Within 20 Minutes Drive
- Perpignan: A delightful city – best explored on foot. We drive to Rue de
Marechal Foch and pay to park.
- Plan-d’eau: There are 2 local lakes which are commercially operated
swimming areas with facilities – including a small restaurant and boat hire.
The closer is at St-Jean Pla-de-Corts, just on the other side of the
Autoroute-de-Sud off the road to Ceret – about 15mins drive. The other is on
the southern outskirts of Perpignan at Villeneuve de-la-Raho.
- The beaches: The coast of the plain of Perpignan offers all the delights
of , in places commercially developed beaches. The closest, quietest and our
favourite is off the coastaal road to Collioure at Le Racou. This has a
patrolled beach. The beaches at Collioure are good and safe – you can sit in a
café or restaurant and watch your children in comfort – but parking in
Collioure, especially at weekends and public holidays, can be difficult.
- Golf at St Cyprien.
- There are vineyards with road-side sales; take the coastal route into
Collioure and then onwards to Banyuls-sur-Mer to catch an exciting equivalent
to the Great Ocean Drive (unfortunately there’s no equivalent to Lorne!).
- There are Napoleonic fortifications around Collioure, the best is a steep
walk up from behind the Art Gallery – which is just south of Collioure central.
Great views back over Collioure.
- Ceret: Very large Saturday morning market – parking is easy. There is a
good variety of stalls with the usual commercial ones plus lots of local fresh
produce – fruit and veg, bread and of course cherries in season. Afterwards,
enjoy a casis or coffee in one of the many restaurants and cafes.
- Aqualand: A large water activity theme park – close to St-Cyprien Plage.
- Elne: A pleasant historic town with an 11th century cathedral. Apricot and
peach orchards line the D4 and D162 East and West of the town.
- We still think that Laroque beats the lot! And you don’t even have to get
the car out as it’s all on your doorstep – literally.
Laroque des Alberes is in the foothills of the Pyrenees, 10kms from the
Mediterranean coast. It is a 'living village' with a permanent population,
schools, and several shops including a bakery, butcher and newsagency. There are
also 5 cafes/restaurants in the village. There is a supermarket about 5 mins
These are shots of the town and tower from the 1800s to
The Laroque Tower.
Laroque Town Square.
15 minute walk to the cool pool.
The Laroque Town Hall.
The Laroque Church.
The Mediterranean coast
There are the holiday beaches at Argeles and St Cyprien which have all the
facilities for a beach holiday and are popular in the summer months. There are
also the coastal villages of Collioure, Port Vendres and Banyuls sur Mer which
are where the mountains meet the sea-very scenic and interesting to explore
especially Collioure with its links to many artists including Matisse , Picasso
and the Fauves movement.
This is one of the 3 beaches at Collioure - there are sandy
areas, which is quite good for a French beach! Other beaches 10 mins drive
from the house are wide open sandy beaches which are very busy during the
We are at the eastern end of the Pyrenees. There are many possible excursions
depending on your interests. The ski fields around Andorra are about 1.5 hours
drive but there are a lot of closer attractions, eg The Little Yellow Train at
Between Collioure and Spain (and beyond), the Pyrenees meet
the Mediterranean Sea. The road is narrow and very windy with spectacular
views. Visit Port Vendres - a large modern fishing port - with a commercial
fish market. The road makes the Great Ocean Road feel inadequate!
This is a shot on the road to Andorra - early Spring time.
Lots of snow, fantastic scenery. Imagine cycling this in the tour de France.
Down hill! View from the Yellow Train.
A wet day, high in the Pyrenees, on the Yellow Train. Great
for the kids.
The Autoroute de Sud is accessible 10 km away at Le Boulou. Travel time to
Barcelona is 2hours and it is 1 hour to Gerona. Alternatively you can drive
along the coast which is slower but prettier.
Gaudi's famous architecture dominates Barcelona - just 2
hours drive on the autoroute away. In 2008 a new TVG route will open -
Perpignan to Barcelona in 40 mins!
The Jean Miro Art Gallery, Barcelona. Easy to find and in a
pleasant spot where parking is reasonably easy.
- Turn left out the house and follow the well marked track for approximately
10mins to the small reservoir. Look in and see the gold fish!
- Turn right at the reservoir and follow the small water course for approx
10mins until there is a well marked track up and off to the left. Stop here!
You have 2 choices:
- Walk straight ahead for a few minutes to bring you to a small rock pool -
which is deliciously cool in the summer.
- Turn RIGHT and downwards along a slightly less well defined path to cross
the river, then follow the path to the right and up to a narrow lane. Turn
right into this lane and in 10 mins you will arrive back in Laroque.
- Turn LEFT and upwards - an interesting, quite steep in places but easy,
through abandoned vineyards and cork plantations for approx 15 mins and you
will come out to a stony steep track. Turn LEFT and downhill down a windy
track which eventually takes you to Sorrede, where you turn LEFT and follow
the road back into Laroque (total about 1.5hrs).
- An alternative, at 4. Turn instead LEFT into the narrow lane, at the end
of which, near a garden gate, the track turns RIGHT and ascends steeply. There
are marvellous views over the plain to Perpignan, the Mediterranean and you
can even see the airport on a clear day. Follow the track for about 20mins,
towards The Domain (hill-side villas), which you can clearly see. Pass a small
water fountain and 200 metres further on to the RIGHT is a track (nominally
gated) which descends steeply into the Domain. Once you hit the tarmac road,
follow your nose downwards and then along a pleasant country road to return to
the outskirts of Laroque.
NOTE: Laroque is a popular base for walking in the Pyrenees. The tourist
office in the main sqaure has all the maps and details. We haven't done it yet,
but it is possible to walk to the Spanish border at Le Pic de Nueglos (which is
the tower you can see from our front door) to join GR10 which is the long
distance walk from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.