The Catalan lifestyle
A change of scenery during your holiday also means sampling the local lifestyle. In the Catalan region, you'll be spoilt for choice!
Vegetables, fish and olive oil are combined with cooked meat products, whether dried or to be grilled and it's by no means rare to sample dishes combining both meat and fish. Cooked meat products and cheeses are often enjoyed as tapas at aperitif time, out on the terrace. When it comes to wine, the Catalan region boasts a rich selection of red, rosé and white wines. They'll serve you Cava, a sparkling wine and a regional speciality. It's always best to go and take a stroll around the market and chat with local producers to benefit from their extensive know-how. In the evenings, you can cook these delicious products in your mobile home’s fully equipped kitchen.
In Arles sur Tech you can tuck into genuine Rousquilles, small aniseed biscuits.
The red and yellow flag is everywhere, bearing witness to a strong Catalan identity which in no way prevents the Catalans from warmly welcoming anyone who takes an interest in their culture. You'll hear Catalan spoken on the café terraces. Feel free to strike up a conversation by discussing rugby (!!). In the summer, there are plenty of events and festivals, and you'll get a chance to dance the sardana. A wonderful opportunity to also discover the gastronomy and the legendary Catalan spirit, proud yet discreet.
In Saint-Laurent sur Cerdans, pay a visit to the factory where the Toiles du Soleil are woven and pick up some Vigatanes, the Catalan sandals which you'll see on feet of all sardana dancers.
Perpignan, the Catalan capital, is a lively showcase for the inimitable Catalan spirit. As the former capital of the Kings of Majorca, this Mediterranean town has retained a number of traces of their passing including the palace and the convents, which are open for visits. This is also a festive town, and the event season begins with the Festa Major in June: a wealth of festivities, activities, music and dancing which ends with the huge Sant Jean bonfire. On match days (we’re talking about rugby of course!) you'll see red and yellow flags everywhere. In the jewellers’ shops, take the time to admire the garnets, the Catalans’ sacred stone, generally set in an item made from gold.
Each year in September, the international photojournalism festival, Visa pour l’Image, welcomes some of the great names from the photojournalism world. Exhibitions are organised throughout the town and screenings are organised on the big screen in Campo Santo square. www.visapourlimage.com