Pyrénées-Orientales (66500) Population: 406 Altitude: 349 m
Eus is a perched Medieval village, very pretty and very pleasant, with cobblestone streets, pretty little houses nestled together and some good views of the valley below.
Eus is one of the Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages) of France.
Eus village is very compact, with the tightly-grouped houses rising up past the large 18th-century Saint-Vincent-d'En-Haut d'Eus church to the stone castle ruins at the very top. The castle is in ruins, but the walls are mostly still there, along with dark passages cut through the rock.
You'll want to take a picture or two from the outside of Eus village perched on its hilltop.
Visitor's parking (free) is available near the bottom entrance, or by driving around the west side to enter near the top. If you take the higher (west-side) parking, you'll have a nice view of the village exterior from that side.
History of Eus
This perched fortified village dates back to the 9th century, when the region was conquered by Charlemagne. In the 10th century the village was was listed as ipsa Elzina. The name derives from the local Latin dialect of Elex for the Green Oak tree. The village name was successively changed to Elz in 1035, Hels in 1053, Heus in 1212, and Eus in 1359; pronounced roughly like "ooze".
In the 10th century Eus was a possession of the Lagrasse Abbey (Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse), and later given to the St Martin du Canigou Abbey, 20 km southwest of Eus.
The original fortified village was protected by a citadel on top of the hill, Volta Chateau, probably built around the 10 century. In the 16th century a church was built on the ruins of the citadel.
• GPS: 42.644168, 2.457314
Eus village is in the Têt river valley with good hiking in the Fenouillèdes on the north side and the Conflent mountains to the south. There are some interesting local (PR) hikes from the village, as shown on this panel.
Le Tour du Fenouillèdes is a GRP loop hike between Eus and the village of St-Paul-de-Fenouillet, about 40 km to the north. (GRP is a Grande Randonnée de Pays - a hiking trail made to discover a region).
There are several variants of this "Tour", from 3 to 8 days, and some hikes available with donkeys (ânes).
The Eus - Ansignan - St-Paul-de-Fenouillet route is 43 km.
The Eus - Sournia - St-Paul-de-Fenouillet route is 37 km.
The village café is a "Café de Pays", offering a selection of local dining at reasonable prices, along with the other café fare for hot and thirsty visitors with hungry kids. Their local dish when we were there (July 2013) was a courgette curry tarte - homemade of course. We tried to buy one to take home but they had none left although another one was in the oven.