Castelnou, is a rustic stone village set in the Pyrénées-Orientales about 35 minutes from Perpignan. The ride around the hills is pretty nice in Autumn with lots of golden leaves, through little villages with small churches.
At the top of the hill sits the castle with the town curling around below. We parked the bike in the parking bays near the old church and after a look in the graveyard and church. They have fascinating souvenir plaques on graves. We can only surmise that they are placed by friends of the deceased, but seeing souvenir is a bit strange for us.
We wandered up to the village and found it deserted although it was almost 11am. A young guy was sketching an old stone house, another guy was walking a dog and a girl at the hostel was changing beds but that was the only sign of life. The little village was beautiful with lots of artists cottages and we could imagine that in the summer months this place would be really crazy. However today it wasn’t in fact it was crazily dead. That wasn’t a bad thing however as we really enjoyed walking around checking out the place without the crowds.
We then headed up through the hills around Castelnouand despite the fog with the autumn colours it was really beautiful. It really is a different landscape with thin soils and stunted trees. The locals were out hunting amongst the trees and we believe its part of the reaction to wolves, which dominates the news at the moment. On the lower hills and on the flat lands there are fields and fields of grapes and olives.
Another spot we were told to check out is Collioure which is only about 30 minutes south of Perpignan on the coast. On the way to L’Escale tomorrow we’ll certainly check it out.