We pass evocatively named places busy with history; Besalú, St Jaume de Llierca, Castellfollit de la Roca before entering Olot and the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcanica de la Garrotxa abundant with fascinating conical and sometimes symmetrical hills.

With quaint, cobbled streets, pretty squares, lively shops, restaurants, and bars, and art and music museums, there is certainly enough temptation to hang around the town, but there is plenty going on around and about too.

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.

At one point on one of your trains the driver shouted Papillion over and over and everyone quickly hopped off the train with their belongings. We English speakers did not know what was happening! In English a Papillion is a dog…but after some stressful moments my husband realised he was saying Perpignan………NOT Papillion!

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.

Céret-born Martin Fourcade, a 26-year-old non-commissioned officer of the mountain infantry brigade at Chamonix, emerged from the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games as the new star of biathlon, with three medals – two gold and one silver.

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