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Spain/France

From Languedoc to Catalonia Through the Pyrenees: A Cross-Border Discovery

Program No. 21705RJ
Explore the French and Spanish Pyrenees, discovering pristine wilderness, medieval villages, Cathar history and Romanesque architecture in this unique region of Europe.

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At a Glance

Be inspired by the gorgeous mountain landscapes of the Pyrenees and delve into the distinct but equally fascinating cultures that evolved on either side of these peaks on a discovery of southern France and Catalonia. Time stands still in the medieval villages and Romanesque castles of this sun-streaked land where the crags and peaks of the Pyrenees hold treasures of history and culture awaiting your discovery. Walk in the footsteps of Moliere at Pezenas, touch medieval castle walls defended by the Cathars in Carcassone and taste the wines of Languedoc and the cheeses of Catalonia while local experts cast light on one of Europe’s most intriguing regions.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
2-3 miles of walking on some days. There are several days with visits to villages and castles with cobblestones, uneven surfaces and very steep steps and inclines.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn about medieval Cathar history during engaging lectures and visits led by local experts.
  • Venture into the Spanish Pyrenees and learn about the unique flora and fauna of the area.
  • Meet at the home of a local artisan cheesemaker and taste some of the family's regional cheeses.

General Notes

Some departures of the program are accommodated in Arties, instead of Vielha.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Emma Christie
Emma Christie started leading U.S. and European educational groups 12 years ago and has since worked across Europe. She has traveled widely throughout Europe and Central America and is fluent in Spanish. A former English teacher and a graduate of medieval history and literature, Emma left her role as a news reporter with the UK's top-selling regional daily to focus on travel and writing thriller novels. Emma currently divides her time between her home in Barcelona and her native Scotland.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Emma Christie
Emma Christie View biography
Emma Christie started leading U.S. and European educational groups 12 years ago and has since worked across Europe. She has traveled widely throughout Europe and Central America and is fluent in Spanish. A former English teacher and a graduate of medieval history and literature, Emma left her role as a news reporter with the UK's top-selling regional daily to focus on travel and writing thriller novels. Emma currently divides her time between her home in Barcelona and her native Scotland.
Profile Image of Tony Muldoon
Tony Muldoon View biography
After graduating with a master’s in Hispanic Studies in 1993 from the University of Glasgow, in his native Scotland, Tony Muldoon came to live and work in the mountains of Andalusia — first in the Sierra Nevada and now the Serrania de Ronda. He leads trekking and cultural programs all over Spain, Portugal and Morocco as well as cultivating olives and almonds on his smallholding. His passion for the history, culture and landscapes of his adopted home is heartfelt.
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Fran Valle View biography
With a degree in archaeology from the University of Oxford, Fran combines his work as a research archaeologist with education on and off the university campus. Fran loves to share his passion for everything historical, his love of food and his enthusiasm for his native Spain, as well as his travels throughout Europe, and he is always ready to share some laughs and recipes. Fran considers the world his favorite classroom, one he is never tired of attending.
Profile Image of Elena Lomban
Elena Lomban View biography
Elena Lombán was born on the Atlantic coast of Galicia, Spain. After living in the U.S. for several years, she began leading educational programs in 2006. She is an English teacher and licensed Galicia expert, passionate about education and travel while sharing her knowledge of linguistics, literature, history, and art. Fluent in Spanish, Galician, English, Italian, and French, Elena has traveled throughout Europe and North America. She loves the thrill of meeting Road Scholars for each new learning adventure and living life to the fullest.
Profile Image of Meritxell Centeno
Meritxell Centeno View biography
Meritxell Centeno has a background in communication and environmental journalism, in addition to qualifications as a licensed mountain guide and regional expert, specializing in Romanesque art and Pyrenean history and culture. As president of the local guide association for the Aiguestortes National Park, she is actively involved with the local community and is enthusiastic in her goal of researching, preserving and promoting the rich culture of the Pyrenees. In addition to her native Catalan and Spanish, Meritxell is fluent in English, French, and Italian.
Profile Image of James McDonald
James McDonald View biography
James McDonald is a mathematician and nonfiction writer. He was educated at University College, Oxford and holds an M.A. from Oxford University and an M.Sc. from Sussex University. He writes on topics including the Cathars of the Languedoc, the Counts of Toulouse, Occitania, Medieval warfare and the Medieval Inquisition. His work is characterized by combining serious scholarship with an entertaining style. He is currently the châtelain of a late Medieval castle in the South of France, listed as a Monument Historique by the French Government.
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