La Paloma is more than a place to stay, it’s a place to live.
Forget tightly packed tourist agendas and let daily life be the attraction for a change. If done properly, shopping for dinner can be a full day’s entertainment in France. From La Paloma you can bike or walk to several vibrant village markets using the old railway track.
To access the path from La Paloma, turn left out of the gate and left again into the housing estate just before the bridge as you leave Arles-sur-Tech. When the road ends, the trail begins! Follow the Tech River as it makes its way through pleasantly shaded forest canopy.
Sylvie Longue’s fresh goat cheeses smothered in chopped shallots, peppercorns or Mediterranean herbs from her stall at the town square market aren’t to be missed. Nor are the many other local Catalan specialties like artisan cured charcuterie, organic olives, sheep cheese and almond sweets.
When your basket is overflowing, take a seat at Cave les Voutes where organic local beer, wine and tapas are the house specialties. Buy a glass of wine and they will provide free bread for you to enjoy with oysters purchased from the stall in the market.If you want to venture out more, follow the railway path 11 km further to the artistic village of Céret, made famous by Pablo Picasso who founded the Cubist movement here.
Céret is bustling on Saturday mornings when the weekly outdoor market takes over the streets. Here you’ll find bright Catalan fabric and pottery, farm fresh produce, cheeses, wine, spices and more. If you can find an empty seat, Café Pablo is a perfect place to people watch. And the restaurants in the Place des Neuf Jets will tempt you to maintain your slow pace with a seriously long lunch.
Feeling really sporty? From Céret there’s a 28 km long cycling route all the way to the sea. If you don’t mind a climb through coastal vineyards you can reach Collioure for its lovely Sunday market. Don’t leave without trying fresh marinated anchovies or a glass of the famous sweet Banyuls wine.
Cycle or get the bus back to La Paloma, unpack your basket, pour a glass of your favourite domain, choose a terrace, and let the French l’art de vivre move you. Bon appetit!