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Quillan travel guide

Photo of Quillan

Visit Quillan (Occitanie, France)

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Quillan is situated in the south of the Aude department and south of Carcassonne, in the region often referred to in tourist literature as 'cathar country'.

Set in the centre of a circle of mountains at an altitude of 300 metres, it is the scenery and Cathar history that will attract you to this part of the country, and Quillan itself is a pleasant town to explore and also quite a good size which makes it an excellent base for exploring Cathar country.

Exploring Quillan

Quillan lies on the edge of the River Aude and has various squares in which you can sit and stop for a coffee or lunch.

castle ruins above Quillan village

The highlight of Quillan is to cross the old bridge, an attractive stone arched bridge built here in the 12th century to replace an even older wooden bridge, and look at the long line of riverside dwellings. These are interesting tall narrow houses and you get a backdrop of the Pyrenees foothills behind and the fast-flowing river below. Very nice.

The Place de la Republique is adjacent to the old bridge over the river. It is a pleasant spot to stop for a coffee and watch more adventurous souls head down the river in their canoes or kayaks. Around the Place de la Republique many of the straights streets still follow the layout that was used when the bastide of Quillan was established in the 13th century.

On the other side of the river is the Chateau de Quillan. This was built to a very simple design in the 12th century then extensively fortified in the 14th century to defend against Aragon incursions - at that time Quillan was on the border between France and Spain. Much of the stone has been taken away and used for building the local houses but the base part of the castle remains and looks over the Place de la Republique.

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The strangest building in Quillan is the Tourist Information Office which used to be a bath house. It has quite a Moorish feel to it.

The church in Quillan is an attractive one with a tall square tower and a round section all built of stone from the river giving it almost a pebbled finish, and a pieta statue above the entrance. The church was built in the 14th century in the roman style, but because of a 17th century renovation and a 19th century enlargement to the church, there is not much to see of the original roman structure.

canoeing on the Aude river in Quillan

Attractions nearby

Quillan is a popular centre for anyone interested in water sports such as white-water rafting or kayaking. The town is also next to the very scenic Gorges de l'Aude.

Other highlights within easy reach are the cathar castles at Peyrepertuse and Queribus to the east, and the village of Camon to the north-west of Quillan (Camon is officially one of the most beautiful village in France).

You can find more travel ideas in the Aude guide and the Languedoc-Roussillon guide.

See also: 

Photos of Quillan

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Map of Quillan and places nearby

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Visit near Quillan with France This Way reviews

Gorges de l'Aude

Gorges de l'Aude

The Gorges de l'Aude are a scenic highlight to explore close to Carcassonne

Gorges de l'Aude guide
Rennes-le-Chateau

Rennes-le-Chateau

A small village with lovely views, it is also the legends associating Rennes-le-Chateau with the Holy Grail that attracts many visitors here

Rennes-le-Chateau guide
Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-les-Bains

Rennes-les-Bains is a traditional spa town in the Aude countryside

Rennes-les-Bains guide
Chateau de Puilaurens

Chateau de Puilaurens

Castle Puilaurens is a Cathar castle of France in a beautiful mountain location

Chateau de Puilaurens guide
Alet-les-Bains

Alet-les-Bains

The abbey ruins are the most imposing monument in Alet-les-Bains but be sure to explore the town to discover the other highlights

Alet-les-Bains guide
Limoux

Limoux

The small town of Limoux is best visited in late spring to enjoy the Carnival of Limoux, one of the oldest and best known carnivals in France

Limoux guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Aude

Address: Quillan, Limoux, Languedoc-Roussillon, 11500, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 42.8742, longitude 2.18253

Plan your visit to Quillan, Aude

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Gorges de la Pierre-Lys: site of natural beauty (5 km)
  • Fontaine Intermittente de Fontestorbes: site of natural beauty (20 km)
  • Limoux: recommended detour (21 km)
  • Camon: most beautiful village (24 km)
  • Gorges de Galamus: site of natural beauty (25 km)
  • Gorges de l'Orbieu: site of natural beauty (26 km)
  • Mosset: most beautiful village (27 km)
  • Eus: most beautiful village (34 km)
  • Prades: recommended detour (35 km)
  • Villefranche-de-Conflent enceinte / fort (Vauban fortifications): heritage site (35 km)
  • Villefranche-de-Conflent: most beautiful village (35 km)
  • Eglise de Sainte Marie de Marcevol (Arboussols): religious monument (35 km)

Market days in Quillan, France

Regular market(s) are held in Quillan each Wednesday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Quillan (Francais)

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