But also, on the mountain side...
in the Catalan Pyrenees ...
In Thuir, in front of the giant vat
Only a few kilometers away from PERPIGNAN on the D 612 lined by orchards, the small town of Thuir holds the vats of Byrrh, a famous wine and herbs-based aperitif which has made the glory and the wealth of the region in the middle of the last century. The vat actually can be visited with, as a show highlight, the famous usine's loading platfrom made with girders coming from the Eiffel's workshop and also the biggest cask of the world, vat made with oak that can contain 420.000 liters !
Admire the basalt columns of Ille-sur-Têt
About 10 km away stands the astonishing scenery of the "basalt columns of Ille-sur-Têt" (called orgues in French, for its organ shape). At the exit of the city, an amphitheatre of sedimentary rocks, sand and clay eroded by more than 4 billions of year and making this field of "fairies' chimneys" looking like the tubes of a magical organ with the Canigou for background. A place made for poetry, magical when the light goes down.
Meditation in the priory of Serrabone
If you go by the charming mountain road in the Boulès Valley, through a wood of evergreen oak, that you'll reach the Priory of Serrabone, built during the 11th century. Occupied during a few centuries by the canons living according to the rules of Saint Augustin, the church and its dependencies have been given to the Department at the end of the 60's. The Roussillon's most skilled scultpors worked on this master piece of the catalan Norman art that illustrates the contrast between the delicacy of the capital's pink marble and the starkness of the exterior walls' schists. A special distinction to the choir's rostrum, master piece unsigned made in the middle of the 12th century with a marble of the Conflent.
Priory of Serrabone in Boule d’Amont - Phone : 00 33 (0)4 68 84 09 30
Modern Art in Céret
Vincent Bioulès, Daniel Dezeuze, Claude Viallat… all the southern artists that have made some of the greatest pictorial movements are exhibited in the full-of-surprise museum of Modern Art. Recognized Catalans artist, like Tapiès, Brossa or Perejaumes are also presents. They are all keeping company to the greatest names of the modern art, that came all to live in Ceret in the beginning of the 19th century, making of the city the "fauvism's mecca" between other titles : Chagall, Derain, Soutine, Matisse, Maillol, Brune... But the master piece of the museum remains the 59 pieces of the Picasso collection, between which you can admire the famous terra cotta cups illustrating the scenes of a corrida.