We have spent all the time so far in Tet valley. So we decide to have a look on the neighboring Tech valley. To get there we drive to Prades and further to Ille sur Tet. Shortly before Ille sur Tet we turn to the right by the road that goes up in the mountains. At first we visit Seratonna abbey. To reach it we have to turn to the right again and follow uphill for some 4km a steep dead-end road. We are there at 9am. Unfortunately the abbey opens at 10am. Fortunately we find there a beautiful botanic garden.
We explore the garden and then move forward to Tech valley. The first sight we head to is Gorge de la Fou – a very popular sight indeed. We are there shortly after the opening time but we are not the first ones in the car park. In no time the first tourist couch arrives – so we better hurry to the entry of the gorge. Gorge de la Fou is couple of km long, some 100m high and very narrow. At the narrowest section of the gorge the branches of the trees from the opposite edges meet. There are over-hangs with some nice stalactites.
We go by the metallic plank-ways and ladders fastened to the cliffs some 5 meters above the stream. The stones of different size have been falling (and are falling) into gorge. The larger ones have transformed the gorge into cave in some places. There is a double grid above our heads. The one with larger meshes protects against the larger stones. The other one – against the smaller ones. The helmet everybody gets when entering the gorge is meant to protect from the smallest stones.
The next stop is Prats-de-Mollo. This is last town before the Spanish border. The town is fortified and has a stronghold up the hill – very much the same as the Villefranche de Conflent. This is not a surprise because both are built by the same man – Vauban.
We climb up to the fortress to find that it opens at 2pm – means we should have wait an hour. We decide to explore it from outside instead. We enjoy the gorgeous views on the town below and then move down to find the subterranean stairway similar to that of Villefranche. Unlike the latter the stairway here is not subterranean in fact – it is just a concrete tunnel covered with earth.
Down in the town we explore the streets and the fortifications. The town resembles Mosset in some extent.
Next we turn homeward (I mean Fillols). On a way back we make a stop to look at old city and abbey of Arles-sur-Tech, then drive through Amelie-les-Bains and have a look at buried in flowers village of Pallaldo. Then – back to Tet valley. We drive another road – closer to Canigou to have a look from opposite side. And we are rewarded. Views are stunning indeed – to the Canigou and to the valley. When in Tet valley we drive through huge vineyards and orchards of apricots.
Tomorrow we go to Carcassonne, London and then back home.