|Minimum Stay||4 nights|
Ground (basement) floor, fully-furnished and equipped double bedroomed flat with large private terrace and use of adult bicycles five minutes' walk from the centre of this quiet Catalan town with its three-times-a-week market, bar, shops, restaurants, fishing lake, observatory and tennis courts. Only 20 minutes' drive from the Mediterranean and 60 minutes from the mountains offering summer walking and winter skiing. 80 minutes by TGV to Barcleona from Perpignan and 35 minutes' drive (20 minutes by TGV) to Dali's museum in Figueres, Spain.
All laundry is supplied (incl. beach towels, mats and umbrellas) and the cost of all services included in your rental fee (included unlimited, secure wifi) - added to which is a chilled bottle of wine to greet you upon your arrival! In the event of any emergencies the services of a local English-speaking agent are available.
Property rated 'Excellent' (TripAdvisor May 2014).
For more visual info. go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfyomTrMLAO
A video of the ground floor (basement) apartment can be found at:
though please note that:
- the stairs to the top terrace are blocked, thereby ensuring your privacy
- the cupboards on the terrace have been moved to the garage
- the garage is much neater and better organised than shown in the video!!
Set in the old part of town and recently converted, the property is welcoming and comfortable - described by several previous guests as "home from home" - just five minutes' walk from the centre of town yet very tranquil and private. Both flats (88sq.m and 108sq.m) - with their own private, sunny and very pretty terraces - are fully furnished and ideally equipped for the self-caterer (including bbq) yet minutes' walk from several restaurants. They both offer every modern comfort and amenity including secure wifi, a small reading library, maps of the local area and a small DVD library. Winter visitors will welcome the wood-burning stove and fireplace (wood supplied) for cosy evenings. Adult bicycles are provided together wth safety helmets and coolbags for picnics (plus non-breakable wine glasses!).
There are regular buses and trains into Perpignan (with fares costing just €1-2!) giving easy and quick access to the coast, the mountains and Spain - with or without bicycles!
The two apartments are totally independent from each other: all they share is a front door into the main building. Thereafter they have their own lockable entrance doors. PLEASE NOTE: the top flat is a maisonette and occupies the first and second floors of the whole building . The bottom, smaller, apartment, occupies only the ground / basement floor.
Each flats offers the following facilities:
- Welcome File containing essential information about the property and lots of information about places to visit and things to do
- TV and DVD
- unlimited wifi
- docking station for MP3 etc players
- CD/radio player
- dishwasher (ground floor flat only)
- electric (ground floor flat)/ gas (top floor flat) cooker and electric ovens
- electric toaster
- washing machine
- fridge freezer
- iron and ironing board
- hair dryer
- picnic cool bag with ice blocks
- electric fans
- free-standing electric radiators (bottom flat) / wall-mounted electric radiators (top flat)
- electric barbeque
- garden furniture including sun lounger (with cushions)
- private sunny terrace
- bath with powerful overhead shower
- separate toilet
- adult bicycles with cycle helmets
- garage parking for one medium-sized car (bookable according to availability on a first-come, first-served basis)
- beach towels and mats
- reading and dvd library
- selection of games (scrabble, playing cards etc)
- maps of the area
If you're looking to explore this southern Languedoc Roussillon region of France with its attractive mixture of Mediterranean climate and French and Catalan heritage, miles of sandy beaches and snow-topped mountains, then the small town of Le Soler makes for the ideal location - with regular flights coming in to nearby Perpignan from London Stansted, Birmingham, Southampton, and Paris airports. Just 6km from Le Soler is the university city of Perpignan, capital of the Pyrenees Orientales department, and the last French city before the Spanish border - and an hour and a half's motorway drive to Barcelona and just 80 minutes by high speed TGV train.
Perpignan is a vibrant and youthful city famous for its lively cultural life (including the annual 'VISA pour l'image' international photojournalism festival http://www.visapourlimage.com) and a plethora of great tapas bars, cafes, restaurants and bistros where time can be effortlessly whiled away over endless cups of coffee or glasses of Rousillon wine. There is great shopping to be had in the narrow maze of streets in the old Saint Jean district, where you will find designer boutiques as well as more familiar global brands.
A stroll eastwards along the La Basse canal leads to a tree-lined park along the Allées Maillol where you'll find one of the many examples of work by local artist Maillol, inspired by the city and the region.
Perpignan dates from as far back as 927 AD, and there are many architectural and historic sites worth visiting around the city including: the iconic Castillet tower – former gateway to the city and now serving as a museum and gallery; the vast 16th Century Couvent des Minimes monastery; the Cathedrale Saint-Jean; the Campo Santo cloisters (housing the oldest cemetery of its kind in France), and of course the gothic Palais des Rois de Majorque from where the visitor is afforded a great view across the city.
For those who want a bit of sporting action, then Perpignan is, of course, the place to catch a bit of rugby – this local passion is represented by the Catalan Dragons (rugby league) and the Union Sportive Arlequins Perpignan or USAP (rugby union), both teams playing at the Stade Aime Giral.
Getting away from city life isn't too difficult in the Pyrenees Orientales department. Whilst Perpignan is the economic and cultural centre of the department, it is a relatively small city and within 8 minutes' drive to the west lies the small Catalan town of Le Soler, with its tennis and basketball courts, fishing lake, parks, small observatory and popular cafes. Just a short 20 minutes drive to the east you will find yourself by the blue Mediterranean Sea with its miles of sandy beaches at Canet-Plage.
The resort at Canet is somewhat over-developed and not to everyone's taste, but like most of the coastline here it carries a Blue Flag and is an ideal spot for trying out watersports of all kinds. Both north and south of Canet are pretty inland lagoons, perfect for bird-watching or learning about the local trades of salt making and oyster farming - and a great place to take the bikes!
If wine-tasting is more your thing, then 10 minutes' drive to the west of Le Soler is the small town of Thuir (pronounced tweer), where you can visit the winery where the famous local aperitif Byrrh (pronounced beer) is still produced, along with other wine-based drinks such as Cinzano and Dubonet. If local markets are of interest, then don't miss Thuir's vibrant all-day Saturday market (though the one in Le Soler is also very attractive).
The Roussillon region (the old name for the Pyrenees Orientales) is one of the most prolific wine-producing departments in the Languedoc Roussillon and within an hour's drive in almost any direction you will come across towns which have their own distinct wine product and history. To the north of Perpignan and Le Soler (and technically in the Aude department) is the Fitou region which was one of the first to be awarded its own “appellation” back in 1948; to the west is the Agly River valley and the town of Maury, which produces a delicious sweet wine rather like Port; to the south there is the coastal town of Banyuls-sur-Mer where the golden coloured Banyuls sweet wine is made .
Banyuls-sur-Mer is a must for the diving and snorkling enthusiast as this is one of the access points for the Reserve Marine – a protected marine environment, home to an exciting variety of fish, which stretches around the rocky coastline of the Côte Vermeille all the way to Cebère, the last French town before Spain.
The Côte Vermeille very much represents the typical French coastal scene: between rocky outcrops lie intermittent quiet bays lined with pretty sea-side towns, in particular the delightful and rather romantic Collioure. A top spot for art lovers (esp. of Fauvism), this town was once host to the likes of Matisse and Derain and now houses many galleries selling local contemporary art.
Further to the south-west of Perpignan and Le Soler is the other arty hotspot – the very pretty town of Ceret, where none other than Picasso once lived, who along with other celebrated names helped form the Modern Art Museum of Ceret. This Museum hosts an important permanent collection featuring work from Chagall, Miro, Matisse and of course Picasso as well as regular visiting exhibitions. Further up into the mountains from Ceret is the thermal spa town of Amelie-les-Bains where you can relax away all your aches and pains in the hot thermal spings.
Exploration to the west of Perpignan and Le Soler, and into the wild countryside under the emblematic presence of Mount Canigou (a spiritual symbol for Catalans), will lead you to discover medieval fortified villages such as Castelnou and Villefranche-de-Conflent which testify to the violent past associated with this region. For nature enthusiasts there are gorges, caves, and the strange rock formations called les Orgues to explore. To the north-west, heading into the Aude, there is the Tautavel Museum (with informative exhibitions describing the lives of prehistoric cave dwellers) and the important Cathar fortresses of Peyrepertuse and Queribus.
Other places of interest include:
Prades (Catalan Prada de Conflent) (20 mins' drive way) - site of the Catalan Summer University (Universitat Catalana d'Estiu).
Banyuls-sur-Mer (Catalan Banyuls de la Marenda) (90 mins' drive away) famous for its Grenache-based Banyuls wine, birth place of Aristide Maillol, and home to an extensive protected maritime reserve offering excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Prats de Molló (90 mins' drive away) - important defensive castle of the 17th century facing south to the Pyrenees.
Salses (25 min' drive away) - important defensive castle of the 16th century, on the ancient frontier with Spain.
Les Angles (an hour's drive away) - popular destination for skiers in the winter and for hikers in the summer
Thuir (10 mins' drive away) - fascinating home to the factory producing famous aperitifs such as Dubonnet, Martini and Byrrh and boasting a railway siding designed by Eiffel himself!
We adore France and one of the great pleasures of Le Soler is that one lives amongst the French with no sound of other strange tongues (apart from the local Catalan!).
Being comfortable is important to us and so we have worked hard to make the two apartments as comfy and welcoming as possible. We adore shopping for local produce and then cooking it and eating al fresco on the terrace so you can be assured of two very well equipped kitchens - and a chilled bottle of wine to welcome you (or a warming red in the winter!).
Having stayed in many other holiday rental properties - with varying success - we know what we expect and want to ensure that we at least meet our own standards and expectations! It's important to us that we meet yours too so let us be the first to know if we don't!
Pippa John-Cooke purchased this apartment in 2008
We have owned the property since 2008 and have watched Le Soler develop into the beautiful and very comfortable small Catalan town that it is now, offering the visitor a taste of authentic French life. It's great attraction to us is that it is in not a tourist town so you can really immerse yourself in the southern French life here with quick and easy access to the beaches as well as the mountains.
We work very hard to make sure that our visitors have as comfortable and enjoyable a stay as possible. We adore buying the wonderful fresh market produce, cooking and eating it outdoors so you can be sure that each kitchen is terrifically well equipped!
Another huge pleasure is cycling along the back roads through orchards and vineyards or along the coast so we offer you our bikes: enjoy!
All amenities are literally 5 minutes walk away (incl. the best bakery and boucherie in southern France!!) , as is the bus stop for the no. 17 bus into Perpignan. The (unmanned) train station is an 8 minute walk from where one can reach Perpignan in 5 minutes (for €1!) or go in the opposite direction to Villefranche (for €1-2!) - where you can catch the Yellow Train up into the Pyrenees.
Le Soler is just off the main road up to Prades and Andorra so an easy get-away either to the mountains and the Cathar castles or the beaches is assured.
The lake in Le Soler offers the stroller two bistro-type eateries .... not to mention competition fishing if one so chooses. Just over the road from here is the Tet river which is a wildlife haven. So you see, all is easily available and accessible!
We can cater for large(r) groups as both apartments can be rented at the same time !
“25 rue Francois Gaxet is a superb flat and location for the car-free traveller.”
“Excellent apartment in ideal location”
“A well equipped apartment conveniently situated."
"The apartment is in an excellent location. Especially if you have just flown into Perpignan airport like we had. It was really easy to find and we arrived at the apartment within an hour of landing. There was a nice bottle of chilled wine waiting for us in the fridge . The apartment was very comfortable and had everything you needed. We managed to find a very nice patisserie, boulangerie and supermaket within walking distance of the apartment. We also found that there was a lot of information about the places to visit and the beaches in the apartment which came in very handy. Le Soler is located very close to Perpignan and the coast so we were able to visit all of the places that were recommeded very easily. I can honesty say that I can recommend this apartment and would not hesitate to go back again."
We absolutely loved our stay in the downstairs flat on rue Francois Gaxet this September/October. The flat itself was absolutely perfect, the charming outside area was great for making good use of the lovely late summer weather (really nice and hot right into October!) and the inside is light, spacious and comfortable as well as being kitted out with everything you might possibly need. There’s good wifi, a selection of DVDs, books and few games to keep you covered in the unlikely event of rainy days! Le Soler is a really beautiful little French/Catalan village with excellent shops in a matter of paces from the front door (the local bakery in particular is amazing!), there’s loads to explore on the provided bikes too, good bars and restaurants. Slight further afield, there are countless pretty historical towns, castles, vineyards, beaches and mountains to explore around the region (the Pyrénées-Orientales), all within a short drive. It’s also only a short walk to Le Soler train station, which itself is only ~25mins down the track from Perpignan so it’s great if you’re not driving, which is a rare bonus in my experience! The owners Pippa and Granville were in the upstairs flat when we were there and they were really friendly and helpful with good tips on local things to see and do, they made us feel extremely welcome! I couldn’t recommend more highly!
We had a fantastic stay at Pippa and Granville’s apartment in Le Soler. The village is beautiful and the house is perfectly located on a quiet, historic street right in the centre. The local bakery and butchers are just around the corner – we made very good use of both and the quality was excellent! Le Soler has a fine selection of little independent shops, bars and restaurants without losing the charm and atmosphere of a picturesque, rural French town. As an added bonus, it is in easy reach of Perpignan as well as stunning countryside, mountains and beaches. We were spoilt for choice where to visit each day!
The ground floor apartment is a beautiful, sympathetic conversion, which makes excellent use of space – creating light, airy and generous accommodation. The external patio effectively provides an additional living room and we really enjoyed eating all our meals out there. Pippa and Granville are fantastic hosts and have truly created a home from home with a well equipped kitchen and thoughtfully furnished interiors – including an extensive book and DVD collection. As such, the apartment feels incredibly welcoming and is a very relaxing environment to be in.
We have stayed in lots of holiday homes and can honestly say this is one of the best experiences we have had in terms of location, amenities, space and overall enjoyment. Highly recommended!
Le Soler is a nice little village about 20 minutes from Perpignan (easily reached by frequent bus service) and is not at all touristy... It really feels as if you are living in the neighbourhood, with everyday life going on around you... From the old ladies who pull out chairs to sit chatting on a corner in the evening, to the traditional shops that keep strictly to opening and closing times (this place does not pander to 24/7 visitor requirements!).
Our apartment - one of two - is down a narrow street close to the heart of the village, and while it couldn't be described as super-chic, we found it clean and comfortable, extremely well-equipped (there was even a shoe-cleaning kit!), and so homely. The terrace doesn't have views as it is set between houses, but it's a lovely peaceful spot for al fresco meals, and nightcaps under the stars! We didn't have a car as we were only staying a few days, but the apartment also has a garage available.
This is a great base to explore a very beautiful part of France - from the beaches to the mountains, and the wonderful towns and villages close by (we especially loved Perpignan). You can even get the train over to Barcelona from Perpignan for the day - so easy, and great fun. We didn't eat out during our short visit - the kitchen has everything you need to cook, and we loved shopping locally for food (the boulangerie and boucherie/deli are both fantastic), but there are restaurants and takeaways in the village which have been recommended by others.
The owners, Pippa and Granville, were staying in the other apartment during our stay, and were extremely helpful and friendly, but the visitors' manual is also packed with information about the apartment, and the area etc. All in all, a great place!
The property is located in a good location ,handy for great beaches ,picturesque catalan towns, jaunts into the pyrenees and the abundant historical buildings in the area.
The little extras like a washing machine ,dishwasher ,beach towels ,parasols ,bikes and a cool box were a real boon.
My husband and I stayed here for 5 nights in early January 2016, in the lower apartment. Pippa's place is perfectly situated in an adorable little village. We had a rental car, and it was the perfect base for exploring Perpignan, the Côte Vermeille, Carcassonne, Cathar country, Côte Catalan and Corbieres vineyards, Narbonne, and the Etang de Thau. We flew in and out of Barcelona, just over 2 hours away. Le Soler itself is a very small sleepy town (especially the first week of January when many establishments were closed), but it had a butcher, baker, ATM, bar, pizza carry-out, market, and drug pharmacy: everything to fill our basic needs. For more shopping, though, we had to go to Perpignan. There are space heaters and a wood burning stove that made the apartment quite toasty, but it took a bit of time for them to warm up. All in all, we enjoyed our time there very much! Thank you, Pippa!!
We found the downstairs flat at Le Soler to be the perfect place to stay especially at this time of year (mid October). Everything was provided and functioned well, if there wasn't such an abundance of great places to eat in the local area, we would have made more use of the ample cooking facilities.
Le Soler is really well placed for sightseeing in many directions, the Tet valley is full of surprises including pretty villages. & small market towns where you can eat lovely home-cooked meals. Then there's the mountains & the seaside, all within an hour by car.
Pippa & Granville are friendly , solicitous hosts who genuinely want you to enjoy your stay (as we certainly did!)
The nearest Mediterranean beach to the flats - Canet Plage - is 21km / 20 mins' drive from the house. All beaches are blue flag standard (i.e. very clean) and most offer nearby refreshment facilities. Some, like Port Leucate (35 mins' drive north up the coast) offer beachside amusements / fun fairs. Others, like Argeles (35 mins' drive south) offer sea fishing and sea cruise trips from May - September. The very picturesque coastal town of Collioure is 45 mins' drive south.
Perpignan airport is approx. 12km / 12 mins' drive
Beziers airport is approx. 110km / 1hrs' drive / 1 hr by train
Carcasonne airport is approx. 127 km / 1hr 10mins' drive / 1.5hrs by train
Toulouse airport is approx. 220km / 2hrs' drive / 2.25hrs by train
Girona airport is approx. 109 km / 1 hrs' drive / 1.25hrs by train
Barcelona airport is approx. 211 km / 2hrs 10mins' drive / 2.5 hrs by train
Excellent bus & train services in and out of Le Soler to Perpignan and beyond (for €1-2!).
Perpignan - 8 km
Thuir - 8 km
Canet beach - 21 km
Força Réal - 19 km
Saint-Cyprien beach - 28.5 km
Querebus cathar castle -32 km
Serrabone priory - 33 km
Argeles sur mer - 33km
Ceret -36 km
Collioure -39 km
Villefranche-de-Conflent - 42 km
Prats de Molló - 65 km
Mont Louis - 74 km
Abbaye de Fontfroide - 75 km
Beziers - 100 km
Montpellier - 160 km
Figueras, Spain - 61 km
Barcelona - 197 km
Just 5 mins' walk from the flats are all the amenities you would expect to find in a small town such as the market square with its bar, post office, banks, library, newsagent, flower shop as well as bakery, butcher's, small supermarket, greengrocer and chemist.
Equally close are several take-away pizzerias, a chinese take away, and several small restaurants.
A 10 minute stroll away from the centre of the town is a very pretty lake with two lakeside bistros one of which offers a programe of live music in the summer.
A little further on and over the bridge there is access to the Tet river and all its birdlife, great for walking, an explore and/or messing around in the water!
If you are interested in visiting a vineyard and doing some wine-tasting, then Chateau Nadal Hainaut is a short 3 km (30 minute walk) from the flats (they produce a particularly easy-to-drink rose wine!). Otherwise, a highly recommended and fascinating half day out would be to Thuir and the Byrrh factory where the aperitif Byrrh has been made since 1866 and where there are railway sidings designed by Eiffel. (The factory also makes Dubonnet and a number of other well-known aperitifs).
Another great day out is to take the €2 train to Villefranche-de-Confluent and, from there, to catch the 'Yellow Train' up into the Pyrenees as far as Latour de Carol, a journey described as "... one of the great railway journeys of the world – a historic metre-gauge electric railway in the French Pyrenees, opened in 1909, and still going strong. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an altitude of 427 metres at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at Bolquère Eyne, France’s highest railway station, lying at an altitude of 1592 metres (5226 ft) above sea level. It then drops down to a high Pyrenean valley, to its terminus at Latour de Carol."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmXOq8hq4E8 (top flat)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfyomTrMLAo (bottom flat)