The region of Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France is one of our most popular areas in France for longer rentals. And with good reason, the combination of sunny climate, rich cultural heritage and varied landscape prove irresistible to many.
Roussillon has some of the finest French beaches, a warm climate and clear waters that are thought to promote health: a perfect combination for family vacations.
A mix of family holiday resorts, health spas and ancient fishing villages cluster along the coast, backed by a hinterland of untouched natural beauty.
Roussillon is a land of coastal plains, mountains, valleys and plateaux. The rich variety of the region’s landscapes has strongly influenced the architecture, lifestyle and culture of its people.
Roussillon’s countryside is unspoiled and its coastline protected, but its historic and cultural riches are also stunning. The region is littered with historical monuments, abbeys and castles and boasts several UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Pont du Gard, the Canal du Midi, the medieval city of Carcassonne.
The Roussillon also known as Catalonia is blessed with 300 days of sunshine per year, this most southerly region of French Catalonia nestling on the Spanish border is one that continues to delight and charm every visitor. 'La Cote Vermeille' in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon offers a great deal for the discerning holidaymaker and or property investor looking for a second-home or permanent home aboard.
You will discover an incomparable variety of scenery and many fascinating towns, mountains, plains ancient cities and modern resorts with a dry climate so characteristic of Mediterranean countries.
The coast has long, wide, flat sandy beaches with a complete range of water-sports, golf at St Cyprien and marvellous walking country in the Catalan foothills of the Pyrenees. Along the coast at such old ports as Collioure, Port Vendres and Banyuls, the coast eventually becomes high and rocky as the Pyrenees reaches the sea.
It is a land of many influences and a rich heritage, having been colonised by the Phoenician sea traders and later by the Romans who occupied Narbonne and Perpignan. This has been well restored and is beautifully presented, giving an impressive picture of the local history. Perpignan, 10 miles away is the second Catalan city after Barcelona. A lively city built on the banks of the river Tet, the Old Town has the Palace of the Kings of Majorca. Set in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Ceret is a beautiful market town with a modern art museum exhibiting paintings and works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Dali.
The countryside here is a mass of green vineyards, scattered with small sleepy villages with pastel coloured houses of red and orange. This is France's market garden, producing the earliest cherries, peaches and apricots from as early as April, and is now one of the most highly regarded "new" wine regions of France - supplying one in ten bottles of the worlds wine and famous for its Côtes de Roussillon, Banyuls, Byrrh, Muscat, and Rivesaltes.
Places to Visit
This area of Roussillon has an array of local attractions and sight seeing opportunities, all on its doorstep and easily accessible. A selection of these are detailed below:
Beaches & the Coast
Argeles-Sur-Mer, Collioure, La Racou-Plage, St. Cyprien-Plage and Canet-Plage. These beaches are all are favourites for families, providing safe bathing zones, showers, sun beds, parasols and toilets. Most beaches have large free car parking and a selection of cafe bars and restaurants for lunch etc. The beaches at Argeles-sur-Mer are groomed and cleaned each evening to the European Blue Flag standard of quality and have day-time beach patrols.
From Argeles Port and St Cyprien, yacht and powerboats can be hired or chartered. Scuba diving training and classes sail from Port d'Argeles off the coast to the rocky headlands and inaccessible coves only reached by boat.
There are boat trips and fishing expeditions from Port D' Argeles along the coast and into Spain.
For those who wish to visit Spain, then the nearby Costa Brava is within 60 minutes drive to places such as Rosas, Cadaques, L'Escala and Estartit.
Sports & Activities
Aqua Land - Fun for the family all day. Equipped with the usual range of water slides and tunnels it is located near to St Cyprien.
Boules - You can play anywhere in France or simply watch the locals.
Cycling - This is an ideal region to explore around the country lanes on bicycle.
Golf - There is an 18-hole golf course in St Cyprien. Several others within a range of 30 miles.
Mountain Biking - There are various tracks and routes to explore amongst the foothills of the Pyrenees and Forest des Alberes.
Skiing - A 90 minute car drive enables you to access the ski resort of Font Romeu / Pyrenees 2000, which has some excellent pistes for all levels. Show canons provide for an extended season from early December until early April and prices are less expensive than the Alps.
Tennis - There are numerous tennis courts in the area, virtually every village, however small, has a tennis club and most are open to non-members.
Walking - The area is famous for its 'Randonee' walking paths some of which are marked out. For those who are more adventurous, there are various challenging routes amongst the nearby Alberes hills. Qualified guides are available for those wishing to explore the area.
Wine Tasting - There are numerous caves and vine-yards offering tasting ('degustation'). We can recommend Chateau Valmy on the outskirts of Argeles, near the exit for Racou.
Thank you to Paul & Annette Spink for the above insight into their region. Their property adverts can be viewed below:
(Published September/October 2012)