Wild flower holidays
This limestone area hosts a good range of wild orchids and in the 5 years I have been exploring I have found at least 9 different species.
There are also plenty of other wild spring flowers to be seen in the local garrigue, including the delightfully delicate wild tulip, dwarf iris, wild narcissus and tassel hyacinth to mention but a few! Their discreet but impressive display helps to make this a wonderful place for a wild flower holiday.
March, April and May are the best months for flowers. Click here for spring dates.
WF1Half day on l'Ile de l'Aute
10€ extra per person: 1-2 hours easy walking
A short boat trip (weather permitting) gets us to a small island in a coastal lagoon which has a good range of mediterranean wild flowers and a site of Spanish Iris. Great views across the lagoon to the old fishing village of Bages.
WF2Wild flowers on the Plateau de Leucate
2-3 hours easy walking
I spent most of my first winter in the area wandering around this plateau (a Natura 2000 site of special natural interest). Plenty of dwarf iris and narcissus as well as a good selection of orchids (barlia, fusca, socolopax, aranifera, lutea) and one year I found a broad leaved helleborine.
WF3Wild flowers around Feuilla
2-3 hours moderate walking
The old 'chemin du facteur' or postman's walk takes us down the valley and then up onto a shoulder where we should find white asphodels, aphyllanthes monspeliensis, pyramidal orchids, thyme and phlomis. Good chance of spotting an eagle too!
WF4Guided visit Sentier de Foncaude botanical garden
10€ extra per person: 2 hours easy walking
This garden represents 20 years of patient planting and the result is a spectacular array of thousands of cacti, agaves and other interesting species nestled into a south facing rocky hillside. May usually provides the most spectacular flowering cacti but this garden is worth a visit at any time of the year. Dominique Jalabert's collection of agaves is classified of national interest and is one of the largest collections in France.
N.B. All of the walks listed in the walking section will also provide an opportunity to see a wide range of wild spring flowers in season.