Wednesday 4 August 2010

South of France here we come (again)

'A' marks our holiday spot!  (click on maps to enlarge)

Well the holiday is booked and we shall soon be heading off for a villa we have rented in the South of France. This year we shall be close to the French border with Spain, near a village called Laroque Des Alberes. We'll be flying to Perpignan airport, picking up a rental car and then driving about 25km south to our villa in the foothills of the pyrenees, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

The area seems a really interesting one due to its position close to the Spanish border and the Catalan influence, the pyrenees and the coast - so there should be plenty to do and see. Culturally and historically it is a fascinating area due to the competing interests of France and Spain - the area has changed hands a few times, culminating in the Treaty of the Pyrenees in  1659 which finally signed the area over to France. Though I have read a story (shaggy dog?) however, about how some inhabitants of the the area apparently only realised they were in France when they got their wartime 'call up' papers in 1914! 

We're especially interested in exploring something of the coastal towns of Collioure, Port Vendres and Banyuls along the so-called Cote Vermeille an area which has inspired artists ever since it was 'discovered' by the 19thC Fauvists. The inland town of Le Perthus also sounds interesting - the last town before crossing over into Spain. But is is also historically significant for being the place where, on 5 February in 1939, a column of 20,000 Spanish Republicans arrived at the border to seek sanctuary in France.

It would be wonderful to explore all this but with two young children I fear that the nearest Aquapark will be the highest item on their agenda!  That's it for now on the holiday - maybe more after we return. I'd be really interested to hear if you've visited or know the region and can make any suggestions, or just tell me what you thought.

My other posts about France: 
- French holiday villa with surprising extras!
- Outdoor swimming, castles and French horses' bums! (2008 visit to Carcassonne region)
- Back from South of France and "Hello from France, Cote D'Azur)
(2009 visit to Lorgues, near Nice/St Tropez)


Plummy Mummy said...

How was your holiday?
Guess you are busy with getting the boys back into school and new term but hope you will be back to blogging soon...I'm relying on your knowledge of all things cultural in the borough.

Raven said...

Hi Plummy, the holiday was great. And you're right about the start of term - it is a crazy time. It's strange how when you stop blogging, that becomes kinda addictive. But I hope to get back to it! So much to write about, so little good-brain time (as I call it). Good to hear from you - hope all is well with you. I shall be commenting on your new new hairstyle...

Plummy Mummy said...

I am so relieved to hear from you. When I was at the docs this week, I saw an alert about measles in france.
So phew, panic over.
I look forward to reading your posts soon.

P.S. My hair. Yes. I need more scarves as the back of my neck is freezing now!