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Situated in the heart of the Narbonnaise en Méditerranée regional natural park, the massif de Fontfroide extends over more than 3000 hectares to the south of Narbonne. It is an exceptional protected natural site that must be preserved.
Visiting the massif
The massif forms the first foothils of the Corbières, with nearly 55 km of tracks and paths accessible all year round. Some hiking paths have existed since ancient times, others were created in the middle ages when monks still lived in the abbey which bears the same name.
From the line of the crest, a superb viewpoint takes in the étang de Bages-Sigean and the étang de Leucate, the mediterranean coast as far as the Pyrenees and, on the other side, the vineyards of Lézignan and la Montagne Noire.
The massif, although marked by the mediterranean climate, has a particularly varied flora of great interest. The garrigue - the typical lowland scrub of the mediterranean - is adapted to the harsh climatic conditions and a unique biodiversity exists here with the fragrance of rosemary and thyme. Also to be found are different types of heather and cistus rockroses. Vines obviously have their place in the landscape, where wines of the AOC Corbières are produced by growers passionate about the cultivation of the land.
A jewel to discover: The Abbey of Fontfroide
At the last moment, the proportions and tranquility of the Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide come intio view ensconced in the calm of a wild valley. It is an astounding sight. At the foot of the massif you'll find numerous wine producers working from the ancient storehouses of the abbey. Among them: Jonquières, Aussières, Auris, Saint-Julien de Septime.
Perched on an isolated rock, the imposing silhouette of the château de Saint Martin de Toques, which once belonged to the viscounts of Narbonne, reminds you that the monks weren't the only denizens of the massif.
The massif still bears the scars of an arson attack from July 1986. Visitors are asked to respect the area by observing some elementary rules. Take your litter home. Do not smoke. Do not start fires. Do not leave glass on the ground.