CERET & THE VALLISPIR
In the Spring......
The extended season in the Vallespir starts with the breaking out of clouds of yellow Mimosa. There is still a sprinkling of snow on the mountains and the occasional high temperatures bring the promise of the sunshine to come. The Cherry blossom will soon follow giving local farmers much to talk about. This is an important crop here and a good season will give way to much celebration. The varieties of flora are out and the close of the hunting season (mainly wild boar) is upon us. Local events start in earnest with the Ceret Carnival (Mardi Gras) in March following with the Easter Festival. Cerets famous 'Fete de La Cerise' (Cherry Festival) in May.
In the Summer......
The warmer temperatures are here bringing much needed visitors to the area. Festivals and events are in full swing, and the bars and cafes extend their hours appropriately. In the mountains, valleys and gorges the cyclists, hikers and walkers are out appreciating the stunning scenery and on the beaches the sun lovers are enjoying all that is on offer from lazing about on long, hot, sandy stretches, discovering small rocky coves for diving, or just strolling around the numerous picturesque harbours.
Ceret sees various events during the summer with the International Music festival and the Querincerias (Flamenco Festival) in June and the famous (or rather infamous) Ceret 'Feria de Toros' in July. This weekend long event sees the running of the bulls through the streets of Ceret and is accompanied by a great deal of drinking and merrymaking at the specially constructed bodegas (street bars). During this weekend the Spanish influence is at its strongest with flags, tshirts and hats creating an almost impenetrable sea of colour. Over indulging in just about everything is the order of the day (and night) during this truly Carnival weekend, culminating in bullfighting at the local stadium (this is not for the faint hearted!).
Bastille Day is of course celebrated in July and there is usually a firework spectacular to mark the event. You also have the Sardane festival held over 3 days in the same month and this Catalan tradition appeals to all. The 4 weeks of August are marked with daily/nightly entertainment, music, street performers and the late night Tuesday market (in addition to Saturday mornings).
In the Autumn / Winter......
Now the season draws to an end attracting those who prefer slightly cooler weather for serious hiking, birdwatching, and of course in season, skiing. There is still plenty of sunshine and days at the beach are possible but be assured the water is cold. Most tourist sites will be pleased to open after a phone call and many people appreciate the locals having the time to chat, journey times being so much shorter and the autumn / winter greens on the slopes contrasting once again with the snow covered mountain tops.
September sees the Ronde Ceretan, an annual Marathon running event for all. This internationally recognised competition brings people from all around the world together for the tough 20km race. There are also intermediate and childrens races over this sporting weekend. The year draws to a close with the annual Foire au Gras (Fat Fair) and the Christmas Fair marks the Season of Papa Noel... and once again the New Year is upon us.
Some of the activities available locally:
For further details see tourist office website: www.ot-ceret.fr
- Kyaking / White water rafting / canoeing / tubbing
- Rockclimbing / Abseiling
- Biking / Mountain Biking
- Bird watching
- Walking / Rambling / Hiking
- Swimming (River / pool / Lake)
Distances by car:
- Mediteranean - 25 mins
- Spain - 15 mins
- Girona - 1 hours
- Barcelona - 2 hours
- Skiing - 1 hour
- Perpignan 30 mins
- Toulouse, Carcassone, Montpellier - Within 2 hours