From Le Paloumé down to the French Mediteranean coast
The Tech Valley - most southerly valley in France The river Tech, rising in the Canigou range, runs through the valley leading to one of the highest passes in the Pyrénées - Col d’Ares above
Prats de Mollo: an ancient walled “border” town with underground passages, fort, museum and ruined abbey. Seasonal animations include discovery walks (geology and botany) in the National Park, daily pageants at the fort as well as skiing Dec.- Easter. Down the valley is
Arles sur Tech: originally built by the Romans. It has a palace, an abbey with a “miraculous” tomb and a famous organ on which concerts are regularly given. Nearby is the Gorge de la Fou, reputed to be the narrowest in the world.
Amelie les Bains: is a popular spa town, its thermal springs and abundant running water originally brought the Romans to the area. It hosts an International Folk Festival annually and has many other entertainment’s - including a Casino. There is a large street market here on Thursdays.
Cèret, It was here that Picasso came in 1911 to join Manolo & Braque, several of his paintings and ceramics are in the Musée d’art Moderne. It is a beautiful old town with a medieval bridge, annual Sardane festival, Corridas and colourful Saturday morning market. Para & hang gliding can be booked from here.
Perpignan and the French Mediterranean are only an hour’s drive from Le Paloumé.
Perpignan is the cultural centre with theatre, cinema, music (Pablo Casals taught at the Conservatoire), dance and art. It has many excellent restaurants with cuisine varying from Japanese to local Catalan specialities. The Palais des Rois de Majorca, now a museum, dominates the city, beneath the walls of which huddles the fascinating old town with it’s narrow streets, beautiful buildings, elegant shops, lively markets and Arab Quarter.
Canet Plage is Perpignan’s nearest beach and from here wide sandy, uncrowded beaches stretch south to
This is the Côte Vermeille. St. Cyprien, a quieter seaside resort, is also home to Aquacity - a very good outdoor water centre which is also adult friendly. Next is Argeles-sur-Mer a popular resort with much to offer including water skiing, scuba diving, boat trips etc. The Pyrénées descend to the sea at Collioure where the rocks, coves & cliffs of the Costa Brava actually begin and whose history goes back to the Knights Templar, who have left us their romantic castles. More recently it was the home of Matisse and still attracts artists to its picturesque harbour. There are numerous art galleries where ceramics also feature, a Sunday market and spectacular fireworks displays. Here the vineyards extend to the edge of the cliffs and there are many opportunities for wine tasting especially at Banyuls Sur Mer where there is also a fine aquarium - as the stretch of coast here is part of an undersea Nature Reserve. Port Vendre is an attractive fishing port with markets and fish restaurants.