Pick up your hire car at Perpignan airport and prepare to unwind with a bottle of red and some hearty French fare.
"France and Spain have fought over us for centuries, basically because we're gorgeous. France won, but we've managed to keep the best bits of both nations."
Yes, there's enough history to keep any budding Simon Schamas happy, but there are also mountains one way, beaches the other and great food whichever way you turn.
This is the south of France - slow down. Why rush when there's a bottle of red pleading with you to keep it company at a street side cafe?
'Frantic' isn't in their vocabulary. The phrase 'take it easy' is, though. Except when they're playing rugby, which is big in these parts, when they'll happily eat you alive.
It's colder than you'd think during winter, but days are usually of the crisp and bright variety. In summer you can expect lots of hot, hot sun.
They like their food earthy here - that's simple and robust, not covered in mud. So expect to gorge on generous hunks of meat or fish and hearty stews.
They've only got the best rugby player in the world pulling on the local team's shirt. Quite a few of you may prefer to see Dan Carter taking it off on the beach, though.
Francois Arago, the physicist and politician who played an integral part in France's abolition of slavery, was born just outside Perpignan in a village called Estagel.
"I had an example of a cosmogonic ecstasy, more powerful than the preceding ones. I had a precise vision of the constitution of the universe." - artist Salvador Dali, who believed that Perpignan station was the centre of the universe after he had a vision there
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This fortress used to keep invaders out of Perpignan. These days they'll let anyone in, even you. Once you've breached the walls, there's a museum of Catalan culture to explore.
The nearest car park is the Parking Parcoville Castillet in Boulevard Wilson. They charge a minimum of €0.70 for the first 30 minutes and a maximum of €17 for a 24-hour stay.
You'll feel very French strolling through the broad tree-lined avenues of this garden, which boasts beautiful plants such as the vast and attractive Gingko Biloba and lovely palms. A great way to kick back and relax when you tire of sightseeing.
The nearest car park is Wilson Parking in Boulevard Wilson. They charge €0.70 for the first 30 minutes, which rises to €8.90 for 9 hours and €17 for a 24-hour stay.
This 13th-century Spanish fort is a reminder of the days when those folk from the south ruled the roost. You can see why they built it here, too - there are some lovely views of the Pyrenees.
Park your hire car for free in the palace's own car park.
If winged machines rev your engine, make sure you cruise into Perpignan's Aviation Museum, which is home to a vast array of flying contraptions.
You can park for free onsite.
Stub out your Gauloise, step out of the sun and take some time to ponder life in the elaborate surrounds of this fine cathedral.
You can either park at Parking Parcoville Castillet in Boulevard Wilson or the Parking Republic in Place de la Republique, which charges €1.60 for the first hour and a maximum of €10.60 for a 44-hour stay.
Montpellier is home to one of the world's oldest universities, founded in the 12th century, so there's plenty of history to get your teeth into and lots of students to philosophise with.
Head north-east on the A9/E15. The drive will take around an hour and a half.
Just 15 miles south of Perpignan there are four miles of wide, sandy beach on the Mediterranean - and not a Brit-abroad in sight. No, you're not dreaming, you're at Argeles-sur-Mer.
Head south on the D914. It's about a half-hour drive.
This town in the foothills of the Pyrenees has a fine Museum of Modern Art and is home to painters and poets - and they rarely choose to live anywhere that isn't pretty spectacular.
Head south on the A9/E15 and the D115. It'll take around 40 minutes to drive there.
It's a pretty coastal village, but never mind about that - it's the local wine that draws the crowds. Buy yourself a bottle for when you get home.
Head south-east on the D914. It's about a 50-minute drive.
" I would definitely recommend hiring a car as we have a very limited public transport network in Perpignan. The entire city centre can be covered on a stroll, so just park your hire car and lose yourself in the heart of Perpignan. The roads are good and traffic is reasonable so when you are ready to go exploring, jump in the car and head for the remote seaside villages and beautiful coastlines - there's no shortage of them! "