What does the arrival of the spring season mean for you? Here in the south of France, it feels like a new awakening as everything seems to come to life again after the winter. Suddenly the birds are singing, flowers growing and the vines beginning to show their first shoots.
Now that the clocks have gone forward, it stays light until well after 8pm. With the winter far behind us now, this is the time to sit at a pavement café watching the world go by, and the French in our experience have got this down to a fine art!
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It feels like a new awakening as everything seems to come to life again after the winter.
We celebrated the arrival of spring this week by paying a visit to the fabulous city of Perpignan in the Pyrénées-Orientales. The “PO” was for a very long time Spanish, until it became French in 1659. It still has a real Spanish feel to it, with Catalan still spoken, bullfights taking place and plenty of restaurants serving tapas. Situated very close to the Spanish border, the Pyrénées-Orientales is a truly beautiful region with mountains, rivers and some fantastic beaches and bays. Property here is cheaper than in the Alps and the Cote d’Azur.
We sat outside and met some British people who had been skiing during the morning, before heading to the coast to bask in the sunshine with a glass of wine. They mused on how many other places in the world this might be possible.
The landscape in the PO is probably the most attractive in the Languedoc region, with the Pyrénées dominating the view. But here you have not only this majestic backdrop, but also bustling towns with restaurants, cafes, art galleries and museums. Collioure, Port Vendres and Banyuls are all worth visiting. This whole coastline is stunningly beautiful and there is something about the light here too: the sun is golden and rich and doubtless one of the reasons so many artists came to this region.
This whole coastline is stunningly beautiful.
Check out the valley of the Tet, an area littered with Cathar castles (one always wonders how on earth they were built hundreds of years ago, often on high peaks – truly remarkable!) and hills with vines and fruit trees as far as the eye can see.
The village of Castelnou in particular is worth a visit. It is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France and is situated a few kilometres south of Perpignan. Wandering through its tiny cobbled streets and up to the medieval castle towering above the village is an absolute joy.
Most of us remember the old Cole Porter song “I love Paris in the springtime”. There is just something about the season of spring across the whole of France though which seems to captivate us.
If you are ready to buy in France in the next three months, let me introduce you to Yasmin who leads our friendly France Resource Team. Call her on 020 7898 0549 or email [email protected]. We can put you in touch with a trusted estate agent, French lawyer and currency specialist.