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“A must, while visiting France's Roussillon region!”

Abbaye Saint Martin du Canigou
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Casteil
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: On an eagle's nest in the heart of the Massif du Canigou, the former Benedictine Abbey of St. Martin's discretely overhangs the valley since the XI century. A unique site just waiting to be discovered by the delighted rambler, with ist bell tower, marble capitals, the vaulted abbey-church and crypt... A jewel of early Romanesque architecture typical of this region.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed July 4, 2013

Our early-morning climb up the lovely winding path, through the forest and on the mountain-side with lovely vistas of the valley far below was a treat in itself, but even if we were prepared, we were awed when the majestic Abbaye Saint Martin du Canigou suddenly appeared before us, as we turned a final corner. The monastery is stunning, not only because of its location and architecture, but also because of its lovely interior. The Abbey's location reminded us somewhat of Greece's Metéora Monasteries, perched as it is on a secluded peak in an isolated mountain range—far from secular life, well hidden in the valley far below. Its interior, however, is very European. We especially loved the relief sculptures of sheep, doves and other animals, which topped the marble columns in the ancient scriptorium, with poetic views of the peaks that surround the Abbey. We were also moved by the beauty of the Abbey's cloister, ancient crypt and abbey-church, so lovingly taken care of by the Beatitudes community for which the Abbey is home. And thanks to Sr. Claire, our learned guide, we made our visit to the also unforgettable (though very different) "Prieuré de Serrabona" a must, during our stay in France's Roussillon region!

1  Thank Carlena-3210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 - 46 of 235 reviews

Reviewed June 28, 2013

We've visited a few monastries in this area, but this is the most impressive. It is in a very secluded spot, high up in the mountains. It is accesible from the village through a very steep 2 kilometre road. It took us 45 minutes to climb up there. It still functions as a monastry., so it is a very solemn experience. We're not sure, but only the guided tour will get you inside the monastry.

1  Thank es_meijer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2012

A perfect walk up the path on a fall day to the destination of a spectacular abbaye in the mountains. If you can tackle the 300m climb on a paved pathway up the hill, the Abbaye is not to be missed. Guided tour on top.

1  Thank PortiaDaisy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

A very magnificsent (lovely) location but a bit tricky to get to. You can drive to the actual village (Castiel) beyond Vernet-Les-Bains below the abbey but it is all a bit confusing as to where to go and park. Some one-way streets (bridge) need to be ignored. We managed to park and then found the directions. Thought it was a 35 mins walk but turned out to be about 50 mins, all uphill. Don't let this put you off as this place is amazing. I have to admit that I was only interested in the views and getting photos so did not go inside the abbey or spend any money but it really was worth all the effort. As others have alluded to, the landrover shuttle looks scary with all the hairpin bends and costs money but if you are a little unfit, maybe a good idea.

Thank matthew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I wouldn't want folks to be put off by the climb. Yes, it is steep but what's the hurry. You are on vacation, right? Take your time.
We saw the 4x4 head up and have difficulty with the hairpin bends but it had no passengers to give it traction I guess. All in all I'd rather walk.
Do the tour for a nominal fee then climb up further to see the abbey in all its glory, perched on the edge of the sheer cliffs.
The reward for hiking down? A cold beer in the very conveniently placed cafe in Casteil.

1  Thank shrimper67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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