Situated in the north of the Corbieres, between Narbonne and Carcassone, the medieval village of Lagrasse offers a feast for the eyes and is full of historical and cultural interest. It is classed as one of France’s most beautiful villages. The Abbey of St Marie d’Orbieu dates from the 8th century and stands across the river Orbieu on the opposite bank from the village.

Coming from the French word terre for “soil,” the word terroir originally described the special characteristics of a region, or piece of land, which gave different varieties of wine, coffee and tea their individuality. (Soil, climate, position, regional traditions….)

As you head up the N116 towards the high Pyrenees after Prades, the Têt Valley narrows dramatically where it meets the valley of the Cady, and the perfectly preserved fortified medieval town of Villefranche de Conflent whisks you back thousands of years in time.

A day out in the High Vallespir is always a pleasure. Today, we are heading up the D915 through Arles sur Tech, (worth a day out in its own right) to St Laurent de Cerdans, pretty cluster of old village houses wrapped around the church with its tall steeple.

Céret is the undisputed cherry capital of the P-O, and probably the whole of France, its cherry trees the last of the spring fruits to blossom but the first to bear fruit. By May, the first cherries of the season are on their way to the President of France, and stalls, trestle tables, and rickety makeshift benches laden with the fruit appear on every street corner, in garages, lay-bys and the Saturday market.

Free navettes will transport you from stations along the way to the ski resorts, reduced prices apply at the Hot baths of St Thomas (get off at Fontpedrouse) or at the ski stations of St Pierre de Forcats (off at Mont Louis) or Eyne ( off at Bolquere Eyne the highest station in France).

Valmy park will reopen to the public from the 6 February 2016. Trails, fountains, waterfall, play and picnic areas along with a fabulous view down to Argelès, the Mediterranean and the Roussillon plain.

1 2 3 11