Stage 1:

Ria – Vernet-les-Bains

The first conflicting section is developed in a fairly open terrain, except for a few segments with forests, and consists of gradual ascents and few descents. Except for the arrival in Vernet.

“From the castle of Arrià it goes down to the shore, crosses the Tet with a stride, and like flocks of white Tudons who want the voice of Cirac and Taurinyà the houses”. Canigó, Cant II – Jacint Verdaguer

Here begins the Camí dels Orígens that connects the twin counties of Conflent and Ripollès. This cross-border route with a common culture unites two cradles of Catalonia: the town of Rià and the town of Ripoll, passing by places of high symbolism such as the abbey of Sant Miquel de Cuixà and the sanctuary of Núria. It is a mountainous path of passage and human exchanges throughout its history, through the ties between families, gatherings and festive gatherings, transhumance, labor migrations and exiles.
At the foot of the mythical Canigó, it is in the castle of Rià -whose remains can be visited- where Guifré el Pilós (840-897), Count of Conflent, Cerdanya, Urgell, Besalú, Girona and Barcelona were born. He was buried in Ripoll, at the other end of the Camí dels Orígens. It is a founding and unifying myth of Catalonia and its figure became legendary: on his deathbed, they say, four fingers with his blood passed over his golden shield, served to
to create the millennial Catalan flag, called “Senyera”.

Origin of the name: “Rià” would derive from the own Latin name Arrius, and would designate an agricultural property of the Roman time.


“From the cave of Cirac they are already rumbling through the entrance, like a boat in a lake where the goges are doing laundry.” Canigó, Cant VI – Jacint Verdaguer

Former parish added to the municipality of Rià since the 19th century. To the right of the river Tet, around the church of Sant Climent, former possession of the abbey of Sant Miquel de Cuixà, is a landing on top of a hill facing the Canigó.
The village has two original heritage elements: a cave and an irrigation canal. The Cirac Cave, cataloged Natura 2000, adorned with cavities, concretions and a colony of bats, has an important place in Cantint VI of “Canigó”, by Jacint Verdaguer: the great Catalan poet describes it in the romantic style, to celebrate the engagement between the two lovers Flordeneu and Gentil. As for the “Rec de Bohera”, it is a large irrigation canal from the 19th century, a 42km engineering masterpiece between Serdinyà and Marqueixanes. At the end of Cirac, it has an important presence, especially with the sufficiently high and imposing aqueduct of the Merder River.

Origin of the name: “Cirac” would derive from the Gallo-Roman proper name cerisiacu, and would designate an agricultural property.

“Cloister and chapel, tomorrow you will have Cuixà on the reverse plane,
the one of Eixalada beautiful image of Sant Miquel ”. Canigó, Cant IX – Jacint Verdaguer

Poblet located on a small elevation to the left of the small alluvial plain of La Llitera, in the northern foothills of the Canigó massif. The old town is a small group of houses around the church of Sant Fructuós, which was owned by the legendary monastery of Sant Andreu d’Eixalada, destroyed by floods in the autumn of 878.
In recent decades, Taurinyà has become a summer resort that receives illustrious guests, such as two great figures in Catalan culture: Jacint Verdaguer and Pau Casals. The first, the poet of the Catalan Renaissance of the 19th century, author of the masterpiece “Canigó”, dedicated to “the Catalans of France”, came regularly to have meals with his friend Monsignor Bonet at the Font de Flagells. The second, the cellist and humanist
world-famous, exiled to Prada during the Franco regime, rehearsed with the greatest soloists in the world in a house in the village, of a friend of his also exiled, during the festival of
music by Cuixà.

Origin of the name: “Taurinyà” designates the inhabitants of an Ibero-Roman property, crops and forges, and comes from taurinius, which derives from the Latin name Taurius.


“Lo Canigó is an immense magnolia that grows in a sprout of the Pyrenees.” Canigó, Cant II – Jacint Verdaguer

In the northern sector of the Canigó massif, the term includes the middle part of the Cadí valley and most of the Sant Vicenç river valley dominated by the
Canigó (2784 m). The baths of Vernet, owned by a lay man from the twelfth century, belonged, around the year 1000, to the abbey of Sant Martí del Canigó, today a great cultural place in the area.
From 1880, during the crazy twenties and until the First World War, Vernet became a modern spa (hotels, villas, a casino, a park) and much
frequented by aristocrats and writers from all over Europe, especially English (the Queen Mother of England, the Princess of Battenberg or Rudyard Kipling, who found inspiration in
Catalan traditions and legends and in Canigon mythology). In 1940, a large flood destroyed a third of the spa, which has been slowly being rebuilt.

Origin of the name: “Vernet” derives from the Latin vernetum, and designates in Catalan a place planted with alders.