Castelnou, perched on a rocky outcrop tucked into the rugged landscape of the Aspres mountains in Pyrenees-Orientales, is counted as one of les plus beaux villages de France, and on a sunny day one can easily see why. The almost flat pinkly-tiled roofs of the village are clustered round the base of the square white edifice of the 10th century castle, and in the distance can be seen the snow-whitened cap of the Pic de Canigou.


The castle today hosts a restaurant, a wine cave and an exhibition hall, and the pretty vine covered streets are home to various artisans and interesting shops.

Castelnou is the starting point for an annual 100 kilometre race across the mountains; the "Grand Trail du Canigou", and the starting gun is fired at night, with the competitors running by the light of little head-torches.

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