If you’re looking for a beautiful mediterranean coastline mingled with some mountains, Saint Cyprien just may be the place for you (and me coincidentally). Located in Pyrénées-Orientales in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, we happened to have the good fortune to spend a night at our friend’s grandparents summer apartment. Being August, we don’t really need an excuse to bum it up on the beach and escape the high 90’s F on any given days so we left Castelnaudary and headed to the French mediterranean coast. boo-ya!
Upon arriving I was pleasantly surprised on how visually pleasing this town is, contrary to our own seaside escape near Florence which sadly can seem at times decaying with neglect. This place was renovated, bustling with families. Did I mention yet that French people have a lot of kids. Seriously children are everywhere compared to Italy, where the average age must be at least 50.
The beaches are large and not crowded (at least when we were there). The water chilly and very clean, it made me wonder if France has a blue-flag system for beaches like Italy and if so these deserve to be on it. They also have a large port and boardwalk full of shops, restaurants, bars, people wearing croc shoes, French “jersey shore” types, amusement park and live music.
As soon as we got settled Our friend told us that his grandparents were going to treat us to a big lunch of authentic couscous. They spent most of their lives in Morocco and only came to France in their 50’s so knew we were in for a real treat. We started off with the very classy aperitif where I discovered a very easy-to-drink liquor, Suze. Moving to the lunch table we ate our weight in Moroccan food and savored every mouthful. They used dates, raisins and a fragrant broth to moisten the rice. It was a flavor overload.
Obviously after this lunch, we headed back to the beach to take a power nap and swim away a little built of food-guilt. The plan later was to meet his grandparents at a fountain on the boardwalk so we went early to window shop (and real shop) and scope out where to eat. When we arrived it was safe to say that all the people who weren’t at the beach that day seemed to have headed into the center and kids were everywhere. Climbing on rocks, screaming, sleeping, wearing crocs, barefoot. I couldn’t help but think being around all that chaos was a good form of birth control as any. On another note, the port itself is gorgeous, especially during sunset with all of the small boats bobbing in the water. We had savory crepes for dinner. T-man chose smoked salmon and I got chives and mushrooms. We took a break from wine and ordered cider, which in this part of the world you drink with mugs. How cool. I was sad to leave this beautiful town the next morning but we had to head to Toulouse to meet our friend’s sister and her family. Au revoir Saint Cyprien, I won’t forget you…