When you decide to book flights somewhere in the middle of autumn, the South of France (the real South that is) doesn’t typically spring to mind. Ideally you’d look at a country in the Southern Hemisphere, where Summer is about to start. Here’s why I chose to go to Perpignan. (and the surrounding areas).
I lived in the region between the ages of 6 and 13, so it’s essentially where I grew up, but obviously at such a young age, you don’t appreciate the beauty of what you’re surrounded by; Especially when you see it day in, day out. I was also due to catch up with family and friends at a Christening- but that’s slightly irrelevant, in terms of why I took the photos I did, and why I chose to take them solely on my phone.
Day 1: We landed at 11:30am, giving us the entire afternoon to find something to do. We chose to walk around Perpignan’s centre, away from the now massive retail parks dotted around the outskirts of the city. The weather that afternoon was perfection, clear skies, 20°c and no breeze. So for the beginning of November, it was actually quite warm. (seeing as in previous years we’ve had snow in the middle of October)
Day 2: Second day. We ended up at a small coastal town called Collioure, which you might’ve heard of as for some reason it’s famous for anchovies. Same weather as the day before, but slightly colder due to being along the coast, but whatever, as expected. Collioure itself always used to bore me massively as a kid, there’s nothing really happening there. I was 5 years older than the last time I visited it this trip, and I can still safely say that nothing happens there. But that’s what makes it great. The sea front is covered in restaurants selling fresh sea food and other local dishes. Although I said nothing happens there, it’s a place I’d highly recommend visiting solely for the food and to take in how laid-back the way of life is in the real South of France.
Day 3: This was the Christening. I didn’t take any photos worth putting in except one, this day. I even left my phone in my room. As I don’t see my family who still live there that often, I felt like I’d probably miss out on a lot if I spent an hour or two with my hand stuck to my phone taking photos and editing them there and then. The view in this photo however is from one of the balconies. The house that I grew up in is 5 miles up a mountain, surrounded by nothing but trees, a river and the occasional other house. It was probably the best place for me to grow up.
Day 4: River and brick walls. Day 4. We spent the entire day dodging rain and wind up in the mountains. We checked out two small villages that I used to spend a fair amount of time in. The first of which being Saint Laurent des Cerdans. St Laurent is one of the last villages in France before passing through to Spain. It doesn’t really have much going on in it, other than a golf resort with a spa. We spent lunch in this small wooded/park area. That’s pretty much it. After St Laurent, we moved on to Prats-de-Mollo. I probably used to visit Prats twice a week, mainly due to a lot of my friendship circle living here. Again, it’s a small village with nothing going on in it. There is however a castle there, but as we’d all been to it before, we didn’t walk to it. We explored the walls of it though as the village itself is built in and around them. The photo of my sister walking between trees is taken right next to the church, right in the middle of the village. As for the cheesy photo of me stood in an archway; I can’t really explain it. I was stood under it keeping sheltered from rain, but obviously I looked like I needed my photo taking.
Day 5: We flew out from Perpignan at 10:15am. This photo is one of my favourites out of them all. Nothing else to say about it, really.
The trip itself was great. It was nice to be back in places I’d visited when I was younger but never appreciated. Also, having developed my whole love for photography when I moved back to England, it was nice to be able to document it all in a way I was more than pleased with; shooting with the bare minimum of an iPhone. I’m looking at hitting up some new places over the next few months/seasons, so I’ll probably do more of these. Thanks to Neela for suggesting I do this too, I actually really enjoyed writing it.
All photos were edited on VSCOCam (available on iOS & Android) In terms of why I called it the real South; many people associate the South of France with Nice/Marseille. That’s the South East, an equally beautiful corner of the country, but it’s not the real South aka North Catalonia.
Words and Images by Kris Jones. (@KrisJxnes)