I've been wandering around Ariège and the Pyrenees for several years, looking for more unusual, moving, more beautiful spots than the others!

There is one that particularly marked me in Ariège… the castle of Montségur. Go find out why. There are places like this, there are no explanations, it is just mystical. I have so many memories there… I take all the people who come to see me at home there, that's to say! In July 2019, I had the immense chance to fly over it in a paraglider… A unique and unforgettable moment. Come on, I'll tell you that!

Paragliding ? Ah No thank you…?

So, what you need to know is that I had never done a paraglider flight and I absolutely did not intend to embark on this adventure! I didn't want to fly, I didn't want to land, I didn't want to AT ALL but then not to go at all. I was just scared eh!

I was offered the possibility of paragliding for video shooting purposes… and I said to myself "what luck, you have to go, otherwise you will never do it".

So here I am part in the adventure… and what an adventure.

Starting point of the adventure

At 9 am, meet at Laroque d'Olmes to meet Ariège Parapente! They are the only ones who offer this extraordinary flight over the castle of Montségur.

I climb into Philippe's 4×4, which will take me to the starting point of the flight. We take the road that leads to the Moulzoune pond (I don't know if you know, but it's a great spot for a picnic, or fishing! I love this place!). In short, we do not go to the pond, we continue the runway to reach the takeoff.

The whole trip takes around 40 minutes from Laroque d'Olmes.

Take-off preparation

In fact Philippe explains to us that this is also why the flight has a higher price than other standard flights: it is on the one hand, more exceptional, but on the other hand, it requires more logistics.

Indeed, we take off from the Col de Cadène (at the top of the Monts d'Olmes resort) or near the talc quarry of Luzenac and we land at the foot of the castle! In the meantime, the second instructor descends by car from the starting point, to reach the landing point...

You understand: you can't do a lot of flights in a day under these conditions.

At the point of departure, we prepare for the flight. Well, I'm not in a good position to prepare myself solo, I let myself be guided by Philippe, who equips me, and explains the basic rules of takeoff.

Basically :

  • I'm distressing, everything will be fine
  • When he feels a draft to start he will give me a signal and I should start running
  • When I don't touch the ground anymore, I should sit in my harness

Ok, boss, received 5 out of 5. And that's how I started, mega freaked out in this takeoff.

Once in the air….

Once in the air… well it's always creepy hahaha We go up we descend in the sandstone of the currents, we turn we spin… we slowly get used to the fact of flying, and we forget about it all around. After a minute of flying I felt safe. I wanted to watch everything, observe everything, photograph everything with my eyes… in front of behind, on the ground, in the sky.

Below I can see the village of Montségur, the houses well aligned, nestled in the heart of a very yellow and green environment, fields and deciduous forests. In the distance I can see the castle of Montségur, a mastodon, which sits enthroned and watches over the valley from its "pog".

We walk around the castle, visitors to the fortress wave to me to say hello, it's magic. This feeling of being privileged, of having an incredible chance, of living a unique moment in the world. 

The landing was enough…. burlesque… .. and missed!
I did not succeed in doing what Philippe had told me so I had a little fun… that ends this exceptional moment with a very funny anecdote!

Since that day, I wanted to start the paragliding adventure again in other spots! I saw that there were some from the Prat d'Albis, the Port of Lers (I also witnessed a lot of takeoffs! I often go to the Port of Lers because it is a top place to do cliff climbing, and then it is a departure for a hike towards the Pic des 3 seigneurs too).

In the Couserans, the flight over Moulis also tempts me!

To have…. I give myself time to think!

practical information

Laroque d'Olmes is 20 minutes from Foix and 40 minutes from the start of take-off
The flight lasts 50 minutes
The price: 180 €
This flight is possible all year round (depending on weather conditions)
To book : ariegeparapente.fr




Lover of wide open spaces and nature, I spend my free time walking on the hiking trails of the Pyrenees. Big fan of roaming, I love sleeping in the mountains and waking up to the sound of the silence of our summits. I also love ski touring, climbing and good little Ariège dishes ... especially cheese-based!

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