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Village d'Elne - paysage de France.

Elne

old village Castelnou in southern France ©LianeM/iStock

old village Castelnou in France

France, Pyrénées-Orientales (66), Vernet-les-Bains ©H. Lenain/hemis.fr

France, Pyrénées-Orientales (66), Vernet-les-Bains

France, Pyrénées Orientales (66), Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes, classé Patrimoine Mondial de l'UNESCO, classé au Plus Beaux Villages de France, Villefranche-de-Conflent, fort Libéria accroché à la montagne ©A. Spani/hemis.fr

Natural chimneys made up of columns of soft rock, eroded by rain in Ille sur Tet, Languedoc Roussillon, France. ©santirf/iStock

Ille sur Tet

Panorama of the old town of Eus in the Pyrenees Orientales, France. ©santirf/iStock

Village of Eus

Prairie recouverte de fleurs champêtres et de vignes ; à l'arrière plan, le mont Canigou enneigé - France, Europe. ©image2roman/iStock

Canigou enneigé et fleurs champêtres

Mountains with snow and cherries flowers in spring ©LucySavi/iStock

Mountains with snow and cherries flowers in spring

Harbor of Argeles-sur-mer with old fishing boats in front, mountain range of the Pyrenees in the background. ©horstgerlach/iStock

Port of Argelès-sur-Mer, France

Panoramic view of Collioure, France ©horstgerlach/iStock

Collioure, France

Rocky seafloor with seabream fish, Mediterranean sea, Costa Brava, Rosas, Catalonia, Spain ©Damocean/iStock

Diplodus vulgaris

Catalan flags hanging at medieval Cathedral Basilica of Saint John the Baptist of Perpignan ©JackF/iStock

Cathedral Basilica of Saint John the Baptist of Perpignan

Pyrenees

Between the sea and the mountains in the Pyrénées Orientales

From the Côte Vermeille to the Pic du Canigou

  • With friends
  • Mountains

Your journey begins with a day touring Perpignan on foot. This city of art and history of strong Catalan tradition is astounding for the depth of its heritage. Start by visiting the imposing Palais des Rois de Majorque which overlooks the Roussillon plain with gardens that offer splendid views of the surrounding areas. Take a tour of the citadel and fortifications to Castillet, the former prison that now houses the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions. You will pass the Hôtel de Ville (‘town hall’), hailing from the same period as the Cathédrale Saint-Jean Baptiste and the Saint-Jean-Le-Vieux Collegiate Church, both of which you can visit. Culture lovers will find plenty of museums in the city, whilst fans of the open air will opt for the Bir-Hakheim gardens or the Promenade des Platanes. Spend the evening on one of the lively terraces in the centre of town.

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Perpignan Perpignan

Day 1 - Perpignan

Your journey begins with a day touring Perpignan on foot. This city of art and history of strong Catalan tradition is astounding for the depth of its heritage. Start by visiting the imposing Palais des Rois de Majorque which overlooks the Roussillon plain with gardens that offer splendid views of the surrounding areas. Take a tour of the citadel and fortifications to Castillet, the former prison that now houses the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions. You will pass the Hôtel de Ville (‘town hall’), hailing from the same period as the Cathédrale Saint-Jean Baptiste and the Saint-Jean-Le-Vieux Collegiate Church, both of which you can visit. Culture lovers will find plenty of museums in the city, whilst fans of the open air will opt for the Bir-Hakheim gardens or the Promenade des Platanes. Spend the evening on one of the lively terraces in the centre of town.

Day 2 - Perpignan - Collioures

From Perpignan take the road to Collioure. Along the way, you can stop to admire the beautiful Roman tympanum in Cabestany and visit the church and cloister in Elne, before enjoying some relaxation on the wide sandy beach of Argelès-sur-Mer. Collioure is regarded as the pearl of the Côte Vermeille. Once you arrive, take the time to stroll past its port, its imposing castle, its coloured facades and its pebble beaches. The Notre-Dame-des-Anges church and its altarpieces are also worth a visit. There are also plenty of welcoming terraces for the evening.

  • Distance : 34 km
  • Duration : 0h57

Day 3 - Collioures and the Côte Vermeille

A few miles from Spain, Collioure is the perfect gateway to the wonders of the Côte Vermeille. Get closer to the Spanish border by driving to Cerbère, famous for its incredible underwater reserve. A must for sea life lovers! Next, head back North, stopping off at the beaches at Banyuls-sur-Mer en route. You’ll find exceptional underwater fauna and the opportunity to relax at the foot of the vineyards before returning to spend the evening in Collioure.

  • Distance : 42 km
  • Duration : 1h22

Day 4 - Collioures - Thuir

From here, you leave behind the Côte du Roussillon and its idyllic beaches to enter the Vallespir region. The Collioure route leads you first to Céret, a charming little town of character shaded from the sun by its plane trees. Among other reasons, it’s famous for its Museum of Modern Art which exhibits works from Dali, Picasso and Chagall. Your next destination is Thuir, an ancient medieval town where you will find the traces of its fortifications among the remains of its prestigious past. Don’t miss the chance to taste le byrrh, the famous aperitif produced in Thuir.

  • Distance : 64 km
  • Duration : 1h44

Day 5 - Thuir - Vernet-les-Bains

Get back behind the wheel and head first to Castelnou, a beautiful medieval village ranked among the Plus Beaux Villages de France. Next, visit the Orgues of Ille-sur-Têt, the impressive rock formations eroded into the shape of columns. Facing Canigou is the hilltop Catalan village of Eus, another of the Plus Beaux Villages de France. You should also stop to visit Prades, famous for the altarpiece at its Saint-Pierre Church. Make another stop at the listed village of Villefranche-de-Conflent with its Vauban fortifications and Fort Liberia before arriving in Vernet-les-Bains, your overnight destination.

  • Distance : 58 km
  • Duration : 1h22

Day 6 - Vernet-les-Bains - Journée au Canigou

The belle époque spa resort of Vernet-les-Bains is an ideal starting point for the hiking trails. Most notably, the Pic du Canigou is an option for the more sporty. So, take a break from your road trip and soak up the profound mountain atmosphere from the summit. You can also visit Abbaye Saint-Martin, the Benedictine monastery that sits in an unspoilt setting on a rocky promontory. Head back to  Vernet-les-Bains where you can stay overnight.

  • Distance : 6,3 km
  • Duration : 0h13

Day 7 - Vernet-les-Bains - Perpignan

Take one last opportunity to enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the seaside resort of Vernet-les-Bains before completing your road-trip week in the Pyrénées Orientales.

  • Distance : 60 km
  • Duration : 1h6

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