The large stone college and 12th century Sainte-Marie church dominate the village which has 9 wine caves - wine being the major industry. 12km from Perpignan and 5 kms from Perpignan Airport and the nearest autoroute access point, 14km from the nearest Mediterranean beaches. Within easy access (30 mins) of the Spanish border with Barcelona (Gaudi sites), Figueres (Dali Museum) and Catalonia beaches all within easy driving distance for a good day out. The medieval city of Carcassonne and the red brick city of Toulouse as well as many other fascinating towns and village are within 1-2 hours drive. You can even visit Andorra in 2+ hours. Take the train from Rivesaltes to Perpignan and surrounding areas or a real must do is the Little Yellow train up into the mountains from Villefranche. There is also a tourist train from the village.
This area is noted for its Roussillion wines - Muscat being the most well known, although most of the wines stay and are drunk here - too good for export!. There is good red wine in abundance and some excellent whites too. With 54 domaines /caves this is a very good area for wine lovers to visit.You can also stock up on cheap Spanish wine to go with the excellent French wines from our own or the surrounding villages (there are some cheap but very drinkable wine at the local co-operatives and quality gold medal winners).
Rivesaltes, the nearest town (5 minutes) and Perpignan (within 10 minutes drive) have the larger supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers and street markets. In fact, there are several street markets in Perpignan on most days of the week with a large antique/car boot market on Sundays.
Perpignan is a fascinating city with its Catalan history and has many old buildings, bars and restaurants to search out in its winding, narrow streets. During the summer months Perpignan and surrounding villages are alive with music and fetes and every village holds a Vide Grenier (street market for villagers' second hand goods and clothes ) and during the autumn the Vendage (wine) festivals abound in the area. All the towns and villages are wine and fruit producers (figs, peaches, apricots and cherries), together with walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, snails and wild mushrooms to name but a few. You can spend endless days tasting these at various times. There is something worth visiting ever week of the year. The village of Espira, population circa 3000, hosts a Catalan fete on 1st May, a BIO market in June, the fete de la St. Jean with fireworks on 23 June, a local fete 14 - 16 August and the Fig fete at the end of September.
The Castellet in Perpignan
The nearest Mediterranean beaches are within 20 minutes drive. The resorts of St. Cyprien, Argeles, Collioure (paradise for artists and anchovy lovers!) and Banyuls (delicious wine) on the Cote Vermeille are all within 20 – 30 minutes drive. There are spa towns Amelie les Bains, Les Thermes du Boulou and Molitg-les-Bains, Roman towns, medieval towns, prehistoric caves, gorges and Cathar castles for starters and that is just in France. Over the border in Spain you can visit La Jonquiera (duty free prices), Figueres (Dali museum), Barcelona (Gaudi museums and Barcelona Football Stadium) and the Mediterranean beaches of Catalonia, which are all within 2 hours easy driving.
If you prefer something more energetic than sightseeing there is always skiing – the nearest ski slopes are in the Cerdagne only one and a quqrter hour away, white water rafting a half hours drive into the Aude, horse riding in the countryside or on the beautiful, long Mediterranean beaches, scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea, walking in the Alberes and discovering the many small, villages there, or climbing to the Pic de Canagou ( 2784m ) or the nearby Torre del For 10 kms away. Or why not visit the Pyrenees or Andorra. There is also, fishing tennis and boules available locally too and a sports centre in Rivesaltes. Don’t forget this is real French Rugby country so there are plenty of good games to see, if that is your sport. There are 4 golf courses in the Pyrenees Orientales with the closest only 32 kms away (18 and 9 hole courses by the sea) and a total of 25 courses in the Langedoc/Rousillon region.
The climate here is one of the best in France, with an average of 300 + days of sun a year and an average rainfall lower than that of Provence.The summers are hot and sunny, the winters dry and mild and there is something for everyone to see and do. Much more to see than can be achieved in one visit or even one lifetime!