Wine Quote of the Week

"Days of wine and roses laugh and run away,
Like a child at play"
Johnny Mercer

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bringing art to éire

We, at the French Tour co have sourced some fabulous original oil on canvas paintings which we will be taking to Ireland to sell in the lead up to Christmas.

The paintings are sold on canvas and are very well priced.
50cm x 60cm are all 55euros
60cm x 90cms are all 75euros

Contact us now if you would like to see the range of paintings we have in stock. A perfect original Christmas present. Limited stock available...
We will also be selling them at the FAB PO Christmas fair on 29th November at the Salle Polyvalente in St Jean Pla de Corts

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bringing wine to éire

We are so excited to be bringing some of our favourite wines and winemakers to Ireland! On the 10 December, in O'Donovans Hotel in Clonakilty , Domaine Trelaor will be hosting a wine tasting dinner : a 4 course meal matched to their award winning wines.

Book now for Thursday 10 December :

Kick off is a 19h30 with pre-dinner aperitifs
Entree : Ricotta and Spinach Tartlet with seasonal leaves. Matched with One Block Muscat.
First course : Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup served with Garlic Crutons served with One Block Grenache.
Main Course : Irish Pork Steak with an Apricot and Sage Stuffing served with an Apple and Calvados Jus. Vegetables..... Mangetous, Red Cabbage, Garlic Potatoes and Roasted Baby Potatoes. Served with Three Peaks.
Dessert... Lemon Tart served with an Orange Coulis.... served with Fresh Cream or a Homemade Mixed Berry Ice Cream. Served with Muscat de Rivesaltes.

Freshly Brewed Coffee or Tea to finish.

The price of the meal, including all wines and tutored wine tastings from Jonathan, is €50 per head.

You can also reserve a nights B&B in the hotel for €45 per person

Domaine Treloar wines are available to purchase and we are now taking pre orders for same.
Please let us know asap if you would like to attend the wine tasting dinner and / or if you would like to purchase some wines before Christmas : a perfect Christmas gift for a wine lover!

Monday, November 9, 2009

FAB PO Christmas Market

The FAB-PO Marché de Noël is back!!!

FAB-PO an international non-profit making business network based in the Pyrénées-Orientales, is pleased to announce the return of its phenomenally successful Christmas Market. This year’s market will take place on Sunday 29th November from 11am until 5pm at the Salle Polyvalente in Saint Jean Pla de Corts – make sure you put the date in your diary now!

It promises to be a fun day out for all the family with Father Christmas making an appearance, pottery and facepainting for the kids, wine tasting and French language workshops, carol singing, a tombola with fantastic prizes, stalls selling local produce, cards and Christmassy delights and much much more. Cyberia Café will be serving delicious sandwiches, soft drinks and snacks, and there will be a bar run by local winemakers, so come along and make a day of it.

It’s all for a good cause too as 25% of the profits from the day will be going to Cancer Support France ( , which provides English speaking support to cancer sufferers in France.

See you there!

Monday, September 21, 2009

V off !

The French Tour Co attend the much more relaxed sister exhibition to Visa pour l'Image, the appropriately named "V Off"
There was a great exhibition of USAP photos in the Rive Gauche gallery in Perpignan centre, celebrating their fantastic years success.
Perpignan is still celebrating USAP's success and, after hammering Montauban this weekend in the Top 14, is looking forward to a another great season.
Allez USAP!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I love Paris in the Springtime,

I love Paris in the fall,
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
But being with the lassies on our college reunion is the best of all!

Wow, what a weekend avec les filles! There is nothing like heading off for a weekend , leaving your cares and troubles behind , a whole three nights sans enfants and hanging out with your mates from college in the most beautiful city in the world, wee hawww!

Paris, and France in general has so much to offer and as the sun shone down on us, we discovered fab restaurants ( La Table d'Anvers , the highlight of the trip), funky cool bars, excellent live music and did what the locals do .. had cafés in bars and people watched...

I was surprised to find a vineyard tucked away behind the Sacre Coeur as we meandered through the cobblestoned streets, soaking up the sights and sounds of our eclectic neighbourhood. According to the blurb pinned to the locked gates, the harvest finishes every year with a huge "fete de vendange", harvest festival with people dancing and singing in the streets.
The small vintage ( they produce about 2000 bottles a year) is auctioned off publicly and the proceeds go to the town hall coffers.
Whether the wine is drinkable or not, is debatable, but the bottles become collectors items because of their scarcity and also the labels - a different artist designs the label every year.

Don't forget our Wine Harvest tour running this October in Perpignan - a great deal for three nights B&B in a luxurious spa hotel, evening meal, one full days wine tour with gourmet lunch, one day at the wine festival and another full day in Collioure, transfers and all local transport included for 379euros
Click here to book online

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Well done to the Munster girls team

Bravo to the Munster womens team who travelled this weekend to the South of France, to play the french champions , Montpellier.
Arriving on Friday for a whistle stop tour , they played local team Villelongue de la Salanque on Friday and Montpellier on Saturday before catching the early flight out of Carcassonne on Sunday. Phew!
There was great support for the victorious Munster team at the match on Saturday with a loud , proud irish crowd cheering them on.
We caught up with the girls that evening where they were wined and dined with gusto in Villelongue's town hall. A huge paella was followed by yummy dessert ( bras de venus) and a delicious cheese platter. The girls were blown away by the generosity of their hosts and the huge welcome they received from the local catalans.
After the speeches, the pourrou was brought out - this is a special bottle with a long thin spout from which you pour the muscat ( sweet wine) directly into your mouth from a height. Good clean fun!
After the pourrou had done its rounds and the vocal chords were truly doused, the singing commenced and the French contingent were regaled to the sounds of Christy Moore, Puc ar Buile, The fields of Athenry etc etc.
We left them at it in the wee hours to party on ..
Bravo Les Filles!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fine Wines in Ireland

I'm just back from Ireland (at least a stone heavier ) where we caught up with all our friends and relatives and enjoyed a gastronomical tour of the countryside.
The quality of food , particularly in West Cork, where we were based really is high with so many cottage industries producing food locally. So, if you are based in Clonakilty for example you can enjoy a meal from ingredients sourced within a 10 mile radius for the most part.
Succulent fresh meat, locally caught fish and shellfish, a huge variety of cheeses and breads and organic produce are widely available. The restaurants, too , seem to have pulled up their socks , offering good quality meals at reasonable prices.
A group of us dined at The Terrace in O'Donovans Hotel , main street Clonakilty and all 8 of us were very happy with our meal with dishes like hot mussels cooked with chorizo, roast duck on a bed of lentil cassoulet and millefeuille of vegetable with pistachio topping, it was hard not to be.
However, good quality, reasonably priced french wine was hard to come by ... is it possible to get a nice bottle of french wine in Ireland in the 10 - 12euro bracket?
I'm still looking .... perhaps we will be able to bring some of our favourite Roussillon wines to Ireland in the near future?
Watch this space ..

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Wine Harvest has begun!

The vines are heavy with grapes here late August in the South of France - reminding me of dairy cows ready to be milked, and it's time for the farmers now to milk their vines ( ok, easy to spot that I'm just back from holidays in Ireland!) and start the harvesting of their precious fruit that they have been carefully tending to for the last 12 months.

It is such a sight to behold , groups of weatherbeaten pickers hunched over the vines, working their way slowly and surely ( and back breakingly) through the fields as they gather up the fruit of their labours.
The old tractors and trailers then come bouncing down the laneways, laden down with mounds of grapes, leaving a trail of grape juice in their wake, to deliver their precious cargo to the wine cellars where the process of making the wine commences.

The time for picking the grapes depends on a number of factors : the grape variety, the weather and what the grapes are going to be used to make.
In my mind, there is no better time to visit the vineyards than now and for the next two months or so. The vineyards are electric with activity, the excitement is palpable, the tensions high and the sights and smells are unforgettable.

With The French Tour Co, we take you behind the scenes on our Wine tours where we get as close to the wine making action as possible.
If you're feeling energetic, a half days picking with vigneron lunch can even be arranged.

.. And then there is the collective sigh of relief once the harvest is finished and the grapes are safely indoors. The relief is marked by the Harvest Festivals - a celebration of the successful harvest and of a job well done.

The French Tour Co are organising a fantastic Wine and Pamper weekend to coincide with the Harvest Festival in October. See here for details and to book online.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wine labels - a straight jacket for French wines?

Bitch from Australia

Did you know that if you're a french wine producer, making AOC wine, you are severely restricted on what you can put on the label of your wine bottle?

Therefore, if you are producing a AOC wine, you cannot put the grape variety on the label - the logic behind this being the concept of terroir and that the purchaser should KNOW what a Languedoc Roussillon wine tastes like or a Bordeau or a Cotes de Rhone, etc.

However, with the advent of the availability of New World wines and their relaxed labelling rules, Josephine Public has decided that she loves Chardonnay and Shiraz as her favourite White and Red. Josephine goes to the French section of her wine shop and cannot find any Shiraz or Chardonnay so she slips back to the Australian or Chilean section where she can confidently select her favourites.

And so the French Wine Industry suffers. It is true that most Vins de Pays can note the varietal on their label but then vins de pays are not highly thought of outside of France where Josephine Public thinks that this is a second rate wine ( not always the case at all)..

Some French vineyard owners are copping on to the marketing for outside the Republic and there are brands like FAT BASTARD, ARROGANT FROG, ROYAL BITCH proving extremely popular with the Josephines...

Time for the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine )to lighten up on the labelling rules and help us to choose the french wines we are pretty sure we will enjoy?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bored with Beaujolais?

Had it with Nouveau Beaujolais? Check out the Nouveau Roussillon Wine Festival.

The French Tour Co have teamed up with to offer you an incredible getaway experience during the annual Roussillon Wine Festival in Perpignan. Ideal for wine lovers who also enjoy a little pampering, french cuisine and late summer sun.

Put it in your diary: Thursday October 15th to Sunday October 18th.

The itinerary includes 3 nights B&B in a new luxurious spa resort, 1 evening meal, a guided wine tour with four course lunch and tastings in 3 top vineyards where we meet the vineyard owners, a day in Perpignan soaking up the atmosphere of the Wine Harvest Festival and a day in coastal Collioure, rated one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Transfers from nearby Girona ( 1 hour) are included in the special price of 379euros inclusive ( single supplement is extra)
Full use of all spa facitilies is included in the price.

For more details and to book your place , click here on Perpignan Wine Festival Tour

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Red Beret from Ceret!

Looking for something to do from Ceret on Monday 17th of August? Love the Roussillon wines and interested in learning more about them? Well, unusually, The Red Beret Wine Tour departs from Ceret this Monday.

It promises to be a superbe day taking in 3 very different vineyards, meeting the owners of the Chateaux, sampling some of the best quality wines from this region, learning how it is made and much much more.

I hasten to add, for you gourmet lovers, there will be a delicious 3 course lunch with wine at the vigneron's table. Best of all The French Tour Co collects and drops you off at your place of stay.

This will be an insightful tour of life as a vineyard owner - come along for the fun, the knowledge and of course, the vino!

Email Suzanne at

Friday, July 31, 2009

Music and Dance in the South of France

For the 67th time running Amelie les Bains is staging their renowned International Folklorique Festival from August 4th to August 9th.

Folk music and dance groups from Spain, France, Greece, and Columbia promise to make this a very colourful and exciting festival. Each day there are parades, dancing on the streets, theater and lots of live music.

Not to be missed is the Colombian folk group in the medieval village of Palalda on the 4th. Mingle with the locals at an open-air aperitif for all on Wed the 5th with Flamenco Dancing. Dress up for the "Amelie Danse Ball" being held on Thursday night, entrance is free. Friday the Greek take over the show and Saturday if filled with fun for Theater lovers. There is a Grande Finale on Sunday with all participants present from 9 PM at the closing gala.

After all that song and dance - contact the French Tour Co for a relaxing spa tour!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

10 good reasons to visit the Perpignan area this Autumn

The Pyrenees Orientales has it all : ski resorts, sandy beaches, a Mediterranean climate, fantastic scenery, rocky coastline ideal for snorkeling, great food and superbe wines, bustling markets, historical monuments and castles, friendly Catalan people, mountains and plains, lakes and rivers, gorges and caves, rugby and excellent sporting facilities, a good sized town with all amenities, virtually no pollution .. and if you need further convincing, here are 10 good reasons to visit the Pyrenees Orientales this Autumn :

1) VISA pour L'Image - the International Festival of Photojournalism which takes place from 29 aug to 13 september : VISA

2) Munster are coming to play USAP ( Perpignan) in the Heineken cup on 20th December. Promises to be a great match and a great day out with Munsters Red Army

3) The Wine festival in Perpignan on the 15 and 17 October where many winemakers come to Perpignan to share their new vintage. The French tour co will be organising special tours around this

4) Visit the museum of modern art in Ceret for a look at all the painters that have lived in Ceret over the last 100 years. Original art works from Picasso, Terrus, Braque and others are well worth a visit. Running until 31 Oct

5) Take part in one of our gourmet tours where we match food and wine in the company of the experts : wine makers and chefs du cuisine. yum!

6) Visit the medieval market in Place Gambetta, Perpignan - a traditional festival where you travel back in time - 12/13 Sept

7) Come for a swim in the sea - the sea temperatures will be still in the teens up to the middle of October. From Barcares to Cerbere, discover the wonderful coastline on one of our coastal tours

8) Jump out of a plane - sign up for one of our adventure tours and see the region as you've never seen it before!

9) Come for a game of golf in the balmy Autumn weather. Choose from 14 fine golf courses in the Languedoc Roussillon

10)Escape the recession blues - Rent a yacht with your friends with a skipper and take off towards the horizon on a get away from it all few days

Getting to Perpignan

BUS ROUTE: GOOD NEWS FOR our clients using Girona Airport (GRO) in northern Spain as an entry point into France to take part in one of our many tours
Low-cost bus company have just launched additional routes connecting Girona airport directly with popular tourist resorts in the Pyrénées-Orientales area of Southern France.
In addition, will also operate a once daily service from Barcelona airport (BCN) into France.
New destinations served directly from Girona & Barcelona airports include Argeles sur Mer, Canet, Barcares, St Marie, Les Angles and Font Romeu. will be extending its routes in the coming months to create a network connecting Toulouse and Barcelona (and others) with regular multi-day services. Click here to contact

Friday, July 24, 2009

Buying your wedding wine in the Languedoc Roussillon

Recently we've had quite a few couples on our wine tours doing some scouting around to buy their wine for their wedding in éire or the UK.
It's an excellent idea as alot of French wine , particularly in Ireland, is not of the highest quality at a certain price level.
Here, in the Languedoc Roussillon region, you can purchase a decent quality wine for around the €6 mark or less.
Some of our partner vineyards will ship the wine to a Northern port for easy collection, at no extra cost.

This week, we had a couple from Limerick, Ireland who settled on their red and white - they have a house here and plan to come down and pack up their car with wine and drive their precious cargo back to the ole sod.

Some points to ponder :

You are allowed to bring 120 bottles of wine per person into Ireland for personal use without paying any additional taxes. However, if you have your wedding cert with you , and can prove that your purchases are for private consumption, you can bring as much wine as you like

The wedding experts recommend that a half a bottle per person at a wedding should be enough - however, if it is an Irish wedding : double that!!!! Always buy a little more than you anticipate - well, it won't go to waste afterwards, will it?

Do taste alot of wines - good advice is to opt for middle of the road wines - nothing too adventurous or whacky. Good fun to have a blind wine tasting with some friends

Look at your menu and decide what wines will go with what you have chosen to eat

Get advice from the experts - if you do a wine tour here with us, you will be meeting the winemakers and the vineyard owners who will be very happy to help

After the food for your wedding, the drinks will probably be the other big expense - it's worthwhile to spend a little time to get it right

Negotiate the corkage with your hotel

Relax and enjoy and let The French Tour Co do the driving!

Merci le French Tour Co

Nice ot get some positive feedback again from one of our happy clients:

Karen and Suzanne were brilliant. At very short notice they managed to arrange everything from airport transfers to a fantastic vineyard tour – all at excellent value. Their patience and humour at all times was greatly appreciated – in itself a miracle considering we were a party of 11 on a stag do... I’ll definitely be looking them up again when next in the the Perpignan region”.
Nico Tuppen. Brighton, England.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Party in Perpignan

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monam’s rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney’s hazel shade.”
- Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Poetry was far from the minds of the stag party I collected on Saturday morning last for our wine tour. I collected the group of 11 gentlemen from their hotel to be greeted by a couple of supermen, a handful of gimps, some Mexican wrestlers and a very attractive wonder woman!

We rang ahead to warn the vineyards that our group was "alternative" and to quickly lock up their gorgeous French daughters! In fairness , the vineyard owners gave the boys a fantastic welcome - Frederic, the owner of the first vineyard we visited even wanted a costume for himself and was sorely tempted to join them in their party plans for Canet that night. We were wined and dined in true Catalan fashion with a fantastic barbeque and lashings of wine.
We also visited Chateau Valmy where all the boys fell under the spell of Madame Carboneil .. we tasted their selection of superbe wines and got to see behind the scenes of their impressive state of the art wine cellar.

The boys partied the night away in Canet and they were a much quieter crowd when we collected them from their hotel to bring them back to the airport on Sunday.

What goes on tour stays on tour!

Best of Luck to Gordon for his wedding in Canada from The French Tour Co xx

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There is no such thing as bad weather ...

Just the wrong clothes ...

The weather continues to be wild and wonderful here in Perpeignan with sparkling sunny days and thundering storms at night - last night I thought the roof was going to cave in as the monsoonal rain battered against our house.
Today is a little overcast - a perfect day for partaking in one of our tours .. there is so much to do here besides hanging by the pool or just going to the beach.
Our wine tours continue to be our most popular tour keeping us on the road nearly every day - second fave is the adventure tours - what's great about these tours is that all the family can partake from age 2 to 92 and everyone goes home happy.
Third favourite tour is the gourmet tour - matching wine and food lunch, visiting the oyster farm, meeting a cheesemaker and visiting a chocolate factory. YUM!
There are also the history tours, art tours, discovery tours, walking tours and the stunning coastal tours.

Tis a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

To make the very most of your stay in the Pyrenees Orientales, contact us at The French Tour Co : : 0033 607421668

Monday, July 13, 2009

U2 Rocks Paris ....

And The French Tour Co were there, along with over 80,000 other fans, singing ourselves hoarse to all our old favourites ..
Not being a true blue U2 fan myself, I enjoyed the first few songs from their new album; no line on the horizon, but it when they started playing their old tunes from the 80s and 90s, that the crowd really woke up and the stadium swelled and swayed with the voices of 80,000+ belting out the lyrics and air punching in unison.

Songs like Beautiful day, I still haven't found what I'm looking for, Sunday bloody Sunday , Pride, One, etc would have lifted the roof, if we had a roof! And a little musical homage to MJ, "don't stop til you get enough" was enough the turn the crowd into a frenzy altogether.

A brilliant night out - excellent entertainment value and although Bono is a bit of a langer, he does have one hell of a voice and his showmanship is second to none I've seen performing on stage.

Looking forward to U2 coming to Perpignan!!!! Centre of the world!

Another tough day at the office

With an adventurous family of adrenaline junkies booked in for an adventure tour and with a relatively free day to myself last Tuesday, I thought I'd join them for the day and partake in the adventurous activities. Sure, how tough could it be? I'm relatively fit, right?
A big fat wrong, apparently .. one week later and I'm still hobbling around with aching muscles ..
We started off the day with a lovely relaxing drive to the foothills of the mountains, where we got harnessed up and were given our safety chat and drill. The guys and gals in the adventure park are strong on safety and we all went through a thorough training program before we were let loose on the "pistes".
The adventure trails are marked like ski slopes , depending on levels of difficulty : green , blue, red and black. The blues were tough enough and once we had them conquered, we crawled over the the reds .. my body was pushed to the limits as we zipped around on sky high wires , negotiated ropes and tricky manoeuvres and sped across rivers over 30metres above the angry waters. Yikes! Exhilarating? yes. Challenging? yes. Pushing yourself to the limits? yes and terrifying? A resounding yes!!!!

We retired to the café for a tasty hearty lunch of catalan saussisson and a few very welcome glasses of the local cote du roussillon.

The planned canyoning was cancelled for the afternoon as there was too much water so we were given the option of the more "relaxing" tubbing .. involving speeding down the rapids in an inflatable tube with a paddle. An hour of hair raising, wild and reckless fun later, we dragged ourselves back to the centre where we shoe horned ourselves out of our wetsuits and went in search of some brandy!

This tour would be a great day out for gang of lads looking for thrills, or an incentive trip or just for fit people who like to push themselves to the limit. A gourmet picnic can also be organised as part of the day out

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Best Wine Tour Ever!"

This week , we had a group of young professional scots here on holidays who opted for the Red Beret Wine Tour.
They were a great group, chatty, interested and interesting, and they were blown away by the hospitality they received at all the vineyards.

Here's some of their comments :

"When I came back from Australia after being away for a year, I didn't receive such a big welcome as we did at the second vineyard! "

"The best day by far of our holidays"

"I can't beleive how friendly the people are"

"I've learnt so much today - it's brilliant getting to see behind the scenes and having it all translated as well, as my french is crap"

"the Best Wine tour I've ever done"

"the catalan barbeque was so authentic , it felt like we were in someones house -I loved the way the whole family ate with us as well"

"We will certainly recommend this tour to all our friends"

"I've never laughed so much!"

"Learnt loads about wine!"

Great to get such positive feedback - thanks guys for a great day!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Let your boat of life be light

Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
Jerome K. Jerome
Three Men in a Boat

We Did It!

As Dora would say:

We did it
We did it
We did it
lo hicimos!

With our qualified and experienced guide, Christian , we made it to the top of the Canigou, the sacred mountain of the Catalans here in the Pyrenees Orientales.

The peak , which can be seen from nearly every point in the Roussillon plain, dominates the landscape and holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. After living here for nearly 8 years, I felt it was time to get to know this stunning mountain more intimately and off we set, all 18 of us, bright and early on Friday morning 3 July to put our legs to the test.

Our guide, Christian, was fantastic ; cool, calm and collected, he guided us at our own pace to the summit, unobtrusively keeping an watchful eye on us all.

On this trip, we took 4x4 vehicles to "base camp" at Chalet de Cortalets and then started walking from there. It took approx 2 hours to reach the 'pic' from here where we enjoyed a well deserved lunch with amazing views. At the summit, there is a cross , where people have left their flags and momentos - we made our own mark and left the Munster flag flying there. Apparently, the USAP team had been up to the summit the week previous with the Bouclier de Brennus ( the Champion de france rugby trophy!)
It was a great achievement for everyone to make it to the top and we look forward to doing it again , maybe taking a different route the next time.
Most people were dreading the descent, but , guided by Christian , we all made it without a hitch.
An ice cool beer was the perfect finalé to a perfect days walking.

Bravo tout le monde!

Contact for walking tours in the Pyrenees

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Accommodation for Visa pour l'image Perpignan

Salvadore Dali declared Perpignan to be the centre of the universe in 1963 as he was passing through the town, maintaining that he got all his best ideas in the waiting room of the train station!
In September , Perpignan will become centre of the photojournalism universe , when it will host the International Festival of Photo journalism, attracting the who's who of the business to exhibit their work.
The exhibitions, which are housed in beautiful historical buildings dotted around the city , will be held from 29 August until the 13th September.
If you are looking for a place to stay during the festival, there is a gem of villa near Collioure which is available for rent : an artists paradise, the villa is nestled in the hills surrounded by vineyards, with an uninterrupted sea view. This quirky unique villa is off the beaten track with no immediate neighbours, apart from the wildlife and the winemaker who will be harvesting the 2009 vintage at this time.
Contact us for more details at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beaches in the Perpignan area

I love the beach and with two small kids, we regularly pack up the car and head East to the beaches near our house in Perpignan. One of the fantastic things about living here is that it's possible to go to the beach 365 days of the year and there are plenty to chose from , all withing striking distance of each other.

Here's my take on the beaches in the PO, starting from the most Northern beach : Barcares , down to the most Southern beach on the Spanish border , Cerbere.

Barcares : Barcares is sandwiched between the lagoon and the med and is a long strip of over 12kms of sandy beach.
Because Barcares gets some wind, it's a popular place for wind water sports on the lake. This long stretch of sandy beach is never really crowded and you'll can find a quiet spot to sunbathe quite easily.

: A less developed resort, unspoilt. Not much facilities. One or two very good beach clubs.

Saint Mairie : A small beach with lots of snack bars and pizza joints. You don't go here for the cuisine. It has a nice little promenade with a small cute marina.

Canet plage : 2.5 kms of fine sandy beaches. Definitely the best beach for safe swimming with children, particularly on the Northern end , near the marina. Lovely promenade for strolling, roller blading, pram pushing. A local favourite, it's also got the best bars, nightclubs. It is the party place in the summer. Great market on the sea front every evening in the summer. Some excellent restaurants.

St Cyprien : A long sandy beach sliced in two by it's impressive marina. The second largest marina in the South of France, there are some excellent fish restaurants here. Aqualand also on the Southern end provides entertainments for the big kids. Nice prom again for strolling.

Argeles : Gets VERY busy in high season. Rough sandy beach. Panoramic views. New marina - lovely to breakfast here, watching the boats, just adjacent to the prom.

Racou : Hippy style hang out, reminiscent of Aussie laid back beaches

: A must visit when you are here, although the beaches are stony and small.

Port Vendres : Beautiful little coves, south of Port Vendres. Take a bit of scrambling to get down to them but worth it. Ideal for snorkeling, picnicking. Very sheltered when the wind is blowing

Banyuls : Another stony beach with a fine marina. Good snack bars on the beach that don't cost the earth.

Cerbere : This border town has a small stony beach - lovely laid back family atmosphere.

Check out our discovery and coastal tours on For the inside track.

Stag tours in Perpignan

We had another group of fine gentlemen with us for the weekend , celebrating the finals nights of freedom before the groom to be walked the short walk ...

The 11 lads stayed in Canet , close to the beach and were able to sample the lively nightlife that Canet has to offer. The weather was glorious for them and they enjoyed a weekend of sun, sea, sand and ... water sports

On Saturday , they wanted to do something adventurous , so we organised a full days adventure sports for them in the mountains , near Axat. They spent the morning rafting and the afternnon hydrotubbing down the rapids. Here's what they had to say:

We very much enjoyed the activities. The rafting was good fun. A pleasant introduction, not too taxing but certainly blew away the cobwebs. The hydroglidding was also great fun but much more energetic and we were all exhausted afterwards. Good equipment and supervision and it was lovely in the mountains and on the river.

Thanks also for all of your recommendations for restaurants. They all turned out very well indeed. A tip in return, the nightclub called Dark is best avoided but is your only option when one of your party is dressed as Britney Spears.

Julian Pollock, London, best man

Bonne Chance for the wedding from all thefrenchtourco team xxx

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Bouclier comes home to Perpignan

Don't ask how or why , but the precious Bouclier de Brennus ( the winners trophy for the French league) ended up in my back garden yesterday evening!
After doing the rounds of Perpignan, it has been engraved at last : 2009, U.S.A.Perpignan and the whole town is in a frenzy of delight!
It's a great boost for Perpignan, the city and USAP the club. The Perpignanaise are really not interested in any other sport, it's a rugby mania town where rugby is a classless sport, a bit like Limerick in Munster, where I am from.
And! more exciting news : Munster and Perpignan have been drawn in the same group for the Heineken Cup next year. This means a home and away match for Perpignan and Munster. We are already been plagued for tickets!!
Don't forget to contact The French Tour Co ( for all your travelling needs to Perpignan : tours, transfers, rugby tours, accommodation advice - we are Irish and on the ground here in Perpignan and have the inside track

Monday, June 8, 2009

Congrads to USAP

What a match, what a victoire, what a homecoming!
The USAP team arrived back to Perpignan last night to be greeted by 25,000 revellers lining the streets of this proud Catalan town (That's nearly one fifth of the whole population of Perpignan! )
They gathered in their throngs, singing, shouting, crying with joy, as their heroes lapped the city on open top buses, finishing up on the steps of the Castillet to a rapturous reception.

After making it to the finals three times since 1998 and not having won the coveted top place since 1955, this certainly is an event to celebrate!
The final score in the match was 22-13 - poor Clermont ferrand though , one can't help feeling sorry for this team, always the bridesmaid, never the bride: they have made it to the final 10 times, but have never come home with "le brennus"
Oh well, as they say , there's always next year!!
The celebrations will continue for many weeks here in the South of France .. well done boys, we are proud of you!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

C'mon USAP

Perpignan is awash with red and yellow flags; cars , buses, houses, apartments , even prams are adorn with the USAP colours this week as the city prepares itself for the final on Saturday of the 'top quatorze' - the french rugby league.

It's no mean feat for this small town of Perpignan to make it to the French final, knocking some big names like Stade Francais, Toulouse, Biarritz and others to make it down to the last two.
They meet Clermont Ferrand in Paris this Saturday night and the whole of Perpignan will be holding their breath for those 80 crucial minutes! Despite the rumours that are flying around, Dan Carter will not be playing in the final, although he is heavily involved in the training and coaching side of the preparation.
He's been injured since the 31 Jan and he still has 6 weeks convalesence before he can play again.
USAP really have proved themselves by making it to the final without him.

The French Tour Co cheer you on guys! Allez USAP!

Contact us for details on our rugby tours - we have contacts with the local rugby clubs and can organise matches and rugby events for your group.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Perpignan Airport Transfer

We are coming into our busy airport transfer period now as people look to get from the airports and train stations to their campsites and accommodation. With approx over 4 million people visiting the Pyrenees Orientales over the next couple of months, we expect to be busy busy busy ...

Our air conditioned mini bus can take 8 people and we also can provide car seats for children and our drivers are all English speaking (ie my sister Suzanne or moi!).

As we have been living here for over 8 years, it's a great opportunity to pick our brains and to find out what to see and do locally and to get the on the ground knowledge.

We meet our clients at the airport or trains station and deliver them safely to their destination in the department, taking the stress element out of their arrival into a new country.

Our rates are very competitive, we will match any other company for price.

Service with a smile.