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.

You’ll catch glimpses of stunning scenery through the trees on the drive up, and find plenty of room to park comfortably in the main car park at the entrance to the village.

First stop, a short walk to the delightful showroom shop of “les Toiles de Soleil”. Home of the vibrantly coloured Catalan stripy fabric, ancient industrial revolution machines produce the famous material in the Dickensian factory behind the shop. Have your credit cards ready for gorgeous goodies – at a price!

At the Espadrille factory, higher up in the village, similarly brilliant fabric is used to make ‘vigatanes’, traditional Catalan rope-soled shoes – unique and handmade – along with brightly coloured hats, bags, and other surprises.

creation catalane

Wander down the hill to the little cinema and Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions in an old cooperative workshop.

You can see how the espadrilles are made, follow the history of the Bear Festival, and find information on walking the Cami de Retirada – the route many escapees took over this part of the Pyrenees.

A fascinating photographic record of the Retirada is displayed on the wooden dormitory bunks in which some of the 70,000 refugees slept on their long retreat from Franco at the end of the Spanish Civil War. Yet another corner of the museum is dedicated to cinema history in the form of old film posters, film equipment and machinery.

Golfers will not want to visit Saint Laurent without carrying on a few kilometres more to the Domaine de Falgos – golf resort and Spa par excellence. Open all year round, with endless stunning views, you can play or learn to play golf, tennis or just relax in the pool and spa.


Simon Bridges on Falgos
The estate is so stunningly beautiful that it sometimes requires a great deal of concentration to ignore the scenery and hit a golf ball accurately.

The hotel, the restaurant, the pool, the spa, the children’s area and all the extras make Falgos that extra bit special, and if you are fortunate enough to get a hotel room with a view over the golf course, you will feel blessed as you sip your sundowner on the balcony.

Falgos is a wonderful complex and I commend it not only to golfers of all standards, but to families seeking a special day out.

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