I’m assuming you’ve already gasped at the Parc Güell, gazed at Gaudi, stared at the Sagrada Familia, and marvelled at Miró.
For me the charm of Barcelona is to be found in its more homely treasures, on foot or by its efficient public transport system.

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.

Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989) once claimed that Perpignan Railway Station was the “Centre of the Universe, because its waiting room is where he got all his best ideas.”

St Joan de les Abadesses is probably not a town one would choose for a holiday break. Quite unprepossessing, and other than the monastery at its centre, there isn’t much to detain the traveller here. But the monastery was what we’d come to see, so we parked up and walked over the gorgeous 15th century Pont Vall, the old bridge over the Ter into the town. It was a promising start — the sun was shining and the river was lined with allotments and willow trees.

Founded in 1177 by King Alfonso I of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, Puigcerdà, meaning “Cerdanyan hill” in Catalan, replaced Hix (now a village in the French part of Cerdagne) as the capital of Cerdanya in 1178.