A bird’s-eye view of French Catalonia

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September in Paris and still wishing we were on holiday. If it weren’t for a very crowded Collioure that led to the lack of parking space, we wouldn’t have ventured out to the scenic walking trails along the Mediterranean coast. Surprisingly, we were the only ones walking to la Batterie de Taillefer that afternoon. It was sunny but not unbearably so (hello hat, sunscreen and Avène thermal spring water spray), the heat also made tolerable with strong gusts of winds. I think that’s probably Elne and Perpignan in the distance in the first photo.

Miznon

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The best seats in the house have got to be the bar stools at the counter, right in the middle of an organized chaos where chef dudes are chopping up vegetables with the kind of finesse that only comes with years of experience amid servers shouting out customer names over loud music and indecisive customers fumbling over what to order.

Like everyone else, I came for their whole roasted cauliflower — and was rightly blown away by something so humble yet ridiculously addictive. And then there was the pita. For someone who doesn’t eat pita elsewhere, I’m happy to stuff my face with the extra-fluffy pita bread at Miznon.

If you still have room for dessert, don’t forget to get the chocolate and banana pita sandwich on your way out. My only gripe: I wish they’d bring back those (complimentary) roasted chili peppers though. It’s just not the same with the chili dip.

Miznon
22, rue des Ecouffes, 75004 Paris, France

Elne

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So far the only town in France where we have spotted a family member’s name on a WW1 memorial.

Cloître d’Elne

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My second time in Elne, the town where the husband’s paternal grandfather is from, this time with my parents, sister and my mother-in-law. We spent a bit of time at the cloister next to Cathédrale Sainte-Eulalie-et-Sainte-Julie d’Elne with its beautifully-sculpted and well-preserved columns in romanesque and gothic styles before heading to the extended family’s for apéro hour and a hearty lunch of boles de picolat (Catalan-style meatballs).

Cloître d’Elne
Place de l’Église, 66200 Elne, France

Cirque du Fer à Cheval

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So glad we finally made it to le Cirque du Fer à Cheval this spring. We did an easy hike for 3-4 hours, wowed by majestic views of the largest cirque in the Alps and its spectacular waterfalls at this time of the year the entire way. Easily the most impressive nature reserve I’ve been to in France so far. Hiking boots a must as there are quite a few streams to wade through.