Châteaux de Lastours - Gouffre Géant de Cabrespine - Dolmen du Palet de Roland

Highway map: Aude/Pyrenees-Orientales or Languedoc-Roussillon
Map to Châteaux de Lastours and Gouffre Geant.

Leave Caunes Minervois (1) following signs for Carcassonne. Just outside Carcassonne, you will reach a roundabout; take the D101 toward Conques-sur-Orbiel and the Châteaux de Lastours. Skirt the town of Conques-sur-Orbiel, and follow the D101 along the Orbiel River to Lastours (2) (20 min). Park in the public lot at the entry to Lastours and walk along the road to the entrance to the park (marked "Accueil," under the high smokestack). Allow 2 hours to visit the castles; more if you plan to picnic.

Leaving Lastours, follow the D101 back toward Conques-sur-Orbiel, then turn left onto the D111 just past the hamlet of Moulin d'Artigues. Cross the one-lane bridge over the Orbiel, and continue on the D111 to Villeneuve Minervois. When you arrive in Villeneuve, turn left at the T-junction onto the D112, following signs to Cabrespine. Continue through the tree-lined main street of Villeneuve, and up the canyon of the Clamoux River toward Cabrespine. Immediately before reaching the village of Cabrespine, turn left at the sign for the Gouffre Géant and climb the steep hill to the parking lot (3) (35 min). Allow 45 minutes to visit the Gouffre.

Leaving the Gouffre Géant, return to Villeneuve Minervois on the D112 (4) (10 min). Stop at the Château de Chanoines tasting room, on your right just as you enter Villeneuve, to sample their red Minervois, sweet dessert wine, and whatever else strikes your fancy.

For lunch, try the 13 € weekday menu (17 € weekends) at the Auberge de Clamoux in the center of Villeneuve (open noon-2PM).

Leaving Villeneuve, follow the D111 toward Caunes Minervois. Just past the Cabaret wine cave, turn left following the small sign for Pujols de Bosc. Follow this one-lane road to the parking area for the Dolmen du Palet de Roland (5) (less than 10 min). Allow 30 minutes to visit the two dolmens on this site.

Leaving the dolmens, return to Villeneuve and turn left onto the D111 toward Caunes Minervois. You will soon reach the D11; turn left toward Caunes, and then left toward Caunes at the Y-junction onto the D620. Take the second driveway to your left after the Y-junction, following the sign for Villerambert Julien; the Château is beautiful and the wine excellent (6) (10 min).

Leaving Villerambert Julien, turn left onto the D620 and return to Caunes (5 min).

Contact Information and Opening Hours

Location Telephone # Opening Hours
Châteaux de Lastours +33 (0)468-77-56-02 Jan: closed; Feb-Mar, Nov-Dec: 10-17 weekends; Apr-Jun, Sep: 10-18; Jul-Aug: 9-20; Oct: 10-17
Gouffre Géant de Cabrespine +33 (0)468-26-14-22 Jan-Feb, Dec: Closed; Mar, Nov: 14-17:30; Apr-Jun, Sep: 10-12, 14-18; Jul-Aug: 10-18; Oct: 10-12, 14-17:30
Château de Chanoines +33 (0)468-26-13-61 Jan-May, Sep-Dec: 10-12, 14-18; Jun-Aug: 10-20
Auberge de Clamoux +33 (0)468-26-15-69 12-14, 19-21; closed Thursdays and Fridays
Dolmen du Palet de Roland (none) Open site - park and walk
Château Villerambert Julien +33 (0)468-78-00-01 Jan-May, Oct-Dec: 9-11:30, 13:30-18:30 weekdays; Jun-Sep: 9-11:30, 13:30-18:30 every day

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