Less well known (and cheaper) than the neighbouring Côte-d'Azur, the Côte Vermeille offers spectacular mountain vistas and a dramatic coastline, along with the highest sunshine record in France. Base yourself in Port Vendres, a more affordable option than nearby Collioure (and without the crowds). Make the most of the plentiful local produce on offer and self cater in the most well-equipped, spotless accommodation we've ever stayed in - 1A Grenache, Rue de la Liberte. Utilise the excellent local bus service (any journey 1 euro) and explore the delights of the local region.
1A 'Grenache' rue de la Liberte
I’ll let you into a secret. A hidden corner of one of our closest neighbours where the food is exquisite, the sun shines every day, Catalan and French cultures fuse and the local rose is cheap and inoffensive.
Avoid airport tantrums and restrictive baggage allowances and instead, jump in your car, throw in the children and their paraphernalia then cross the channel and drive south until you reach the Med but don’t turn left and follow the hordes to Nice and Provence but instead head right towards the Pyrenees where, tucked between the Med and the mountains, you will find the Cote Vermeille region basking in the sun, where even in August, you can find space on a beach and a table in a restaurant.
Port Vendres is a deep sea port and marina, crammed with rows of gleaming motor boats and yachts, yet still a working harbour edged by a tangle of nets and ropes. Rows of terracotta topped town houses tumble down its hilly flanks to the palm tree lined streets where a healthy smattering of bars and seafood restaurants host a mixture of primarily French tourists and the odd crusty local sea dog. The morning’s fresh fish and seafood can be purchased from the quayside or sampled al fresco in one of the eateries.
Within an easy drive of the long sandy beaches of Argeles sur Mer or inland Larqoue des Alberes where old houses cluster about a hill topped with a small tower and a meal can be taken on the sun dappled square next to the church from Hotel Le Catalan.
Take a jaunt on the road train to picture perfect neighbour Collioure home to a fine fortress returning via a vertiginous route through the vineyards or travel along the cornice road and over the border into Spain, (you can tell you’re in Spain as the road disintegrates into a pot holed track) and down into Portbou for some tapas and dos cerveza por favor.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com