A few kilometres west of the castles of Peyrepertuse and Quéribus, on the border of the communes of Saint-Paul de Fenouillet in the Pyrénées Orientales and Cubières sur Cinoble in the Aude, the site of the Gorges de Galamus is spectacular.
Between natural and cultural heritage, one can discover the natural refuge of the hermits who succeeded one another until the 1930s.
The mountain air prevails with its valleys to the north on the Aude side and the Mediterranean breeze on the Pyrénées-Orientales side caresses the south with its garrigues and vineyards.
Several protected species of flora and fauna gravitate around this site such as the Golden Eagle or the Great Horned Owl.
Taking its source at Camps sur Agly, the waters of the Agly, river of the Eagles, have dug this impressive canyon on a height of several hundred meters, about 500 meters.
The Road of the Gorges of Galamus
It is a testament to human prowess and ambition, built at the end of the 19th century, carved out of the rock at the crowbar by a handful of workers suspended from ropes.
Beyond the economic reasons invoked for such an undertaking - to facilitate the exchange of goods at the fairs of Saint Paul de Fenouillet (vegetables, wood and cereals, in exchange for wines and oils) which are the only outlets for many villages in the Corbières - it was also to respond to a challenge that these Gorges were throwing down to man.
The road was completed in 1892 by the tunnel at the entrance to the Gorges on the Saint-Paul de Fenouillet side.
The Hermitage of Saint Antoine
It was around the 14th century that hermits came to isolate themselves in the natural caves of the Gorges, placing the site under the protection of Saint-Antoine.
The hermitage, built in a natural cavity in the cliff overlooks the Gorges canyon.
The buildings seem to be present as early as 1395.
The 19th century was that of the affirmation of the religious vocation of the Hermitage.
Several hermits succeeded one another maintaining the place, constructing buildings, instituting the vows bell, receiving the Easter and Pentecost processions.
The hermits would have succeeded one another at Galamus until about 1930, giving a spiritual dimension to the site.
To get there, you have to follow the small path that crosses small plots connected by stairs.
The chapel cave was the first hermit's refuge as early as the Middle Ages and was converted into a church in 1910 by the parish priest of Saint-Paul.
A magnificent plane tree stands on the hermitage square... In one of the caves, a natural basin collects some of the run-off water and a few rooms, witnesses of vows made or not made. Vows that would be granted by the bell of the hermitage, especially those concerning weddings.
In a small reinforcement, the tomb of Pierre Verdier, a hermit who died during the harsh winter of 1870, was dug by himself, who wished to remain in this place forever.