Your Home from Home in the Pyrénées
Both the house and apartment have decks and a shared garden, where you could just sit in the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air and the sound of the river. A chance to really unwind and relax.
A great feature of the area is the number of thermal spas. Mediterranean beaches are 60 minutes away. There is a variety of coastal resorts including Canet Plage, Saint-Cyprien-Plage and Argelès-sur-Mer. As well as excellent swimming and sunbathing, all the usual coastal activities are available including sea fishing, sailing, jet-skiing and water skiing. There is a lake in the local town of Vinca (19 km), with beaches, from which you can swim, sail or wind-surf, or you could just visit the popular open air swimming pool in Prades (9 km). There is also a water sports park in Villeneuve-de-le-Raho, near Perpignan.
The area is ideal for walking. Mountain bikes can be hired and local cycling clubs welcome visitors. Outdoor pursuit centres abound. Try your hand at kayaking, white water rafting, canoeing, canyoning, pot-holing, climbing, hang-gliding, horse-riding, trekking, water-skiing, sailing, golf or fishing for trout and carp in mountain streams and lakes. There is a superb Forest Adventure Playground at nearby Marquixanes.
Every village has its own local festivals and markets, and the Pablo Casals Music Festival at Prades in August is a must. You can spend the day in the buzzing city of Perpignan. As well as historic sites it has plenty of shopping, boutiques, antique markets and good restaurants.
Visit the artists’ haven of Eus. Collioure (1hour 20 mins) is a beautiful and historic fishing village, favoured by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, and the inspiration for Fauvism. With nearly 30 galleries, it is well worth a visit. The Dali Museum at Figueres in Northern Spain makes a good day-trip. Alternatively, for those using Girona airport, you can stop on route.
The region has a dramatic history. There are Roman remains and Cathar castles which cling to the rocky foothills of the Pyrénées. There are numerous fortified towns, steeped in history. Villefranche-de-Conflent is a fine example. The walled medieval city of Carcassonne was the strategic defensive sanctuary for the Cathars during the 13th century sieges. The area is brimming with Romanesque art in the form of abbeys, priories, churches, and chapels. St Martin du Canigou and St-Michel-de-Cuxa are superb examples in beautiful locations. The Priory of Serrabone, founded in the 11th century, is another, perched on a hilltop with sheer drops on most sides. Famous for its unusual design, its cloistered gallery is unorthodox, with features in pink marble.
Supermarkets make shopping easy and have good products. Try smaller shops for excellent made-on-the-premises foods, and markets for local cheeses, fruit, vegetables and organic produce. Every town in the region has a cave where they are only too happy for you to taste the wine. There are many good restaurants and the area is becoming known for young chefs making names for themselves. Mountain cuisine offers substantial dishes and restaurants are usually reasonably priced.