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Visit France like a French Native! The Mediterranean Grand Canyon

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

In this series Visit France like a French, I am taking you forty minutes inland of the Mediterranean coast, close to Spain. The village called Illes sur Têt is located in the département* Pyrénées Orientales (speak like a local and called it P.O.).


OK. It is not quite as big as the Grand Canyon, but it is pretty awesome to see, not to mention rare in France. The site's name is Les Orgues which means Church organs. When one sees the shape of the landscape, it is easy to understand why it was named like this.



This protected site starts with a nice and fairly easy fifteen minute walk through nature: one single path along private properties displaying metal sculptures. On your way, nice photos can be taken of the view over the mountains in between an olive grove, or maybe the retro gate and the charming stoned house. Your lungs start feeling oxygenated: oak trees, pine trees...



On the top of this slight slope, there it is! The little piece of jewelry created by erosion over time. Made of sand and clay, this masterpiece continues to evolve and reshape over and over after every rain. For this reason, rock climbing is not permitted, making it unsafe.


These tall and skinny rocks are nicknamed Les Cheminées des Fées (the fairies' chimneys). The place is so peaceful and quiet. Sit and relax! Bring your camera and create amazing memories. Once back home, you will enjoy seeing these photos printed on canvases hanging on your walls.



The P.O. have a California climate and the department holds many treasures to discover and see. Well located near mountains, sea and Spain. It is worth spending a good week there. Forget the Provence and explore the other side of the South of France.


*France is divided in régions which are split into départements.

The P.O. are located in the Occitanie region, border with Spain.


Address: Chemin de Regleilles

66130 ILLE-SUR-TET


Useful sources



Continue scrolling through this blog for more adventures in the P.O. and other amazing regions of France that regular tourism books never talk about. I am opening to you my knowledge of France. Visit France like a French local!


Planning on visiting? Contact me for some French classes to make your experience more immersive.

In need of lodging in the P.O.? Here we go again, contact me.


I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to share it with your friends, and/or leave a comment. Au revoir.






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