Cucugnan is a commune of the Aude, Occitanie region, on the edge of 39; Pyrénées-Orientales, 40 km north-west of Perpignan.
The territory of the locality of an area of 15 km² belongs to the massif of Corbières, which belongs to the middle mountain, but benefits from a climate softened by the proximity of the Mediterranean, which favors the culture of the vine.
Made famous by the tale of Alphonse Daudet which evokes a sermon of the priest of Cucugnan during which he tells a dream supposed to frighten and bring back to church his less faithful parishioners, the current village was developed in the sixteenth century under the ruins of Castle Quéribus destroyed by the Spanish in 1495.
At the foot of Mount Tauch, Cucugnan has only about 130 inhabitants but the locality has become a major tourist hub in the region. Subject of successive restoration campaigns, the castle has retained a real prestige. With the offer of cultural activities and "nature" (hikes) available in the village, not to mention its wineries, this makes Cucugnan a must.
If the existence of fortified elements previous is proved, Quéribus castle as such dates from the thirteenth century, built at some 700 m altitude. It remains the jewel of Cucugnan. An outpost southeast of Peyrepertuse Castle, which is considered to be the most characteristic of Cathar fortresses, Quéribus Castle, with a two-storey dungeon and various levels of rocky buildings, was intended to defend the collar of Maury. Only twenty men were posted there in garrison.
Built on a peak bordering a precipice high 60 m to the south, the castle passes into the domain of the kingdom of France in the mid-thirteenth century, at the end of the Albigensian Crusade, after his lord was a partisan time of the resistance Languedoc. But in border position then with Spain, the castle is destroyed in the 15th century. The treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659 which allows to connect Roussillon to France makes him lose all interest. Ruined, the castle is however classified Historical Monument since 1907 and during the last quarter of the twentieth century, restoration campaigns make it possible to revive it. The base of the dungeon is secure, and tours allow to appreciate the amazing architecture that stands on the ridge.
Considered as one of the "5 sons of Carcassonne" with Aguilar, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens and Termes, the castle can be visited all year except 25 December and 1 January. Free course (course, donjon, ramparts... without forgetting a magnificent panorama on the Pyrenees) or guided tour marked with animations. Price: from 4.50 to 9.50 euros (with shows).
In the village rebuilt at the end of the Middle Ages, to see then, the church of Saint-Julien-et-Sainte-Basilisse, rebuilt in the late nineteenth century and restored in 1991 (the oldest parish church dating back to the time Carolingian). Neo-Gothic, it houses a rare example of a statue of the Virgin represented Pregnant.
We can link this first part of the discovery of Cucugnan with the audio-visual shows offered at the Achille-Mir theater. A first film evokes the legendary "Priest's Sermon of Cucugnan". It is based directly on the work of Alphonse Daudet. The poet of Carcassonne Achille Mir will translate it later in Occitan. The story from which Daudet was inspired in 1869 was published in a more conventional manner by a Lyonnais who had heard this legend when he wanted to go to Cucugnan in 1859. Another film is devoted to the Quéribus castle and its history, and uses aerial views filmed from a drone. Every day except December 25th and January 1st. Diffusion alternately. Admission: 3.50 euros (5 euros both films). Information on +33 4 68 45 03 69 or +33 6 71 72 64 01.
One ultimate site deserves a visit: the mill of Omer (now exploited under the name of "Masters of my mill"). A first building was established in the seventeenth century, on this height surrounded by scrubland. It was rehabilitated and returned to service at the beginning of the 21st century. The original bases have been preserved: ash fenders, boxwood gears and granite wheels. A bakehouse has been built next to the mill. Visit and tasting every day in summer and from Tuesday to Sunday the rest of the year. Price: 3.50 euros. Information on +33 4 68 33 55 03.
For hikers, many tours including wine plots or peaks near the Corbières are available in a privileged environment. Maps and information on +33 4 68 45 69 40 or +33 4 68 11 66 00.
For mountain bikers, an organization offers bikes for hire and outings in groups with guide: contact +33 6 86 35 87 95.
Finally, it is also possible to choose to browse Cucugnan and its surroundings during a pleasant horseback ride. Join the RME Cathar horse farm at +33 6 84 33 74 37.
In mid-May, trail (running in nature). Several courses are proposed which have in common to finish at the foot of Quéribus Castle.
The third Saturdays of July and August, communal feast with fun and musical entertainment.
In mid-July, a three-day storytelling festival.