Have you been thinking about a family holiday to the South of France? Want to hear about some hidden gems for families that makes Perpignan a great base for a holiday? We talked to Phil from Imagine Roussilioun to learn about Hidden Gems for Families to Discover near Perpignan in the South of France, away from the main tourist trails of the Cote D’Azur.
Perpignan is a city located in the Languedoc-Roussillion region of southern France. Due to its proximity to the Spanish border, you will find plenty of evidence of Catalan culture in Perpignan. The old town has narrow streets, where you will find pavement cafes, restaurants and shops. And the river Basse runs through the centre of the city.
The region around Perpignan is beautiful and dramatic and has many hidden gems to discover including:
Palace of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan
Pay a visit to the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, originally used as a king’s residence during the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, kids will enjoy the gardens and the courtyard of this imposing castle and you will get a great view of the city from the surrounding walls.
Child Friendly Beaches near Perpignan
There are many safe sandy beaches near Perpignan, all within a few minutes’ drive, e.g. Canet Plage, Argeles sur Mer, St Cyprien and Collioure.
Torreilles Beach, with its sand dunes and a view of the Pyrenees is less crowded than some of the more popular beaches and is an ideal choice for families with a few bars and restaurants nearby.
For those wanting to enjoy windsurfing or kite surfing head to the beaches to the north of Perpignan such as Le Franqi and Le Barcares.
Small Resorts near Perpignan for Families Days Out
Near Perpignan you will find many small resorts with lots of kids’ facilities, from merry-go-rounds to boat trips to fabulous home-made ice creams. These are some of our favourite resorts in the area, all with great family friendly restaurants:
- Saint Marie la Mer
- Banyuls sur Mer
This corner of France has fabulous views to the nearby Pyrenees range of mountains.
For a spectacular train journey that the kids will adore, book a journey on the Train Jaune (The Little Yellow Train) which runs from Villefranche de Conflent, itself an historic walled city and UNESCO world heritage site, to Latour de Carol, near the Spanish town of Puigcerda. Puigcerda has a bustling shopping promenade and plenty of restaurants for lunch options.
The train ride gives spectacular views of the rocky mountainous scenery, with fortresses, villages and ancient buildings perched on the mountainsides.
Easy Access to Spain
Perpignan is also a gateway to Costa Brava & Barcelona, the Spanish border is just 35 mins from away making day trips to Spain fun and achievable.
Cadaqués is a pretty coastal town which has a waterfront with restaurants, steep, narrow streets to wander in, and if you fancy some culture, you can visit the Casa Salvador Dalí in nearby Portlligat, his seaside home where he lived and worked. Top Tip: Admission is by advance ticket only, so book a time-slot online before you visit.
For those who love a bit of “Horrible History” the area around Perpignan offers up plenty of options with medieval villages such as Collioure making a delightful destination for an afternoon.
Or take a day out to see some of the amazing Cathar castles in the area e.g. Chateau de Peyrepeteuse, one of the most impressive castles that formed the old line of defense called “the five sons of Carcassonne”.
And of course, the must-see Carcassonne citadel, known as ‘La Cité’. It is enormous, having no less than 53 towers, two huge walls, surrounded by a moat, with draw-bridges, it’s like a fairy-tale castle. And inside the fortifications, there’s a castle, church and a small town!
Vineyard Routes The Whole Family Will Enjoy
Take a day trip to Collioure and onto the Costa Brava, with stops for wine tastings en route. Before you wonder why we are suggesting this as a family option, many vineyards are located close to beaches or to villages with play facilities.
Vineyards often have activities for kids including onsite play parks or colouring stations so the kids are entertaining while Mum and Dad get to taste some spectacular wines.
Of course Mum and Dad will have to fight over who drives! So if you fancy staying put but still enjoying some wine, then Chateau de Rey, located next to Imagine Roussillon, has a giant bench which kids love, and a family walking route around the vines.
Exclusively designed for families with young children, Imagine Roussillon is the definitive hidden gem for family holidays near Perpignan. Nestled amongst vineyards and just 7 minutes’ drive from sandy Mediterranean beaches, Imagine Roussillon resides in a prestigious former wine domaine.
Kids club and babysitting are always included, along with heated pools, a play park, fitness classes and a gym. In short, it’s the perfect getaway for both parents and children. Once you experience Imagine Roussillon, you really won’t want to holiday anywhere else!
Over to you now. Have you visited Perpignan? Do you know any hidden gems? Tell us in the comments below.