Nebias is a typical French village with about 300 inhabitants.
The village is situated in an area of outstanding beauty 600 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains. The area has a rich vegetation and an exceptional bird- and wildlife. From Nebias there are many bicycle-hiking and bridle paths of different lengths. In the village there is a school, a church, a restaurant, a bar, a playground, a tennis court and a football ground.
The area around Nebias is not well known to most people. An undiscovered beauty , characterized by unspoiled nature with mountains, ruins of old medieval castles, plateaus, forests, vineyards, caves, lakes and rivers - fantastic scenery - and as a bonus, exceptional local hospitality.
SWIMMING AND FISHING
5 minutes drive from Nebias is a swimming lake, where sand has been put out to make a sandy beach. Here is also a life guard and a small restaurant + a kiosk, tennis court and a playground. Very child-friendly.
A much bigger swimming lake is Lac Montbel. Here you can buy a fishing license for the lake (20 minutes drive). You can also fish in the rivers, where you can swim too. Jumping into the rivers from ledges is very popular here. The currents in the river can be powerful, so this pleasure is not for young children.
In the spring and the autumn we prefer to drive ½ hour to Rennes le Bain, a health resort with mild geothermal water in an outdoor pool.
Quillan (9 km.) has a public swimming pool.
The Mediterranean is 1 hour drive from Nebias.
Gorges de Galamus
In some places the rivers over thousands of years, have made deep gorges in the mountains. One of the most beautiful areas of gorges is Gorges de Galamus (40 km. from Nebias). In the bottom of the gorge, the river has formed small natural lakes, where you can swim.
TRAIN RIDES OVER THE MOUNTAINS
Close to Gorges de Galamus you can find the old mountain railway with the yellow train, “Le Train Jaune”, one of the highest railways in Europe. An unforgettable trip, where the train go through gorges and crosses viaducts, to the hights in the Pyrenees up to 1600 meters above sea-level.
Less than one hour’s drive from Nebias is one of the greatest attractions in France La Cité de Carcassonne - a Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s one of the biggest and best preserved fortifications from the Middle Ages. Beautifully situated on a hilltop is the whole town, La Cité de Carcassonne with with about 120 inhabitants, surrounded by 3 kilometers of walls, 52 towers and fortresses, which are gently restored.
Every year 2 million tourists visit La Cité, which makes it one of the most popular attractions in France. Here you can find many little shops with special and different souvenirs, cafes and restaurants. Every year in June, July and August la Cité turns into a spectacular festival with knights, fair maidens, buskers, horses and tournaments. Free entrance !
Middle age “Château” at the top of a 1200 m. mountain. . After the crusade in 1209, Montségur became the last bastion of the Kathares, who believed in a humble lifestyle and criticized the katholic church. In 1243 French forces besieged the castle. The 400 kathares hold out in 10 months before they surrended, whereupon most of the kathars were burned at the stake at the foot of the mountain. You can climb the steep mountain in about ½ hour. At the top, there is a fantastic view over villages, farms and mountaintops. bestige det stejle bjerg på ca. ½ time.
The most popular museum in the area is “Le Musée des Dinosaures d’Esperaza (15 minutes from Nebias. Several well-preserved skeletons of pre-historical animals have been found in the area, and supplemented by finds from other places, have been gathered together in a well-run museum. Here you can follow the work of the archaeologists cleaning and preserving the bones.
In the same building you can find a hat-museum “Musée de Chapellerie d’Esperaza”, as Esperaza in the previous century was a centre for the manufacture of fine handmade hats, which were exported worldwide. In the museum, there is a little hat-factory, where hats are still produces. Free entrance !
There are also other museums : an archaeological museum “Musée Archéologique, a museum of musical instruments “Musée de Quercorb” and a Cathar museum “l’espace Cathare”.
A mecca for tourists in the Pyrenees are the huge caves in Niaux, with 25.000 year old mural painting of mammoths, deer, bears, horses and oxes. Absolutely worth seing. A museum is attached to the cave. Visits to the cave must be booked in advance. (1 hour drive from Nebias).
Geuffre Géant de Cabrespine is one of the largest caves in the world, which is open to the public. An impressive cave with long paths and bridges over lakes. At the end of the cave, there is a spectacular light show with music.
In Villefrance-de-Conflet are 3 caves of different sizes : “Les Grandes Canalettes”, “Les Canalettes” and the smallest “La Cova Bastera” .
RENNES LE CHATEAU
This village with about 100 inhabitants could have been a very sleepy place. But the story about the priest Beranger Saunière and his sudden and inexplicable access to large amounts of money and excessive expenditure on the church at the end of the 19th century, attracts yearly thousands of curious tourists. The writer Dan Brown’s bestseller “The Da Vinci Code” has many references to the story, even though the village is not mentioned by name. (½ hour drive)
ANDORRA (100 km. panoramakørsel).
Andorra is a small tax-free country which, besides it’s magnificent nature, offers great shopping-temptations as prices are without excise duty. (100 km.)
PERPIGNAN Beautiful town with several parks and many shops (80 km.)
Hiking, climbing, biking and riding
You don’t have to be an experienced mountaineer to go about in the varied terrain. There are soft hills for ramblers and steep trails for those who want the exercise. There are many good possibilities for picnics during the trips. For children and the young at heart “Forest Gimp” in Quillan is a good place to test balance and fear of heights. Here are 200 meter different ropeways in the treetops at heights of 3 – 10 meters. If the challenge here is not enough, you can try “Accro Parc” in Atlet les Bains (20 min. from Nebias. In St. Martin Lys (15 km.) there are climbing schools for both children and adults.
There are several mapped trips for both hiking and biking. In the summer months there are many cyclists, especially when Tour de France comes through the area.
Our favorite horses are owned by Veronica, an American lady, who owns many calm and good-natured horses, who are used to tourists. Veronica arranges rides in the mountains for both beginners and skilled (10 minutes)
Canoe, Kayak and river rafting
At the river in Quillan there is a slalom track, where you can practice navigating a kayak. The 25. km. between Quillan and Limoux is a very beautiful trip in canoe or kayak. River rafting is very popular here in the mountain scenery and here it is offered in many degrees of difficulties, from beginners to very skilled.
In Carcassonne there is a good 18-hole golf course. A large space for green-fee players.
There are good ski areas here. Our French neighbor recommends the following places :
1) Camurac (½ hour drive) - 15 pistes, 7 lifts, snow cannons, ski-school.
2) Font – Romeu (1½ hours drive) - pistes in all degrees of difficulty.
3) Les Angles (75 min. drive) - very popular, sunny
4) Andorra Forom Pas de la Casa (75 min. drive) – sunny, the neighbor’s favorite.
5) Puyvalador - small ski station near Les Angles, sunny and not crowded