The fairytale city of Carcassonne is truly mesmerising in its medieval walled perfection, but drag your attention away from its fortified beauty and you will discover that the region outside La Cité also merits exploration. Get your heart racing with some adrenaline-pumping activities in the forests and mountains around this stunning region of France.
Les Rochers de Maguelone
If you like the sound of a via ferrata (a climbing route equipped with fixed ropes and bridges), zip-wires, high-level tree-top acrobatics, and outdoor adventure circuits, get yourself to Les Rochers de Maguelone
adventure and discovery park. The park offers 18 skywalks, a 200-metre aerial rope slide, and a discovery circuit with massive slides, a 3D labyrinth, and a climbing club for children and adults.
Carcassonne Whitewater Rafting
Take to the water for some fast-flowing thrills with Carcassonne Whitewater Rafting
. The Aude River flows near Carcassonne, giving whitewater rafters two options. For intermediate class III whitewater, you can run the Gorges de St. George section, which flows near the village of Axat. A more challenging run is the gorge called the “Defile de Pierre Lys,” further up the Aude River. The Defile de Pierre Lys section has class III-IV rapids, making it ideal both for intrepid beginners and expert rafters.
O2 Aventure Parc
The O2 Adventure Park
at Lac Cavayére is a thrilling experience for all ages. You might want to think twice if you prefer to avoid heights, however: A highlight is the high-wire bridge across the edge of a lake over the treetops of the surrounding pine forests.
Canyoning is not for the faint of heart. An extreme sport that tests the body while bringing you to places of extraordinary natural beauty, it involves walking, scrambling, and hiking through ravines and gorges, scaling rocks and waterfalls, cliff jumping, and sometimes swimming in rivers and pools. Try canyoning in Carcassonne
’s gorges and ravines for a more adventurous way to explore the region.
The region around Carcassonne and the Haute Vallée is scattered with natural cliffs that are perfect for climbing, whether you are a beginner or a veteran. You can climb here all year, as most cliffs are sheltered and shaded from the hot afternoon sun. Popular cliffs include Notre Dame du Cros at Caunes Minervois, which offers 3 cliffs bordered by a small frequently dry river. Rocher Ecole de Pierre Lys has chalk cliffs ideal for all climbing styles, with abseiling courses available. Rocher Ecole du Col de Saint Louis has 100 climbs for all levels of expertise. Puilaurens is a chalk tower suitable for expert climbers only.
The Plateau de Beille is an excellent place to try dog-sledding
. A dedicated 3km piste around the plateau looks out to the stunning peaks of Andorra and onto the valley of Ax far below. With 60 huskies available, you can choose from a 3km “Balade” loop ride or a “Musher” session, in which you learn to drive and control your own team of up to 5 dogs. Once you’ve learned the basics, you will be guided through a loop of the plateau with some off piste.