As we would be leaving France soon we though we should add a couple more ‘Beau Villages’ scalps to increase our previous tally of five – I hope you’re keeping track?
Our first stop was to walk the ramparts of Villefranche-de-Conflent, lying in a deep valley where the Cady and Tet rivers meet, the Villefranche-de-Conflent village occupied a strategic site since its formation in the 11th century. In the 17th century its strategic role as military capital was strengthened by adding fortifications to the ramparts. Today it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Inside the wall there are numerous shops selling all the usual tourist stuff (including witches ….in case you needed a spell). We liked the signs for the shops many of which (no pun intended) were made from metal.
Before heading off we had time to see the village of Eus which is situated about 40 kilometres west of Perpignan and just 10 kilometres from Villefranche-de-Conflent. Built on terraces Eus takes its name for yeuses (holm oaks). Designed for and very effective in defence the village repelled the French in 1598 and the Spanish army in 1793.
You get a lovely introduction to this scenic village as one of the best views is as you approach it from the main Prades to Perpignan road.
The village clings to the steep hill, with calf-muscle burning narrow cobblestone streets meandering through the old restored shale stone houses, which give the village a lovely harmonised feel.
Ok time to head for the coast, not before unintentionally going through the centre of Perpignan….. Bl**dy Sat Nav.
A while ago when we lived in Manchester, Lesley and I did a wine tasting course, where we also met some great friends, we now imaginatively call ‘the wine crowd’. During the 6-week course were introduced to lots of excellent wines, including a couple of very memorable desert wines Elysium and Banyuls. So part of our trip is a pilgrimage to Banyuls-sur-Mer where we plan to stock up and maybe have a dégustation and is our destination for this evening.
With no obvious stopping places in Banyuls-sur Mer, following a bit of internet research we soon found a wild camping spot not far from the municipal camp site on a headland at Cap de Peyrefite, with another motorhome already there we felt safety in numbers and we were just 7 kms from the Spanish border.