It’s the area around the great peak of Canigó in Eastern Pyrenees. The area is fully in France but the relationship with Catalonya is evident in the language and traditions. It's the sacred peak of Catalonian people where they built a bonfire all the 22th June to carry the fire to Perpignan and all the villages of Catalonya in the night of San Juan.
Villages: Castell / Casteil, Codalet, Cornellá de Conflent, Montferrer, Taurinyá, Vallestavia / Ballestavy, Vernet dels Banys .... but the main city is Prades / Prada de Conflent with more than 6.000 people.
Natural reserves in the area: Mentet i Pi, Prats de Molló-la Presta, Jújols and Conat.
Note: I will add more pictures and the page about the peak Canigó in the next days.
Note about names Canigou and Canigó: as exception in the areas of French Pyrenées of SP I use Canigó, the catalonian version, and not the French version Canigou, because is the official name nowadays according with the French governement in the denominantion of Grand Site of France. The reason of the change of the name gave for the Ministery was "Canigó is the sacred mountain of Catalonian people". You will find a lot of maps with the name Canigou and it's also correct but this will change probably in the new editions. Fonetically is not very different.
Getting TherePrades is easily reached from Perpignan, important city near of frontier of la Jonquera, pass between France and Spain. If you come from Europe the access is more direct from Toulousse.
Red TapeYo have some small natural reserves in the area with rules about wildlife, camping, etc
It's not an area with campings in general because the villages are very small. You can find some hotels and lodges in Prades or Perpignan (this city is in the region of Languedoc-Rousillon but really you're in less on 1h of trailheads of area of Canigó)
Canigou / Canigó
Canigó (2,784m) is the last high mountain of Pyrenees at East because in this area a peak of more than 2,700m is impressive from the valley. The area has 2 big refuges with keepers in summer: Cortalets (2150m) and Merialles (1718m) and one free mountain hut (Bonaigua).
Trailheads: col de Jou (1,145m), refugi de Merialles (1,718m), Ras de Prat Cabrera (1,730m), Los Masos de Valmanya (1,030m), refugi de Cortalets (2,150m).
Note: some trailheads don’t have asfalt roads and you need a 4x4 car or divide the ascent in two days. You can take a taxi 4x4 to reach the refugi de Cortalets but it’s an option that I never considered (1h 45minutes to summit!!!!) but not all the people have enough time in their holidays to enjoy of 2 days in the mountains.
Puig de l’Estella / L’EstellePuig de l’Estella / L’Estelle (1,778m) is a peak at East of Canigó. In this area you have the interesting mines of Pinosa / Pinousse and the small free mountain hut de L’Estanyol.
Trailheads: Valmanya (860m) and Los Masos de Valmanya (1,030m).
Puig de Tres Vents / Tretzevents
Puig de Roc Negre (2,714m), Puig de Tres Vents (2,731m) and Puig de Rojá (2,724m) are three importants summits in a small massif at South of Canigó.
Trailheads: Sant Guillem de Combret (1,280m), Col Baixó (1,418m).
Roc Colom - CostabonaThe peaks Roc Colom (2,507m) and Costabona (2,465m) are in an important massif at SW of Canigó. This peaks are in the natural reserve of Prat de Molló-La Presta with rules about wildlife and camping.
Trailheads: Banys de la Presta.
Puig de les Tres EstelesPuig de les Tres Esteles (2,099m) is the highest summit of Small massif at West of Canigó.
Trailheads: col de Mentet (1,767m) with access from Vilafranca de Conflet.