Here is a motorcycle road trip that should appeal to lovers of the towns and landscapes of the south-western part of France. Between the sea and the mountains, a two-wheeled escapade from Perpignan is ideal to conquer the hilly panoramas of the Albères massif, before reaching the spectacular hinterland of the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales. We then head for Sète, the little Venice of the Languedoc, with stops along the way in historic villages, in the heart of a regional nature park, and along the mythical Canal du Midi. The journey begins after renting a motorcycle from Yamaha Rent Perpignan, which offers safe words and scooters. What follows are landscapes, historical heritage, the pleasures of the table, in a part of France where the sunshine is always generous
Thetwo-wheeler adventure starts in the beautiful city of Perpignan, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. You should spend a few days in the city and think about renting the motorcycle from the start to make some nice trips around. Perpignan is a city where you can enjoy strolling under the sun to discover its colorful architecture and its main monuments. Let's mention the Castillet, the old main gate of the city, the Pams hotel, a private mansion with monumental works of art hanging on the walls, but also the Palace of the Kings of Majorca and the Saint-Jacques church. After having eaten a summer skewer at the Lou Grilladou, not far from the station, we grab the handlebars of the motorbike to go to Saint-Cyprien Plage. The village has superb stretches of sand from which you can watch the Albères mountains fall into the sea. On the programme, rent a deckchair in one of the unmissable straw huts to enjoy the sun while having a drink, then take a swim in the clear waters of the Mediterranean. Back in Perpignan for the night, you can put your luggage down in a cosy room at the Aragon hotel. There is a public underground car park just two minutes away from the hotel where you can park your motorbike.
We leave Perpignan by motorbike to reach the pearl of the Côte Vermeille: Collioure. We start by staying at the Villa Miranda, a bed and breakfast located in the heart of the town and in a beautiful 1930's house, then we set off to conquer the town to discover its treasures. We follow the route proposed by the House of Fauvism, which allows us to follow in the footsteps of Matisse, Derain and Signac. Then you can admire the mill, the Saint-Elme fort and the colourful boats that enliven the Catalan port. At lunchtime, you can try the innovative cuisine offered by El Capillo, with fresh local fish and regional wines on the menu. Then in the afternoon, beach lovers go to the Saint-Vincent creek, while hikers will go to the Albères massif for its beautiful mountain panoramas. As you never want to leave Collioure once you have set foot there, you stay several nights to enjoy the charms of the town, and escape for a day in the direction of Banyuls-sur-Mer, where superb hilly landscapes shaped by the vineyards invite you to go for beautiful walks in the heart of nature.
We leave Collioure to reach another wonderful village in the Pyrénées-Orientales. Castelnou is a superb medieval village dominated by a feudal castle of character. To settle in Castelnou is to take a real journey through time. The flowered alleys with stone houses, the art craft shops, everything is superb. After a stroll, we grab a picnic and we reach the Orgues d'Ille-sur-Têt by motorbike, to discover a site that many people do not know exists. It is however here, in the middle of nature, that the wind and the rain sculpted clay cliffs to make fairy chimneys, columns which seem to have been worked by stone cutters. Once you have visited and photographed this exceptional place, it is advisable to make a stopover in the fortified town of Villefranche-de-Conflent, so beautiful because of its location facing the Canigou massif, and so prestigious with its Vauban fortifications. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stop at the restaurant Le Patio will allow you to savour the flavours of Catalan cuisine, and back in Castelnou, it is at the Mas D'en Llinas that you will settle down, for its authentic atmosphere, the beauty of its interior and its swimming pool which looks out over the mountains and the plain of Roussillon
We start the motorcycle early one morning to reach the Narbonnaise Regional Natural Park. You will discover a preserved nature composed of maritime landscapes of lagoons and fine sandy beaches, reed beds, garrigues of Corbières, without forgetting the rocky escarpments of the massif of Clape. The park is a place where you can enjoy listening to and watching birds. We then stop in the village of Bages to discover its heritage, the sundial, the church of Bages and the chapel of Prat de Cest. A gourmet moment then takes place at the Jardins des Bages, on the small square at the top of the village. Fish, meat, vegetarian cuisine, there is something for everyone, and the small terrace is very pleasant. We then go to Béziers to stay at the Hotel des Poètes, which is very well located and offers simple but comfortable rooms. The place has a private garage on request to park the motorcycle. In addition to being a city with a beautiful heritage, a few days in Béziers allows you to escape to incredible sites: the Saint-Adrien garden, old quarries from the Middle Ages, the Oppidum d'Ansérine, an archaeological site of an ancient Gallic village, and how could you not want to go for a stroll along the Canal du Midi, on foot or by bike? The atmosphere is very peaceful and the shade of the trees is perfect for a picnic for two, or with friends.
Finally, head to the Hérault for a few days of rest on the Mediterranean coast, in the charming town of Sète. Nestled at the foot of Mont Saint-Clair, singular with its island position between the Etang de Thau and the Mediterranean Sea, the city does not lack attractions to fascinate visitors. It is home to picturesque districts, such as the Pointe Courte, which has the soul of a fishing village. The Quartier Haut (upper quarter) overlooks the port and is one of the most authentic in Sète. After a first night spent in a modern room of the Citotel Impérial, which has a closed parking for the motorcycle, we go in the morning to the beach for a swim. The stretches of sand are indeed only 200 m from the establishment. For a meal, we go to the restaurant Du Côté de chez Fred, which offers oysters from Bouzigues, stuffed mussels, monkfish and grilled cuttlefish, facing the mole and close to the sea. Then, we opt for a cultural afternoon with two key places in Sète: the Espace Brassens, which recounts his songs, art and philosophy, during a musical stroll. At the Paul Valéry Museum, nearly 4,000 works of art are on display, with paintings and drawings paying tribute to the artists who have fallen in love with Sète. Also on display are nearly 300 manuscripts, pastel drawings and watercolours, often little-known pieces of Paul Valéry's work. It is then time to ride the 140 km from Sète to Perpignan to bring the motorcycle back to the agency and conclude a wonderful southern trip.
Motorcycle travelers can get information on sightseeing and good deals by contacting the tourist offices of Perpignan Méditerranée, Collioure Côte Vermeille, Saint-Cyprien Méditerranée, Banyuls-sur-Mer, Béziers Méditerranée, Sète as well as the tourist information offices of Castelnou and Villefranche-de-Conflent. For more information on motorcycle rental in Perpignan, visit the Yamaha Rent website.