For the long weekend of 8th December, we decided to go to the South of France. Amongst the possibilities we chose the town of Perpignan that is situated at only a couple of hours drive from Barcelona on the other side of the border.
For us who live in Barcelona, Perpignan represents the first city that tells us we arrived in France, which means croissants, pain au chocolat (chocolate bread) and pain au raisin (bread with raisins), we adore French bakery! Nevertheless, apart from filling our stomach with croissants, we also discovered that Perpignan and the surroundings are amongst the nicest places in the South of France.
There are many things to do in Perpignan and the area around, it well deserves a weekend break from Barcelona or any other cities around. There are numerous villages listed in the official list of the most beautiful ones in France, we will recommend you those that we really loved.
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Perpignan is a town with around 100,000 habitants, we visited it this time during the night. It was really cold out there, but the Christmas atmosphere and mulled wine compensated for our suffering:) Our favorite places to visit in Perpignan are the Castillet, the antique town gate of the old town and the Saint Jean-Baptiste Cathedral.
It is also very pleasant to stroll on the bank of the River Têt, and although Perpignan is a relatively small city, you can find a big variety of shops in the center and many things to do especially in its surrondings.
This small village situated off the main road is one of the nicest villages in the South of France. The Romanesque church stands as a guard of the place, and getting lost in the narrow streets paved with stones is a real pleasure. The ambience couldn’t be calmer and it sends you back to an era when globalization didn’t exist yet and people lived in a very simple way.
Villefranche-de-Conflent is a medieval fortified town from the 11th century. It is more touristic tan Evol, but it conserves its charm. The River Têt flows in front of the town walls, serving as natural protection, and it adds to the beauty of this small town.
At first sight Mosset might seem an ordinary village without anything special. However, when you start walking around the narrow allies, you get to the old part of the town and you’ll instantly understand why it is one of the most beautiful villages in the South of France. Two meter tall pine trees around bell tower of the church, furnaces outside the wall are amongst the things that add to the beauty of this place.
In an idyllic environment, the Pyrénées-Orientales, Eus seems to be hanging on a rock. The narrow cobbled streets take you to the top of the hill, where the church looks down on the surrounding area. The views are really breathtaking. The village is very well conserved, it really brings back the medieval times.
Castelnou without doubt is our favorite village in the area. Maybe because of the slightly mysterious atmosphere, maybe because the floor of the streets is so irregular, maybe because of the strangely shaped stones that preside the streets, Castelnou is a place quite hard to leave.
Apart from the charming villages, when driving around, one constantly stops to appreciate the precious landscape, presided by the El Canigou mountain and vineyards. The best way to get to all the places to visit in Perpignan and the surroundings is traveling by car.
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These are our recommendations about the places to visit and the things to do in Perpignan and the surrounding area. If you have already visited this zone, and you think that we missed some of your favorite places in the area, we would be delighted to know about that.