In the land of Cathars, you can have a refreshing swim under the watchful eye of the Château de Peyrepertuse. At the Moulin de Ribaute in Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse, the Verdouble River has carved some impressive gorges. You will find several basins and waterfalls for some water fun. And the good thing is that there is a small lake too! So, when you’re visiting the castle in the summer, it’s kind of a must to cool down at this fabulous site.
While Oldest was still studying for his final college exams, I took the twins on a quest for a good wild swimming spot. There are several places where you can swim in the Verdourle River, a small river that runs through the Pyrénées-Orientales and Aude departments. We went to the Moulin de Ribaute site, close to the Château de Peyrepertuse. Here, you will find a paid parking lot (5 euros per day) and supervised swimming from 09h30 to 18h30 during the summer months of July and August.
The Moulin de Ribaute is now a protected natural site. Victim of its success in the past, the community of Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse was filled with sadness to see their beloved swimming spot turn into a junkyard. Therefore, they decided to take action to preserve ‘their’ Gorges du Verdouble. So, no more accumulating waste, wild camping, or uncontrolled bonfires due to new rules. This might sound strict, but the gorges are so beautiful that it’s all for a good cause to protect and respect them.
Haze of tranquillity
The twins and I arrived early in the morning to find the Gorges du Verdouble slowly waking up in a haze of tranquillity. Walking past the small lake, or the water storage, and the remains of the Moulin de Ribaute, we arrived at the ‘cascades’ part. Spreading our towels on one of the rocks, we soaked up the pure landscape. The clear water playfully found its way via waterfalls into the naturally carved basins of the gorges. My girl was the first to take a plunge, as always, soon to be followed by Middle Son. I took my time, but as I slipped, I ended up sliding into the emerald green water rather quickly anyway. It was the best way to enter the refreshing river in this magical spot.