Absolutely Jane Mann!
By Ellen Hall
Whether you just hopped off the plane in Perpignan or have roamed the region for the last 30 years, Jane Mann’s latest book – Absolutely Almost All You need to know about the Pyrénées Orientales* – is a delightful travelling companion full of up-to-the-minute and surprising information about the marvels of the region.
The department divides naturally into three valleys and *AAAYNTKATPO follows the same principle. Along the Tet you can zip through the trees on a wire and discover your inner monkey, spanning the Tech you can find a bridge built by the devil, and near the Agly you can lunch and sip wine under a 300-year-old mulberry tree.
Here you will find essential information for your own exploration. Place names are in BOLD print with Tourist Office telephone numbers on the same page for easy reference. At the end of each section you can test your French to see if you have been paying attention! There is even an excursion across the border into Spain.
With her light hand when it comes to history: “Visigoths, Franks and Moors came and went”, Jane puts you in the picture without weighing you down (further reading is suggested in the bibliography.)
Jane has lived, written and taken pictures in the region for over a decade and has visited every one of the places mentioned. No detail escapes her photographer’s eye, be it the view from La Rotja mountain cave, Dali’s Polar Bear or the railway yard at Cerbere. You are in the care of a playful and sensitive travel companion.
Did you know that the PO is home to the biggest oak barrel, the smallest ski station, and the narrowest gorge in the world? Intrigued by a mountain pasture of granite sheep? Curious about the process of curing ham? Ever wonder how the word “bistro” entered the language? In addition Kate Hareng’s little-known facts, curious details and French exercises, ensure that this guide is brimming with insights and asides about language and culture and how to navigate day-to-day encounters in the region.
Absolutely (not Almost) the best imaginable introduction to the PO. Buy it from your local bookshop or from the FNAC online and enjoy making your own discoveries. Rosemary Bailey (Life in a Postcard, Love and War in the Pyrenees) emailed “…Read your book. Congratulations. It is great. Very good photos. I like the personal chatty style, all the asides, and could really hear your voice. In fact I think they should make more of the fact that this is a local author and not a journo zipping thro….”