Panier of Plenty

A vulture’s nest

Albera Viva Randonnée. Sunday 16th December. Sorède – Roc
de les Medes – Ultréra – Chapelle, Notre Dame du Château

Forge Catalane, Le Martinet

Forge Catalane, Le Martinet

The forest, glowing

The forest, glowing

Further up the path

Further up the path

Font des Miracles

Font des Miracles

High in 'les Albères'

High in ‘les Albères’

A little companion

A little companion

Winding our way high into the hills that form the Vallée ˙
Heureuse, we soon enjoyed a bird’s eye view that stretched
along the Côte Vermeille towards Perpignan and encompassed
Canigou and the chain of the Pyrénées. Mt Bugarach and the
Corbières were visible in the distance, thanks to the crystal
clear 17ªC day – perfect for a randonnée.

Looking towards Canigou

Looking towards Canigou

Valley below

Valley below

Perched on a rock, with Argelès-sur-Mer clinging to the
Mediterranean coast below, le Château d’Ultréra’s name is
derived from ‘vulture’. Lower ramparts, with their stones in
‘arête de poisson’ or ‘fish bone’formation, date to the 6th
Century, yet its origins are Roman.

Visigoth ramparts

Visigoth ramparts

Château d'Ultrera

Château d’Ultréra

Unstable ruins

Unstable ruins

Excavations, Visigoth dwellings

Excavations, Visigoth dwellings

Transformed into a Visigoth stronghold, the site changed hands
throughout many ages until finally being destroyed, upon the
signing of the Treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659 – due to its
strategic defensive position as it could just as easily be
used for the eye of the ‘enemy’, the enduring legacy of the
frontière, as layer upon layer of settlement marks the passage
of the ‘possessors’ of this terrain.

Now in Roussillon, the only reminder of its former grandeur is
inside Notre Dame du Château, just below the château’s towering
edifice in the shadows of the mountain. Having already survived
its move to safety and then fire, the chapel’s altarpiece and
side entrance marbles allow a glimpse of the age of the seigneurs
of the region.

Marble, Northern entrance

Marble, Northern entrance

The château represented

The château represented

Chapel altarpiece, restored

Chapel altarpiece, restored

View towards château

View towards château

Canigou ever-present

Canigou ever-present

Clouds, as we descend

Clouds, as we descend

Advertisements
This entry was published on December 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm. It’s filed under Architecture, Catalan, Environment, Europe, Expat, Forest, France, French Culture, Hiking, History, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Leisure, Life, Lifestyle, Mediterranean, Nature, Photography, Pyrénées, Randonnées, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Spain and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: