Quillan can be easily reached from no fewer than six airports —
- Carcassonne (CCF), the nearest (52km / 32miles) and the easiest to access;
- Perpignan–Rivesaltes (PGF), with mostly seasonal flights (73km / 45mi);
- Toulouse Blagnac (TLS), a more significant international airport (138km / 85mi);
- Béziers Cap d’Agde (BZR), a little further than the other French airports but a very easy drive (155km / 96mi);
- Girona–Costa Brava (GRO), just over the border in Spain (180km / 111mi) — note that although RyanAir calls this ‘Girona-Barcelona’, it is actually over 100km from Barcelona;
- Barcelona-El Prat (BCN), a major airport which, although much further than the others (279km / 173mi), is easily accessible by a fast train from Perpignan — see below.
Airlines serving these airports include RyanAir (all except Toulouse), easyjet (Toulouse and Barcelona), flybe (Perpignan), Jet2.com (Toulouse and Barcelona), Aer Lingus (Perpignan, Toulouse, and Barcelona), BA (Toulouse and Barcelona) and many others. The airport at Barcelona is served by over 80 airlines, and Toulouse by over 30, while at the other end of the scale, Carcassonne and Beziers are served only by RyanAir.
Getting to and from the airport
All the airports have a variety of options for car rental; details can be found on the airport websites (use the links above). For details about other forms of transport, please see below: Carcassonne, Perpignan, Toulouse, Béziers, Girona, Barcelona.
If you want a more pleasant and relaxing journey, consider coming by train. The major railway station at Carcassonne is well served by trains from all over France. From Paris, you can get to Carcassonne with one change, and the journey can take as little as 5 hours (though depending on the route and number of changes, it might take 7 hours or more). The Carcassonne railway station is right on the Canal du Midi in the centre of Carcassonne. For travel from Carcassonne to Quillan by public transport, see below. There is also an Avis car rental option at the railway station (their office is just across the canal). To book train tickets online, use sncf.fr (now available in French, English and German). It is sometimes possible to book tickets on the website right through to Quillan, especially if you book single rather than return tickets (for some reason), but if this seems difficult, just book through to Carcassonne and see below on how to get from there to Quillan.
If you choose to drive here from one of the northern ports such as Calais, expect your journey to take a little over ten hours plus stops, if you’re using the autoroutes. Driving on French motorways is relatively pleasant and most autoroutes have some impressive views, if expensive tolls. The most direct route is a fairly straightforward north to south line via Paris, Orléans, Limoges and Toulouse. Despite one of the motorways being toll-free, you can still expect to pay up to 60€ in tolls for the whole journey. For more information about driving in France, including legal requirements of what needs to be carried in the car, French road rules, tolls, petrol prices, etc, see about-france.com. They also have tips on alternative routes to south-west France which can save tens of euros in tolls without adding too much time to the journey.
Travel from Carcassonne
From the airport, you’ll need to catch the shuttle bus (navette) or a taxi from the airport to the central railway station in Carcassonne. A taxi from Carcassonne airport to Quillan would cost approx. 90-110€ (up to 50€ more at night or on Sundays). It may also be possible to arrange a private shuttle from the airport through aerobus. From the central railway station, there are a few direct trains each day, and other options including buses and changes in Limoux. A direct bus or train takes anything from an hour to an hour-and-a-half. There is a 1-Euro train/bus from Carcassonne to Quillan (on the timetable, trains are indicated by ‘ter’ and buses by the bus symbol; both have the same stops. If you can get on the train, you have pleasant views of the countryside between Carcassonne and Quillan). Alternatively, you can check and/or book trains from Carcassonne to Quillan in advance on the Voyages-SNCF website and have your tickets delivered to your home before you leave. There is also the option of the Number 53 bus from Carcassonne to Quillan. From Quillan railway/bus station, the house is a five-minute walk.
Travel from Perpignan
To get to Quillan from Perpignan airport, you will need to catch the direct bus (there is only one per day) or alternatively take a shuttle bus or taxi from the airport to the Gare Routiere Départementale in the centre of Perpignan and then catch a bus from there. It may also be possible to arrange a private shuttle from the airport through aerobus. The bus (from the airport or from the central railway station) is Number 100 and costs just 1 Euro. There is a pdf version of the bus timetable online (or you can search the online timetable by selecting Perpignan and Quillan in the list boxes).
Travel from Toulouse
There is a shuttle from Toulouse airport to the central railway station. The train from Toulouse to Carcassonne can be booked online at www.sncf.com. From there, you can take the 1-Euro bus or train to Quillan (see above).
Travel from Béziers
There is a shuttle from the airport to the railway station (about 30 minutes). From there you can catch relatively frequent trains to either Carcassonne (about 45 minutes) or Perpignan (about 50 minutes), after which there is the 1-Euro bus to Quillan (see Carcassonne and Perpignan travel options).
Travel from Girona/Gerona
Catch a bus — the L1316 or 607 (timetables online — search for ‘Aeroport de Girona’ to ‘Girona’) — from the airport to the central bus/rail station (about 30 minutes). From there you can catch relatively frequent trains to Perpignan. The rail journey is about 40-45 minutes. From Perpignan, there is the 1-Euro bus to Quillan (see above).
Travel from Barcelona
Barcelona airport has a railway station in the airport with very frequent links to the central station in Barcelona, Barcelona-Sants. The journey takes 30 minutes or less. From central Barcelona, the Barcelona Sants – Perpignan train takes about an hour and 20 minutes, and there are about five trains a day. Trains can be booked online at www.renfe.com or www.sncf.com. To get from Perpignan to Quillan, you can take the 1-Euro bus (see above). Driving from Barcelona takes a little over 3 hours via the Mediterranean coast motorway (AP7-E15), but it is worth taking an extra half-hour or so and instead taking the Pyrenees route (E9/C16), which has beautiful scenery almost the whole way.