Grantourismo in France
Ceret in cherry blossom season, Easter in Perpignan, macaroons in Paris & more...
One of our favourite holiday destinations, France was the fifth country on the Grantourismo itinerary and Lara and Terry's home away from home for almost a month, from late March until the end of April. They visited the pretty Catalan village of Ceret during cherry blossom season, enjoyed a lively Good Friday parade in the medieval town of Perpignan and learned to make macaroons in Paris, among many other things. Read on to find out more and get inspiration for your holidays in France.
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Ceret and Perpignan
Set in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, not far from Perpignan, Ceret is a small Catalan village famous for its art history and cherries. The village is a popular destination for art tourists, so Lara and Terry had to visit Ceret’s Museum of Modern Art, one of the most impressive art museums to be found in such a small village, according to Lara. Ceret is also a hiker's paradise, so the couple took a walking tour with Christian, a French-Catalan guide, who showed them the beautiful surroundings and views. In search of authentic experiences, the couple witnessed two of the most popular things for locals to do, a rugby match and the sardana, a folk dance dating back to the 16th century.
Although Ceret has a small selection of local restaurants and cafes, the couple wanted to sample a wider selection of the local cuisine and also explore other things to do, so they decided to escape the sleepy village and head off to the nearby town of Perpignan for a night. Here they took a gourmet walking tour and offered their tips and recommendations on the best places to eat. And, as Perpignan is famous for its non-stop calendar of festivals and concerts in the warmer months, they also attended two different events, a festival celebrating France’s national sustainable development week and the Procession de la Sanch, a slow, sombre march held in celebration of Good Friday.
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Property 53251 - Lara and Terry's ‘HomeAway from home’ in Ceret was a lovely two-bedroom apartment located on the ground floor of a 19th century grand old house situated on one of Ceret's most charming streets, lined with colossal trees. The property has its own garden with an olive tree and garden furniture and high stone walls and features two bedrooms, an open plan kitchen, dining and living area. The apartment comes equipped with board games, holiday novels, guidebooks, maps, Franch phrase books and dictionaries.
The apartment is available to rent on HomeAway.co.uk (Property 53251) and prices start at £350 per week.
As there are so many things to do and see in Paris, Lara and Terry focussed on two main activities: walking and eating. Walking is really one of the best ways to discover the many different sides of a city, while exploring the cuisine is a great way to dig deeper into the culture and history.
Aided by Marie Theres, a local artist and guide from Montmartre, Lara and Terry aimed to discover the real nature of Paris by strolling along its grand boulevards, poking around its flea markets and having an amble around arty Montmartre, their local neighbourhood for two weeks. And as food is such an essential part of French and Parisian life, they did a foodie walking tour of the specialty shops of the Haute Marais and learned how to identify a good baguette, something the French take very seriously indeed: They even have competitions for the best baguette and the winner gets the privilege of providing baguettes to the President! Inspired by this culinary icon, Lara and Terry also did their own tasting of baguettes bought from bakeries in their street to identify their local winners.
But the foodie-themed fun didn’t end there - Terry had a private class at Paris cooking school Cook’n with Class and learned how to 'master the macaroon'. Then a few days later the couple met Colin Field, head bartender at the atmospheric Bar Hemingway at The Ritz who taught Terry how to make a cocktail in one of Paris’ finest and most historic hotels.
Read all Lara and Terry's posts on Paris
Property 53504 - Lara and Terry's ‘HomeAway from home’ in Paris was a bright, spacious one-bedroom flat, with large windows overlooking a quiet courtyard. Hardwood floors and high, half-timbered ceilings tell you about the flat's era. It has a touch of beaux-arts paintings and stylish furniture. The bedroom has a queen size bed and there are two sofa-beds in the lounge to accommodate up to three youngsters. The flat is very well located, at a short walking distance to the lively Abbesses square and its original 'Art-Nouveau' metro station.
Next stop....Montenegro, stay tuned!
On HomeAway.co.uk you can find more than 55,000 private holiday homes to rent in France, ranging from chic city pads and cosy cottages to villas with pools and ski chalets. There are more than 600 city centre properties in Paris, which are a great alternative to the city’s pricey hotels for a short getaway.
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