and variety of landscapes turn this trail into an unforgettable experience.

Meeting point at the train station in OLETTE to embark on the legendary “Petit Train Jaune” for a unique 50 mn trip on the highest railway line in France.
From La Cabanasse, the group walks to the fortified of MONT-LOUIS, Vauban’s architectural 17th century masterpiece.
Walkers then step on the GR10 before diverting on the ancient Roman “Via Confluentana” overlooking the suspension bridge “Pont Gisclard”. The guide takes the opportunity to tell the story of the railway line, an incredible achievement of the early 20th century.
A steep path leads to the village of SAUTO and its medieval church where walkers reach the famous “Route Vauban”.
At the altitude of 1900 m, a large plateau covered with meadows and forests of pine trees provides spectacular panoramas over the mountain range from Canigou to Puigmal.
After lunchtime, a mule’s path leads straight down to the remote hamlet of LLAR and the beautiful stone-built houses of CANAVEILLES.
The easy going last hour offers more views over small villages in the valley and a final drop down to the river Tet and Olette for well deserved refreshments.

A welcoming b&b is available in Olette for those aiming to complete Vauban’s Route with a second day across the Nature Reserve of Jujols to VILLEFRANCHE de CONFLENT.

Christian is also organising a weeks walking in Mallorca in Spring 2010. More details can be found on his website :

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