This area of the Langedouc Roussion has something for everyone. Whether you have come to go skiing, walking, cycling, touring, canyoning, rafting or to simply tour the local villages, markets and other wonderful sights, everything is readily accessible.
Les Loges du Jardin d’Aymeric
This is certainly the nearest and probably the best restaurant nearby. Walk down the drive, turn left and it is the first door you come to on the right.
The food is excellent and the restaurant is in the Michelin Guide. It is small inside and so booking is advised especially in high season.
There are usually three set menu choices of approx €30; €50 and €75. The choice can be limited – especially with the cheapest menu.
Le Café de la Pais
Set in the main square in Prades this restaurant doubles as a typical French café during the day but turns into a busy restaurant in the evening with a large out door dining area as well. Menu choice is extensive from a large choice of pizzas to steaks and seafood dishes. Pizzas and main courses typically range from €9-€15 and a carafe of house wine would be approx. €8.
Set in the main square in Prades, this is a family owned and run restaurant and like Café de la Pais two or three doors away, is open all year round and doesn’t close for the winter months. A warning – it doesn’t look particularly inviting from the outside – but don’t let this put you off. It has a wide choice on the à la carte menu and also offers two or three set menus which are delicious – but since we’ve been going there have never changed! The restaurant is deceptively large with (as the name suggests) a Patio area to the rear in the summer, as well as an upstairs loft area.
El Taller Bistrot de Pays
Situated in the next village of Taurinya – it’s a 10-15 minute drive – on the right hand side opposite the Marie’s Office. The restaurant is generally open from Thursday to Sunday for lunch and dinner – but is open much later than some of the other restaurants. It is also open for more days during the high season. The ambience of this restaurant is more modern and not typically French, although like Les Loges du Jardin d’Aymeric the chef only cooks local produces and the quality of the food is superb. Set menus from €20-€40 are available with one course from each menu changing each week – so there is always something new to choose. In the summer there is a large patio area which extends the restaurant. It’s well worth a trip. During high season booking is recommended.
The Little Yellow Train
A great day out, and a very relaxing way to see some of the stunning scenery in the region. The train leaves from the station just outside Vilefranche and heads off up in to the mountains meandering through the valleys. There are various stop off points – some regular stops – some only if you request the train to stop. It has two open air carriges – but be warned, whilst these give great views, in the summer the sun can be hot and by the time the train has climbed 4 hours to its final destination in the thiner air, good sun cream and a hat are essential.
Les Bains de Saint Thomas
Approximately a 40 minute drive from the house is St Thomas de Bains, a natural thermal outdoor spa centre where you can bathe in one of two large outdoor pools or relax in the indoor Hamman. Private treatments are also available and the spa is open all year round so can be visited after a day on the slopes. The road leading to the Spa is quite narrow and parking outside the Spa can be limited but there are plently of parking spaces about a 5 minute walk away.
During the winter months it is possible to ski at Font Romeu or Pyrenees 2000 – both about 45 minute drive from the house but both are smaller resorts. Andorra is 1½ – 2 hour drive depending on traffic and depending on which resort you aim for. The resorts in Andorra are all very extensive with something for everyone – with the added advantage that food on the slopes is relatively cheap and dining in the evening is also a pleasure – helped by the tax free status of the Principality.
Rafting / Canyoning
Very popular in the summer months with a number of companies offering guided rafting and canyoning trips. Trips vary from fairly placid open Canadian style canoes suitable for all the family to some pretty hairy Canyoning trips for 6 hours plus and even ones with over night camping for the really extreme experience. The picture is of the Llech Canyon – this is in the next valley to Clara with a very good guide in Villerach.