|Minimum Stay||4 nights|
Spread over three floors, these two independent fully-furnished flats boast: private furnished terraces with bbq; small book and dvd libraries, 5 bikes,1 double bedroom (bottom) and 1 double, 1 twin and (double) sofabed (top). Five minutes' walk from a 3x a week market, bar, shops, restaurants, fishing lake, bus stop and train station. Only 20 minutes' drive from the Mediterranean and 60 minutes from the mountains offering summer walking and winter skiing. 80 minutes by TGV to Barcleona from Perpignan and 35 minutes' drive (20 minutes by TGV) to Dali's museum in Figueres, Spain.
All laundry is supplied (incl. beach towels, mats and umbrellas) and the cost of all services included in your rental fee (included unlimited and secure wifi access) - added to which is a chilled bottle of wine to greet you upon your arrival! In the event of any emergencies the services of a local English-speaking agent are available.
A video of the ground floor (basement) apartment can be found at:
though please note that:
- the stairs to the top terrace are blocked, thereby ensuring your privacy
- the cupboards on the terrace have been moved to the garage
- the garage is much neater and better organised than shown in the video!!
Set in the old part of town and recently converted, the property is welcoming and comfortable - described by several previous guests as "home from home" - just five minutes' walk from the centre of town yet very tranquil and private. Both flats (88sq.m and 108sq.m) - with their own private, sunny and very pretty terraces - are fully furnished and ideally equipped for the self-caterer (including bbq) yet minutes' walk from several restaurants. They both offer every modern comfort and amenity including secure wifi, a small reading library, maps of the local area and a small DVD library. Winter visitors will welcome the wood-burning stove and fireplace (wood supplied) for cosy evenings. Adult bicycles are provided together wth safety helmets and coolbags for picnics (plus non-breakable wine glasses!).
There are regular buses and trains into Perpignan (with fares costing just €1-2!) giving easy and quick access to the coast, the mountains and Spain - with or without bicycles!
The two apartments are totally independent from each other: all they share is a front door into the main building. Thereafter they have their own lockable entrance doors. PLEASE NOTE: the top flat is a maisonette and occupies the first and second floors of the whole building . The bottom, smaller, apartment, occupies only the ground / basement floor.
Each flats offers the following facilities:
- Welcome File containing essential information about the property and lots of information about places to visit and things to do
- TV and DVD
- unlimited wifi
- docking station for MP3 etc players
- CD/radio player
- dishwasher (ground floor flat only)
- electric (ground floor flat)/ gas (top floor flat) cooker and electric ovens
- electric toaster
- washing machine
- fridge freezer
- iron and ironing board
- hair dryer
- picnic cool bag with ice blocks
- electric fans
- free-standing electric radiators (bottom flat) / wall-mounted electric radiators (top flat)
- electric barbeque
- garden furniture including sun lounger (with cushions)
- private sunny terrace
- bath with powerful overhead shower
- separate toilet
- adult bicycles with cycle helmets
- garage parking for one medium-sized car (bookable according to availability on a first-come, first-served basis)
- beach towels and mats
- reading and dvd library
- selection of games (scrabble, playing cards etc)
- maps of the area
If you're looking to explore this southern Languedoc Roussillon region of France with its attractive mixture of Mediterranean climate and French and Catalan heritage, miles of sandy beaches and snow-topped mountains, then the small town of Le Soler makes for the ideal location - with regular flights coming in to nearby Perpignan from London Stansted, Birmingham, Southampton, and Paris airports. Just 6km from Le Soler is the university city of Perpignan, capital of the Pyrenees Orientales department, and the last French city before the Spanish border - and an hour and a half's motorway drive to Barcelona and just 80 minutes by high speed TGV train.
Perpignan is a vibrant and youthful city famous for its lively cultural life (including the annual 'VISA pour l'image' international photojournalism festival http://www.visapourlimage.com) and a plethora of great tapas bars, cafes, restaurants and bistros where time can be effortlessly whiled away over endless cups of coffee or glasses of Rousillon wine. There is great shopping to be had in the narrow maze of streets in the old Saint Jean district, where you will find designer boutiques as well as more familiar global brands.
A stroll eastwards along the La Basse canal leads to a tree-lined park along the Allées Maillol where you'll find one of the many examples of work by local artist Maillol, inspired by the city and the region.
Perpignan dates from as far back as 927 AD, and there are many architectural and historic sites worth visiting around the city including: the iconic Castillet tower – former gateway to the city and now serving as a museum and gallery; the vast 16th Century Couvent des Minimes monastery; the Cathedrale Saint-Jean; the Campo Santo cloisters (housing the oldest cemetery of its kind in France), and of course the gothic Palais des Rois de Majorque from where the visitor is afforded a great view across the city.
For those who want a bit of sporting action, then Perpignan is, of course, the place to catch a bit of rugby – this local passion is represented by the Catalan Dragons (rugby league) and the Union Sportive Arlequins Perpignan or USAP (rugby union), both teams playing at the Stade Aime Giral.
Getting away from city life isn't too difficult in the Pyrenees Orientales department. Whilst Perpignan is the economic and cultural centre of the department, it is a relatively small city and within 8 minutes' drive to the west lies the small Catalan town of Le Soler, with its tennis and basketball courts, fishing lake, parks, small observatory and popular cafes. Just a short 20 minutes drive to the east you will find yourself by the blue Mediterranean Sea with its miles of sandy beaches at Canet-Plage.
The resort at Canet is somewhat over-developed and not to everyone's taste, but like most of the coastline here it carries a Blue Flag and is an ideal spot for trying out watersports of all kinds. Both north and south of Canet are pretty inland lagoons, perfect for bird-watching or learning about the local trades of salt making and oyster farming - and a great place to take the bikes!
If wine-tasting is more your thing, then 10 minutes' drive to the west of Le Soler is the small town of Thuir (pronounced tweer), where you can visit the winery where the famous local aperitif Byrrh (pronounced beer) is still produced, along with other wine-based drinks such as Cinzano and Dubonet. If local markets are of interest, then don't miss Thuir's vibrant all-day Saturday market (though the one in Le Soler is also very attractive).
The Roussillon region (the old name for the Pyrenees Orientales) is one of the most prolific wine-producing departments in the Languedoc Roussillon and within an hour's drive in almost any direction you will come across towns which have their own distinct wine product and history. To the north of Perpignan and Le Soler (and technically in the Aude department) is the Fitou region which was one of the first to be awarded its own “appellation” back in 1948; to the west is the Agly River valley and the town of Maury, which produces a delicious sweet wine rather like Port; to the south there is the coastal town of Banyuls-sur-Mer where the golden coloured Banyuls sweet wine is made .
Banyuls-sur-Mer is a must for the diving and snorkling enthusiast as this is one of the access points for the Reserve Marine – a protected marine environment, home to an exciting variety of fish, which stretches around the rocky coastline of the Côte Vermeille all the way to Cebère, the last French town before Spain.
The Côte Vermeille very much represents the typical French coastal scene: between rocky outcrops lie intermittent quiet bays lined with pretty sea-side towns, in particular the delightful and rather romantic Collioure. A top spot for art lovers (esp. of Fauvism), this town was once host to the likes of Matisse and Derain and now houses many galleries selling local contemporary art.
Further to the south-west of Perpignan and Le Soler is the other arty hotspot – the very pretty town of Ceret, where none other than Picasso once lived, who along with other celebrated names helped form the Modern Art Museum of Ceret. This Museum hosts an important permanent collection featuring work from Chagall, Miro, Matisse and of course Picasso as well as regular visiting exhibitions. Further up into the mountains from Ceret is the thermal spa town of Amelie-les-Bains where you can relax away all your aches and pains in the hot thermal spings.
Exploration to the west of Perpignan and Le Soler, and into the wild countryside under the emblematic presence of Mount Canigou (a spiritual symbol for Catalans), will lead you to discover medieval fortified villages such as Castelnou and Villefranche-de-Conflent which testify to the violent past associated with this region. For nature enthusiasts there are gorges, caves, and the strange rock formations called les Orgues to explore. To the north-west, heading into the Aude, there is the Tautavel Museum (with informative exhibitions describing the lives of prehistoric cave dwellers) and the important Cathar fortresses of Peyrepertuse and Queribus.
Other places of interest include:
Prades (Catalan Prada de Conflent) (20 mins' drive way) - site of the Catalan Summer University (Universitat Catalana d'Estiu).
Banyuls-sur-Mer (Catalan Banyuls de la Marenda) (90 mins' drive away) famous for its Grenache-based Banyuls wine, birth place of Aristide Maillol, and home to an extensive protected maritime reserve offering excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Prats de Molló (90 mins' drive away) - important defensive castle of the 17th century facing south to the Pyrenees.
Salses (25 min' drive away) - important defensive castle of the 16th century, on the ancient frontier with Spain.
Les Angles (an hour's drive away) - popular destination for skiers in the winter and for hikers in the summer
Thuir (10 mins' drive away) - fascinating home to the factory producing famous aperitifs such as Dubonnet, Martini and Byrrh and boasting a railway siding designed by Eiffel himself!
We adore France and one of the great pleasures of Le Soler is that one lives amongst the French with no sound of other strange tongues (apart from the local Catalan!).
Being comfortable is important to us and so we have worked hard to make the two apartments as comfy and welcoming as possible. We adore shopping for local produce and then cooking it and eating al fresco on the terrace so you can be assured of two very well equipped kitchens - and a chilled bottle of wine to welcome you (or a warming red in the winter!).
Having stayed in many other holiday rental properties - with varying success - we know what we expect and want to ensure that we at least meet our own standards and expectations! It's important to us that we meet yours too so let us be the first to know if we don't!
Pippa John-Cooke purchased this apartment in 2008
We have owned the property since 2008 and have watched Le Soler develop into the beautiful and very comfortable small Catalan town that it is now, offering the visitor a taste of authentic French life. It's great attraction to us is that it is in not a tourist town so you can really immerse yourself in the southern French life here with quick and easy access to the beaches as well as the mountains.
We work very hard to make sure that our visitors have as comfortable and enjoyable a stay as possible. We adore buying the wonderful fresh market produce, cooking and eating it outdoors so you can be sure that each kitchen is terrifically well equipped!
Another huge pleasure is cycling along the back roads through orchards and vineyards or along the coast so we offer you our bikes: enjoy!
All amenities are literally 5 minutes walk away (incl. the best bakery and boucherie in southern France!!) , as is the bus stop for the no. 17 bus into Perpignan. The (unmanned) train station is an 8 minute walk from where one can reach Perpignan in 5 minutes (for €1!) or go in the opposite direction to Villefranche (for €1-2!) - where you can catch the Yellow Train up into the Pyrenees.
Le Soler is just off the main road up to Prades and Andorra so an easy get-away either to the mountains and the Cathar castles or the beaches is assured.
The lake in Le Soler offers the stroller two bistro-type eateries .... not to mention competition fishing if one so chooses. Just over the road from here is the Tet river which is a wildlife haven. So you see, all is easily available and accessible!
We can cater for large(r) groups as both apartments can be rented at the same time !
very comfortable apartment, well equipped, nothing missing, good location on a quiet street; found on arrival a good bottle of wine, cool soft drinks and chocolates; enough towels, clean bed sheets and good duvets, radiators working perfectly. we highly recommend this rental.
Listing description accurate (there was nothing that flat didn't have!). It was excellently maintained and squeaky clean. The information, maps etc were comprehensive and helpful - though maybe a good weed of the folder of sights/eateries etc might be less mind-blowing.
We had the benefit of owners being downstairs while we were there. They couldn't have been more charming or more helpful. Nothing was too much trouble.
We are both over 70 and while fit and energetic had to pace ourselves a bit, especially in temps of 34C. The flat was ideal for doing not-very-much as well as being in an area which allowed us to hunt out good wines; enjoy evening swims when not too windy; explore Cathar Castles and doing the round trip to Font Romeu on the Train Jaune. We only tried one walk, but far too hot and too steep, so we passed on further exercise of that sort.
We were there the first 2 weeks of September, so only one local bistro open - many things were beginning to close down. But there was certainly enough to keep us well entertained.
We would thoroughly recommend the property and the area.
Nice clean well equipped flat with private terrace for eating out in the evenings or nice cool breakfast with fresh coffee and croissants! Easy access to boulangerie, boucherie and small "min-market" within a couple of mins walk (but check French holiday closures/restricted opening during late August - there are alternative boulangeries within 10 mins walk), larger supermarket on edge of town. There is a beautiful lake within a few mins walk with a great play area, and also 5 mins up the road an area for playing football/basketball. Local boys quite happy to join in our kickabout and make a match of it which Sam (9 yrs) appreciated as an avid Liverpool (and Barcelona) fan.
Good bus service into Perpignan plus a less frequent rail connection (no ticket sales at Le Soler but contrary to signs at the station you can buy tickets on the train). We used public transport for the first week (just be sure to check the timetables for connecting services - tend to be large gaps in rail services during the morning), by train you can access a picturesque (busy) beach at Le Collioure, and take train direct to Villefranche le Conflent - a UNESCO world heritage site. You can spend several hours just walking the covered wall walks but also plenty of restaurants/shops with character and a cool cave walk. Travel by train to Barcelona/Carcassone is best booked by TGV in advance to secure a better price. We recommend Narbonne and it's sub terrainian Horreum. Apart from Dad not being able to quaff numerous beers!..it is more flexible to explore the wider area and local beaches by car, which you can hire at Perpignan station.
By car, nearby spectacular fort at Queribus (viewable from window - just ask Granville) was perhaps our best trip so well worth a visit (you can drive and park within 200m and walk up the rest - easy but be mindful of the steep drops so control kids), with fantastic views of the Pyrennees. We also visited beaches at Banyuls ( quiet, pebble beach so take beach shoes), and Le Barcares/Leucate ( uncrowded long sandy beach we enjoyed the most as it was warm water and easy to get into the sea on soft sand - no close facilities but a few restaurants to have a good lunch or just take packed lunch). It was really useful to have Wifi at the flat, and while only French TV, the selection of DVDs was plentiful - son particularly, loved watching Harry Potter over and over! Our thanks to friendly Granville and Pippa - a pleasure to meet them.
The flat is in a great location, fantastic boulangerie/patisserie 3 minutes walk. Play park with skate ramps nearby too. We travelled to La Franqui plage for a better shallow beach more suitable children. On windy days we went sailing on the etang at Le Barcares or the beach at Leucate plage. The flat was clean and tidy when we arrived. It's well equipped with everything you'd need and there's a supermarket 5 minutes drive away. It's 15 minutes drive to Perpignan and 30/45 minutes to the beaches.
We had a great holiday and will return the the area next year.
After excellent levels of communication and information from Pippa, as well as the previous visitors reviews, we were expecting the apartment in Le Soler to the meet the needs of our family (including two teenage children) and we weren't disappointed.
We have been to this region many times, and Le Soler provides an ideal base being at the foot of the Pyrenees, 20 minutes drive from some gorgeous beaches and just outside of Perpignan , there is something for everyone.
We found the apartment to be exactly as described, clean, well maintained (and with all the all important wi-fi for the kids!) and with the private terrace that provided a tranquil space to enjoy warm evenings eating home cooked local produce with a glass of chilled rosé.
We spent many days at the beaches, visiting some of the regions regular markets and visited Spain for a day (less than 40 minutes drive) to attend the Dali Museum in Figueres. We also spent a relaxing evening at La brasserie du village, enjoying simple authentically French cuisine with a great atmosphere and reasonably priced.
I would certainly recommend this property to my friends and relatives. Thank you Pippa.
second year at this flat ideal for a family of 4 or two couples everything you need close to all amenities Perpignan and the beach's. Owners very helpful and easy to contact should anything go wrong. The flat is comfy and has everything you could need, great for cooking fantastic kitchen and a great patio for entertaining. will be back again.
Kind regards John.
The nearest Mediterranean beach to the flats - Canet Plage - is 21km / 20 mins' drive from the house. All beaches are blue flag standard (i.e. very clean) and most offer nearby refreshment facilities. Some, like Port Leucate (35 mins' drive north up the coast) offer beachside amusements / fun fairs. Others, like Argeles (35 mins' drive south) offer sea fishing and sea cruise trips from May - September. The very picturesque coastal town of Collioure is 45 mins' drive south.
Perpignan airport is approx. 12km / 12 mins' drive
Beziers airport is approx. 110km / 1hrs' drive / 1 hr by train
Carcasonne airport is approx. 127 km / 1hr 10mins' drive / 1.5hrs by train
Toulouse airport is approx. 220km / 2hrs' drive / 2.25hrs by train
Girona airport is approx. 109 km / 1 hrs' drive / 1.25hrs by train
Barcelona airport is approx. 211 km / 2hrs 10mins' drive / 2.5 hrs by train
Excellent bus & train services in and out of Le Soler to Perpignan and beyond (for €1-2!).
Perpignan - 8 km
Thuir - 8 km
Canet beach - 21 km
Força Réal - 19 km
Saint-Cyprien beach - 28.5 km
Querebus cathar castle -32 km
Serrabone priory - 33 km
Argeles sur mer - 33km
Ceret -36 km
Collioure -39 km
Villefranche-de-Conflent - 42 km
Prats de Molló - 65 km
Mont Louis - 74 km
Abbaye de Fontfroide - 75 km
Beziers - 100 km
Montpellier - 160 km
Figueras, Spain - 61 km
Barcelona - 197 km
Just 5 mins' walk from the flats are all the amenities you would expect to find in a small town such as the market square with its bar, post office, banks, library, newsagent, flower shop as well as bakery, butcher's, small supermarket, greengrocer and chemist.
Equally close are several take-away pizzerias, a chinese take away, and several small restaurants.
A 10 minute stroll away from the centre of the town is a very pretty lake with two lakeside bistros one of which offers a programe of live music in the summer.
A little further on and over the bridge there is access to the Tet river and all its birdlife, great for walking, an explore and/or messing around in the water!
If you are interested in visiting a vineyard and doing some wine-tasting, then Chateau Nadal Hainaut is a short 3 km (30 minute walk) from the flats (they produce a particularly easy-to-drink rose wine!). Otherwise, a highly recommended and fascinating half day out would be to Thuir and the Byrrh factory where the aperitif Byrrh has been made since 1866 and where there are railway sidings designed by Eiffel. (The factory also makes Dubonnet and a number of other well-known aperitifs).
Another great day out is to take the €2 train to Villefranche-de-Confluent and, from there, to catch the 'Yellow Train' up into the Pyrenees as far as Latour de Carol, a journey described as "... one of the great railway journeys of the world – a historic metre-gauge electric railway in the French Pyrenees, opened in 1909, and still going strong. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an altitude of 427 metres at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at Bolquère Eyne, France’s highest railway station, lying at an altitude of 1592 metres (5226 ft) above sea level. It then drops down to a high Pyrenean valley, to its terminus at Latour de Carol."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmXOq8hq4E8 (top flat)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfyomTrMLAo (bottom flat)