"Tomorrow I leave for Barcelona and then on to Perpignan, Narbonne, Arles and finally Avignon"

Spain's second largest city, Barcelona boasts gorgeous architecture, including what is internationally acknowledged as being a symbol for the city – the Sagrada Familia (pictured).  The church, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, remains famously unfinished to this day, despite work having started in 1882. A target date for completion is set for 2026… 

Overview of the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOverview of the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona - Credit: Montrealais

 As capital of the Catalan region, Barcelona is filled with picturesque parks, 68 to be exact and has seven beautiful beaches, as well as many medieval buildings. Saturated in art, culture and entertainment opportunities, Barcelona, seemingly, has everything!

 

Perpignan panorama
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePerpignan panorama - Credit: Christophe Marcheux

The medieval town of Perpignan meanwhile, is the capital of the Pyrenees-Orientales area of southern France. Founded in the 10th century, Perpignan was most affluent in the decades which closely followed, with the people making a comfortable living from luxury crafts, including cloth, leather and goldsmith work.

Narbonne city view
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNarbonne city view - Credit: Michiel1972

Moving onto Narbonne, just 849km from Paris, the commune was once a busy port, but environmental influences and competing ports put an end to that.

The cathedral remains a symbol of the once successful port and is one of the highest in France. It was however, never fully completed, as the scale of the building would for one, have meant removing the city’s wall…

The city of Arles was, for some years, the residence of the artist Vincent van Gogh and was also popular once upon a time with Roman Emperors, who used the city as a base during military operations. Arles subsequently contains various Roman remnants, including the ruins of an arena.

Arles
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeArles - Credit: Steffen Heilfort

Finally, Avignon, on the left bank of the Rhone, also has a famous Roman connection in the city’s cathedral – the Notre Dame des Doms. Avignon was once the place for popes and anti-popes and so also contains the well known Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes).

Avignon
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAvignon - Credit: Chimigi (2004)

Other aspects of Avignon include spacious and picturesque parks and gardens.