The Galamus gorges

A few kilometers north of Saint-Paul, the Gorges de Galamus are among the department’s most remarkable geological sights.
Natural heritage and historical heritage are on the program for this discovery.

An Agly masterpiece

Born at the foot of the pech de Bugarach, the Agly cuts through the limestone, sculpting spectacular and atypical morphologies.
10 million years ago, it began its erosive work and cut deeply into the rock, notching the northern flank of the great gutter that is the Fenouillèdes syncline.
Unraveling and shaping dizzying thicknesses of rock, the Agly today flows along the bottom of the gorges. The walls of this geological site, “stripped” over 5 km in length and nearly 600 m thick in places, reveal evidence of past geological history, closely linked to that of the Pyrenees.

The Agly then shaped the clue de la Fou before making its way to the Mediterranean Sea to flow into it at Le Barcarès.

Biological diversity to discover

Le site classé de Galamus, un écrin de biodiversité

The site is home to a number of remarkable plant and animal species, some of which are protected. This exceptional and fragile natural area is fully included in the Natura 2000 “Basses Corbières” zone, due to the presence of bird species (among others) that are European heritage.

By preferring hiking trails to crossing the gorges by car, and with the help of a pair of binoculars, it will be much easier for you to observe the site’s rich biodiversity.

The Balearic Cyclamen (Primulaceae family), endemic to Languedoc-Roussillon in France and the Balearic Islands in Spain, blooms between April and May at the edge of holm oak forests.

The Serpolet’s Azure, a butterfly that can be observed from mid-May to August on warm, sunny slopes, is closely linked to the presence of oregano to lay its eggs. Its populations are declining nationwide, partly due to the abandonment of extensive grazing.

The fastest bird of prey in the world, thePeregrine Falcon likes to breed on the steep cliffs of the gorges. Feeding mainly on birds, the species is highly sensitive to disturbance (overflights, drones, cliff sports, etc.), particularly during the nesting period which runs from January to the end of June.

Less colorful than its urban cousins, the Rock Swallow lives up to its name by building its nest overhanging rocks or in rock cavities, often forming small colonies. An insectivore, it is the only swallow that spends the winter partly in our latitudes.

Preparing your visit to the gorges

How to enjoy the Gorges de Galamus?

There are two ways to visit the Gorges de Galamus: by land or by water.

Walking tour of the gorge

From the car, it’s impossible to realize the depth and beauty of the place. Leave the car in one of the parking lots at the entrances to the gorges.

The walking tour allows you to discover the troglodyte ermitage of Saint-Antoine de Galamus carved into the wall of the gorges. Mentioned as early as the 15th century and surrounded by holm oaks and juniper trees, the hermitage has preserved its campanile and grotto-chapel, built in 1782 following a “miracle” cure of a sweat lodge epidemic by the inhabitants of Saint-Paul after a procession to Galamus. Having become national property in 1791, the hermitage was sold at auction. In 1843, the monks moved back to Galamus. The grotto-chapel, the hermits’ first refuge, was converted into a church in 1910 by the parish priest of Saint-Paul. Successive hermits lived there until the 1930s.

The hermitage is open March 15 to April 30 and
October 1 to November 15, 10am to 5pm

May 1 to September 30, 10am to 7pm / 04 68 73 70 98

For superb views, follow the 13 km “Gorges de Galamus” trail (5 hours / elevation gain 720m) in a loop for experienced hikers, or accessible to families if you want to hike up and down the gorges (start at the lookout parking lot or the Moulin in Cubières).

To the water!

Ideal for an outing with family or friends, whether you’re a beginner or an amateur, there’s something for everyone. Horizontal canyon, without rope techniques, and particularly fun (toboggan passages, rolls, pirouettes and bypassable jumps) everything is done to have a good time. Descents are possible between April and September and you’ll need to be supervised by a professional.

It’s also possible to discover the gorges on a supervised caving outing.

Find a canyoning / caving professional

The V81 cycle route

On vacation in Saint-Paul or Cubières? Enjoy a road trip along the V81 cycle route, visiting the gorges at your own pace and letting yourself be carried along by the canyon. For your own safety, remember to share the narrow road (départementale) with other road users…

Good to know

From Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet, follow the signs for Gorges de Galamus and continue for 5 km to the parking lot. Approximately 5 km long, the gorge road links Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet to Cubière sur Cinoble. Carved into the rock by men suspended from ropes, the road was completed in 1892 with the boring of the tunnel.

It is impossible for two vehicles to pass each other in the gorges. In summer, an alternating traffic system is put in place to make the crossing safe.

Buses and camper vans are not allowed to cross the gorges (narrow road and low ceiling).

It is recommended to visit the gorges on foot and leave the vehicle in the parking lots.
During July and August, from 11am to 7pm, alternating traffic facilitates passage through the gorges.

Continue exploring

What to do after visiting Galamus

South of Saint-Paul, towards Ansignan, the Agly has carved out the clue de la fou. The best way to explore the walls of the clue is via ferrata, which offers a magnificent panorama of the syncline and a plunging view of the gorges below (don’t miss the marine fauna fossilized in the limestone).

The gorges de la Fou cut through the Lesquerde range and open the way to all the villages of the Fenouillèdes and Conflent.

An ancient bridge spans the river and attests to the ancestral passage of men. You can see cavities of sorts, the result of rock erosion. These are the “giant’s potholes”, where, according to local legend, fairies came to wash their clothes…
In this green space, a former spa was in operation from 1906 to 1914. During this period, Saint-Paulais and tourists alike, charmed by this setting of bluish rocks, also discovered the virtues of a mineral, sulfuric, calcic, beneficial water that flowed summer and winter at 24°C.