: A 9
This area is marvellous for walking or painting: autumn colour breathtaking, February mimosa is stunning and then wild flowers and cherries take over. Winter blue skies and Canigou dominate the horizon, dusted with snow 2/3 of the year. Summers are warm, languid and sunny. Together with the clarity of light, this must have given inspiration to Picasso, Dufy, Braque and many more when they lived and painted here. Ceret is a small country town of real charm and great trees; very relaxed, but with many 'fiestas' all year and there is nearly always music. There are good restaurants and cafe/bars. Saturdays see the fabulous street market, with an additional craft market on Tuesday evenings in summer. The Musee d'Arte Moderne in Ceret is a must. Stunning Colioure and the Med beaches only 1/2 hour drive and there are castles, fortified towns and archaeological sites to explore. Toulouse and Montpellier are 2 hours away, Carcassonne even less. Spanish Catalonia is on your doorstep with its enchanting bays. And Barcelona is temptingly only 2 hours away.
Other Activities: Painting. Bird watching. Castles to visit. Fabulous spas in the area.
Golf: The nearest golf course is a small 9-hole course at Amelie-les-Bains, about 15 mins drive down the valley. However, there is a much more impressive course, Falgos, about 45 minutes drive,which is a magnificent place perched high up with wonderful scenery and full spa facilities for those who do not wish to play. Please check out the Falgos website, ask us for link. Nearby golf courses just over the border in Spain.
Ski: Just two hours’ drive to the Cerdagne pistes: ideal for a day’s skiing.
North-facing Cambre d’Aze is perfect for beginners, with wide slopes and easy forest trails while for experienced skiers there are well-groomed challenges. A good cross-country trail runs between Cambre d’Aze and its sister resort St Pierre del Forcats.
Try Puigmal for a good variety of runs with stunning views to north and west. On the other side of the valley, sunny Font Romeu and Pyrénées 2000 at Bolquère link to give 54km of pistes, backed by 500 snow-cannons.
For Les Angles (making its name among boarders) and Formiguères, head north at Mont Louis, the highest fortified town in France. There’s another good cross-country trail down by the pretty lake.
Take another half hour to cross the Spanish border for La Molina (40 pistes/50km) or head towards Andorra (four hours from Céret) to Puymorens: 40km of pistes plus cross-country trails.
Prefer golf to skiing? Go try Snow Golf at Font Romeu!