Everyone should do this walk. Roquefère is the village below Labastide-Esparbairenque, home of La Muse.
1 and a half km (1 mile) and about half an hour each way.
Rocky in places, mainly woodland tracks, some tarmac. Trainers/running shoes should be fine.
Going down – 30 minutes
1. Head left out of the red retreat gate and up onto the road. Then head right, pass the bins and the parking lot until you join the main road.
2. Turn right pass the recycling and follow the main road as it curves round to the right.
3. 10 minutes from La Muse, you’ll pass the Danger falling rocks road sign. Look for the track down on the right. If you get to the black cross, you’ve gone too far.
4. Follow the trail down through the wood. When you see a sign for LABASTIDE in red and white on a tree, turn left and go down the sloping rock (see photo below). Then head straight on over the track.
5. Keep going down, pass the water trough, and follow the track around the hairpin to the right.
6. Don’t go into the meadow with the Privé signs. Instead turn left over the stream by crossing Caravan Bridge, above.
7. Carry on following the winding trail between the field on your left and the caravan on your right.
8. Cross the Billy Goats Gruff wooden slat bridge and carry straight on for a while.
9. Duck under the white gate and turn right down the main road.
10. Pass the village limits sign and follow the road as it curves round to the right.
11. Walk along next to the stream. At the bridge turn left down the road, past the rock foundations of the castle.
Sire de Cabaret (see below) restaurant comes up first on your right.
A little further on you’ll then see the entrance to lunch spot La Fenial, again on your right. There is a terrace through the painted blue door to the right of the shop. If it’s shut, press the button marked ‘Sonnez’ and the very friendly owners will pop down and open up for you. The same goes if the shop door is closed. They are always delighted to see people from La Muse!
Returning home – 35 minutes
1. Leave Roquefère. If you’ve been to lunch or dinner, this means turning left and turning left again so you walk parallel to the stream on the main road.
Yes, it should be obvious, but some of you may have had wine…
2. Pass the village limits sign and the ‘Dalek’ electricity pole on the left. A little further up you will see a white metal gate. Duck under this and take the path beyond it.
3. Ignore the path that peels off to the left down to the stream.
4. Cross the Billy Goats Gruff wooden slat bridge. Unless you had a very big lunch, the “Forbidden Bridge for all Vehicles. Danger” sign should not apply. Follow the trail as it winds round.
5. Cross the Caravan Bridge and keep right.
Follow the track around the hairpin up pass the water trough. This is where the climb starts!
6. At the T-junction with the electricity pole, turning right takes you onto the main road. To avoid the traffic, go straight across up the Sloping Rock opposite and then to the left before veering right. Look for the red letters of LABASTIDE on a white sign up on a tree then head to the right of it. You may also spot the swirly yellow on green sign lower down, which confirms you’re on the right track.
7. Follow the twists and turns up. Take a photo as an excuse to get your breath. After 5 minutes the route flattens out a little, then slopes up again.
8. Keep going and you’ll soon rejoin the D9 road. Keep walking to the left, pass the turning for the church, pass the glass recycling, then take the turn down the hill to the parking lot and then La Muse.
Walking to Roquefère at night
Going to Sire de Cabaret for an evening meal? Take torches, head torches if possible, and stick to the main D9 road. It takes about 20 minutes going down and 30 minutes coming back up.
Keep an ear and eye out for cars. Decide before you start that you will all cross to the left side of the road if there is room when a car approaches, and STOP walking, until it goes pass. Why the left? Cars coming towards you will have more chance of avoiding you than anyone racing from behind.
It helps to yell ‘Car!’ if it’s a big group. Sometimes people are so busy discussing the finer points of Kafka/if anyone has any spare pasta that they don’t pay attention.
Have fun hiking and walking!