Check the tourist office for local Passes
We enjoy visiting the southwest of France and have found various Passes offered by the local tourist industry. Once when in the Perpignan area with our eldest daughter, we bought Cathar Passes featuring discounts on the many Cathar sites in Languedoc-Roussillon. We had lots of fun trying to visit all of the sites. We didn’t quite make it but had fun trying.
This past Spring we were staying in Canet and discovered the “Pass inter-sites Terre des Hommes 2010" offering discounts to Catalan sites (and many other attractions). We had a grand time trying to get as many of the discounts as possible. When purchasing tickets to the Château de Castelnou, the sales clerk laughed and announced, “Aha, professional tourists” Far from it but we don’t see any sense in paying more than we must.
Some of the sites covered by the Pass include: The Tautavel Museum of Prehistory, the Fort at Salses, the Abbeys of St. Martin du Canigou, St. Michel de Cuixà, St. Genis des Fontaines and Arles-sur-Tech, the Hospice at Ille-sur-Tet and the Orgues near Ille-sur-Tet, the Priory of Serrabona, the Ramparts and Fort Libéria in Villefranche-de-Conflent, Center of Sculpture of the Master of Cabestany, Palace of the Kings of Majorca, the Cloister at Elne, the Château of Castelnou, Château Royal of Collioure, the Fauvists Way in Collioure, the Museum of Modern Art in Cèret and several other places including wineries, olive oil mills and gardens. Virtually all the tourist sights are covered by this Pass and while the discounts are not large, they add up if you are spending a week or two in the area.
The Pass booklet has a map, a listing of all the entrance prices and the available discounts, phone numbers and web sites and a brief description of what you’ll find there. The booklet also lists facilities available to the handicapped and is in French, Catalan, English and German.
A little competition livens the idea. You have your Pass stamped at the places you visit and when you have either filled it (easy enough) or are leaving the area, put the stamped Pass in a container at the entrance to each of the sites. At the end of the season, there is a drawing and you can win prizes ranging from a holiday in the Pyrenees Orientales to games and souvenirs of the area.
The Pass is free for the asking but you don’t get your discount until the second site visit. 52 sites are covered on the Pass.
Réseau Culturel / Terre Catalane
10, rue du Théâtre
66 002 Perpignan Cedex, France
+33 (0)4 6864-9354
Fax: +33 (0)4 6873-9849
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Our fondest memory of Perpignan goes back 10 years. We were having lunch al fresco in the center of town across from the Hotel de Ville (city hall) and a wedding party appeared. In France civil marriages take place in the City Hall before any religious ceremony may occur. For many, the civil marriage is it although many proceed on to a church for a religious ceremony.
It was fun to eat our wonderful French lunch and watch the wedding party, the lovely clothes, the flowers, the excitement and the flash bulbs popping.
Perpignan is a pretty town and there is always something happening. Weekends downtown are particularly fun, often with Catalan dancing. Follow your ears.