The history of the Capcir
The word Capcir is thought to come from caput circii, meaning the head of the cers. The cers was the north wind – the Tramontane. So the Capcir was the region facing the north wind. This name may have been given to the area by the neighbouring people of Conflent and Cerdagne, who have always considered Capcir to be the archetypal cold region. The area is also known as the “little European Siberia”.
The Capcir lies on the northernmost part of the department of the Pyrénées Orientales and is the highest cultivated plateau in Europe. It faces North-South and the geographical conditions on the plateau mean the climate differs from the other surrounding plateaus and valleys.
It is the highest point on the upper valley of the River Aude and dominated by the majestic peaks of the Péric (2820m) and the Madres. The Capcir lies on the old Via Francisca Superior running between Alet and Llivia, and was once the border area between the two old counties of Cerdagne and Carcassonne, as well as between France and Spain, up until the Treaty of Pyrenees in 1659.