When you descend, try the alternative path down on the east side: it's narrower, steeper, and more challenging, but will get you down faster and with a great view of the mountains as you descend.
The abbey is located close to the Spanish border. The two nearest cities are both on the Mediterranean coast: Perpignan on the French side, and Figureres in Spain. As you head inland, it becomes a sparsely-populated land of tiny medieval villages and great mountains.
If you fancy visiting the Pyrénées, find a home in the Southwest of France.