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Buses from Pérpignan's gare routière bring you to Céret in the Tech valley, on the D115 to the Spanish border. It is not hard to see why Céret, capital of the Vallespir region, has always been so popular with artists and tourists alike.

The old town is overhung by plane trees, which cast welcome shade into the squares so that you can escape the intense sunshine. Narrow cobbled streets wind into each other and occasionally open out into unexpected squares where there is usually a café or two where you can quench your thirst or sit down for lunch.

The place des Neuf Jets, named after the fountain in the centre, has a good crêperie type restaurant called Le Pied dans le Plat where you can eat without great expense. The nicest restaurant in town is undeniably Les Feuillants (04 68 87 37 88) that serves gourmet Catalan food for around €45 and over. Self caterers may be interested in the market on place Pablo Picasso and avenue d'Espagne on Saturdays, with a wide variety of goods on offer. For those wanting a room in Céret, try the Hôtel Vidal on place du 4 Septembre (04 68 87 00 85), an attractive hotel with rooms from €35 45 and a restaurant with menus from €20.

Céret has a very Catalan feel to it and you often hear the language being spoken in town. There are even corridas (bullfights) here in the summer in the arena on the Amélie les Bains road, on the opposite side from the market square. The cherry harvest takes place around Easter time and in August there is a sardana shindig on the last but one Sunday of the month, celebrating the Catalan folk dance sardane. The tourist office on avenue Clemenceau (04 68 87 00 53) will know exactly when these lively festivals take place.

All of these activities are of peripheral interest, however, compared to the celebrated Musée des Beaux Arts (€5.50) at 8 boulevard Maréchal Joffre. Céret was a popular hangout for artists at the turn of the 20th century. Picasso came here and so did Matisse, the former leaving a number of works of art especially for the museum, which also has works by Chagall, Dufy and Dali to name but a few. Picasso's 50 or so pieces mainly consist of a series of ceramic bowls painted with bullfighting scenes and a couple of paintings, so don't expect to see any of his famous paintings here, but the museum in general is well worth visiting.