Sunday, 30 November 2014

Where In the World

It's amazing how many places you can clock up as having visited when you are, well let's call it 'of the mature variety'. But it's clear from my map that I need to find a way to head even further south than the South of France. But not bad for the northern hemisphere.

Brian’s Travel Map
Brian has been to: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. Get your own travel map from Matador Network.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Argelès-sur-Mer & Céret in the Pyrénées-Orientales

I have always thought of Argelès-sur-Mer as a bit of a modern seaside resort, perhaps even, dare I say it, a poor neighbour of the beautiful little fishing village of Collioure. 

Well I have to admit that I have been paying it a little bit of a disservice. yes there are areas of the town that are exactly as I imagined them and actually, if that is what you are looking for in a seaside resort, there really is a lot on offer. You can find accommodation on most every level ranging from camping to hotels with everything in between.

Comparing Argelès to Collioure is a bit like comparing chalk and cheese and what I came to realise on a recent visit is that they both have a lot to offer, but in their own way. For example if you are a sun-seeker looking for miles of golden sand, then Collioure is not the place for you. Where are on the other hand Argelès will definitely tick that box. 

There are parts of Argelès that are very modern and have clearly been developed to cater for the major influx of tourists that visit the South of France each year, especially during the months of July and August. But there is also a slightly less well known historic centre, away from the beaches a little and tucked nicely near to the foothills of the Pyrenees. 

Here you will find a little bit of traditional France with lots of cafes and shops that serve the resident community all year around. A delightful little place to visit and where you can get away from the more distinct tourist areas, but only if you want to.

When we visited, we sat down to a very reasonably priced lunch at the Bistrot De La Fontaine, out in the street on a lovely sunny day and thoroughly enjoyed the meal, which for me was a very nice, but simple salad. 

Another factor that can't be ignored is that Argelès-Sur-Mer is in a great location, it is very easy to get to Perpignan where there is an international airport and a beautiful cosmopolitan city.  You are virtually on the Spanish border for excursions into the Costa Brava or even Barcelona for a day out and you have easy access to places like Collioure and Céret where the likes of Picasso used to hang out.

In fact once we had finished lunch we took a drive out to Collioure and Port Vendres then headed off to Céret for a look around. The photograph of one of Picasso's sculptures in the form of a fountain which we stumbled across whilst exploring.

We soon realised that Céret is another beautiful town and it is known for it's Cherry Festival that takes place each year and it's very French 'cafe culture' environment.

All in all a lovely day out touring the Pyrénées-Orientales and having a look at a little bit of France that has more than enough of a draw to pull us back every now and then for another look.

The region is certainly in striking distance of Castelnaudary and everything in between. Carcassonne, of course, is worth a mention as are the wine regions that surround the area such as Fitou, Corbieres and Minervois. But if you are staying at Le Moulin, I would say it should be considered a full day out to make the most of it.

Here are a few more photos of Argelès & Céret

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