©Charles_Ripon_ADT09_0009448_MD|Charles Ripon

We're on a roll

On the greenway!

La voie verte en Pyrénées cathares is a former railroad line that ran from Mirepoix-Chalabre-Lavelanet and was created in 1903. The line linked the industrial Hers valley to the national rail network via Bram or Pamiers. The Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi, entrusted by the State with the operation of the line, transported passengers, mail and goods. In 1973, the train whistled one last time on the line … which has now become a voie verte, i.e. a multi-activity path.


Charlotte tells...

When I set off with my daughter Pauline on the "voie verte", I know we're going to have a great time together. What more could you ask for: to be able to do sport, to be in the middle of nature and to share a moment of complicity with her?

Spring is finally here. With Pauline and my friends, we’ve decided to get our bikes out again and hit the voie verte. We’re planning our 15km escapade on Saturday morning, departing from Mirepoix to reach one of the most beautiful villages in France, the village of Camon! We’ve had a look at the weather forecast, which looks excellent, and we’ve planned the picnic for a country-style meal after the ride.

Just before the big day, I decide to see the pros at Cycl’Olmes to check out my 7-year-old daughter’s bike. She’s grown a lot since last year, so I have her little wheels removed, the brakes checked and the chain oiled. All the lights are green thanks to the intervention of these experts, and we’re looking forward to Saturday!


the stories

This is it! It’s Saturday! My friends and I are meeting at the Super U parking lot in Mirepoix to set off on the greenway. My daughter is as excited as a flea, she’s delighted to meet up with her friends and she’s proud to be cycling without the little wheels.

Riding on the voie verte with my friends and Pauline, it’s the assurance of having fun and doing a sporting activity in complete safety. Indeed, my 7-year-old daughter hasn’t completely mastered road holding and can pedal serenely, as only walkers, cyclists and horse riders can access the greenway. At no time do we come across any cars – it’s a real pleasure! We can ride side by side, at our own pace, stopping whenever we like to drink, take photos of the scenery and even have a little snack on one of the benches along the greenway.

As the kilometers go by, the landscape changes, we can be in the shade under the trees of a small wood, be in full sun, as the greenway passes through fields or we can ride parallel to the départementale.

“Stop” signs with a line on the ground are present at every crossing, which is reassuring.

The tunnel

A thrill of pleasure

The first time you see a tunnel approaching is always surprising – it feels like entering a cave! We make our way through the long black tunnel with a small glow at the end, which grows as we go along. This cool, dark moment can be frightening, but we’re always singing songs at this point, and the echo of our voices on the walls makes this passage fun.

It’s moving to think that we’re traveling on what was decades ago a passageway for the train. Witnesses to this past are the stations, which line the route of the greenway and have found a new function.

We've arrived

Well done!

As the kilometers go by, the landscape changes, we can be in the shade under the trees of a small wood, be in full sun as the voie verte passes through fields or we can ride parallel to the départementale.

Time flies and we’ve now arrived in Camon! We chose the spot beside the Hers river to sit down at the picnic tables for lunch. After a break, we set off again, this time on foot, to visit the village of 100 rosebushes. Two adults in our group return to Mirepoix to pick up their cars and join us. The narrow streets are magnificent, and the fortifications impress the little ones, who dream of castles and knights!