An uphill stretch that begins at the roundabout at the entrance to Maureillas and goes past Riunoguers. The stretch entails a 5.3 km climb with no resting point, although the most difficult point is between the crossroads of Las Illas and Riunoguers, 3.6 km with a gradient of 5.4%. The surface is asphalt to Riunoguers and then concrete on the climbs and then gravel or stone surfacing on the more level stretches. It should be noted that, in the event of a high risk of fire, this route will be closed and the border point will have to be crossed via the national highway.


Although we pass through the Pyrenean mountain range, the vegetation we find around us on this stretch is more Mediterranean than anything else (holm oak forests). It is important to take into account the water divide that we will find at 365 metres.


COL DE PANISSARS – FROM THE VIA DOMITIA TO THE VIA AUGUSTA
At the Col de Panissars we find the ruins of the medieval priory of Santa Maria de Panissars, which was constructed on a large Roman building that was discovered recently and identified as the Mansion of the Summum Pyrenaeum. The mansion can be found above the so-called Trophies of Pompey that were erected by Pompey the Great to commemorate his victory over the revolt in Hispania. Just at this point, the road name changes from Domitia (in Gaul) to Augusta (in Hispania).


FORT DE BELLEGARDE. (Le Perthus).
A fortification characteristic of the architect Vauban. Situated not many metres away from the Col de Panissars, it is an impregnable place, protected by an immense moat excavated out of the rock. The first wall has five bastions. The entrance –the great gateway of France– is protected by a bascule bridge set at a considerable height above the moat. A visit to the site reveals the different spaces with their different uses and provides the visitor with in-depth knowledge of the specific vocabulary used to describe these kinds of modern military constructions.
 

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