The Secrets Between Us: Bibliography

Author’s Note & Bibliography

(This author’s note can also be found at the back of The Secrets Between Us, but I’m posting it here too for ease of sharing links).

The Secrets Between Us is a fictional work inspired by true events that took place in the Alpes-Maritimes during the summer of 1943.

From February to September of that year, the town of Saint-Martin-Vésubie, situated around forty miles from Nice, was designated an “enforced residence” for displaced Jews. Through a combination of sympathy, politics, altruism and the efforts of Jewish Italian banker Angelo Donati, the Italian Fourth Army moved thousands of Jewish refugees into Saint-Martin-Vésubie and the surrounding villages. For one summer, the valley became something of a safe haven, where the Jews were protected from persecution from German and French forces. It offered respite, relief and a degree of security for the refugees, many of who had already been fleeing for years.

With the announcement of the armistice, and Italy’s withdrawal from the war, the refugees’ safety vanished, and they were left with an impossible choice: stay in villages like Saint-Martin and await the German authorities, or take the perilous old salt roads across the mountain passes, into what they believed would be safety in Italy.

Over a thousand refugees made the crossing from Saint-Martin-Vésubie, not knowing that German forces were waiting for them on the other side. Some of those who escaped were aided by résistance members, anti-fascist groups, or French or Italian civilians, who hid the refugees in barns, attics and remote farms, even presenting Jewish children as their own during the round-ups. Many more of refugees were captured and interned at Borgo San Dalmazzo, before being sent to Drancy, and ultimately, Auschwitz.

In The Secrets Between Us, I decided to set the action in a fictional town named Saint-Antoine, rather than in real-life Saint-Martin-Vésubie. I chose to do this because – while I sincerely hope to bring this underreported area of the Second World War to wider attention – I did not want to conflate my work with the reality of what was experienced by those who were present in Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

For many individuals, that summer in the Alpes-Maritimes was just one chapter in a whole series of heart-breaking, remarkable events. The real-life stories of both the Jews and their French and Italian protectors are ones of bravery and suffering, endurance and survival that need no fictional embellishment.

The Secrets Between Us imagines only a tiny portion of what took place during Italian Occupied France. My research spanned everything from salt mines to crayfish catching, songs in Yiddish to first-hand testimonies, but these are the works I turned to the most.

Holocaust Odysseys: The Jews of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Their Flight through France and Italy, Susan Zuccotti (Yale University Press, 2008)

La pierre de Juifs, Danielle Baudot Laksine (Editions de Bergier) Book one of five on the subject.

A Pause in the Holocaust (1943: Le temps d’un répit), 2009. Documentary directed by André Waksman.

Mussolini’s Army in the French Riviera: Italy’s Occupation of France, Emanuele Sica (University of Illinois Press, 2016).
Wandering Star, J.M.G. Le Clézio (Gallimard, 1992. Translation: C. Dickson, 2009)

Marche de la Memoire, a yearly walk, held every September to commemorate the exodus of Jewish refugees from Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

APJN page on Saint-Martin-Vésubie: (Anonymes, Justes et Persécutés durant la période Nazie dans les communes de France – “The Unknown, Righteous and Persecuted of the Nazi period in French communes”)

Where the Wild Cherries Grow: US Release!

Last week was a great one here; Where the Wild Cherries Grow was released in the US by St Martin’s Press in a beautiful hardback edition.

IMG_0678

The response from readers and bloggers so far has been wonderful; a huge thank you especially to Erika Robuck for hosting a recommendation, review and giveaway on her blog, and to Deborah Kalb for hosting a Q&A. Thanks, of course, go to the team at St Martin’s Press for all their hard work too.

Keep your ears out for the audiobook version from Macmillan Audio! Where the Wild Cherries Grow has also been translated into Italian (as La Ragazza delle Ciliegie) and German (as Der Duft von Meer und Thymian). Details on the Books page!

You can pick up a copy of Where the Wild Cherries Grow at the following places: Indiebound / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Powell’s

… or of course, your local library. 🙂

L x

The Inspiration Behind The Secrets Between Us

I remember the precise moment when the idea that was to become The Secrets Between Us sprang into being. I had been poring over a map, searching the border region of France and Italy (I’m fascinated by borders), when I saw a small town, high in the Alpes-Maritimes, by the name of Saint-Martin-Vésubie. The Wikipedia page briefly mentioned the route de sel, an ancient road used to transport salt from the coast to the city of Cuneo since Roman times; that even today can be followed all the way from the Mediterranean, across the perilous mountain passes into Italy.

My interest piqued, I carried on reading, and learned something remarkable: that during the Second World War, Saint-Martin-Vésubie, and several other mountain villages, became havens of relative safety for Jewish refugees.

In November 1942, following the occupation of France by German forces, the Italian Army marched into Nice and the surrounding area as occupiers. The French populace perceived this as a stab in the back. The Italians were – unlike German forces – seen as neighbours, cousins, especially in regions like the Vésubie valley, where this was often literally the case.

What’s more, it soon became clear that Italian Occupied France was operating under different rules from the rest of the country – then under German occupation – and from Italy, especially when it came to Jewish citizens and refugees. Although persecution and anti-Semetism had been widespread throughout Italy, the Italian military forces refused to deport any Jews or political refugees from the Occupied Zone, despite increasing pressure from the German administration. In the spring 1943, it was decided that many of the refugees who had flooded into Nice would be transferred away from the coast to “enforced residences” in mountain villages, partly for safety, partly to secure the coastline, and partly to stall any threats of action by Nazi officials.

Almost overnight, the population of Saint-Martin-Vésubie doubled as hundreds of refugees arrived; not only French but German, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Belgian. For one summer, Saint-Martin-Vésubie became a bustling, cosmopolitan refuge where Jewish people and other refugees experienced some level of relief, safe from persecution by French and German forces.

Once I had read about all of this – the border, the salt road, the Italian occupation and the refugees – I knew I wanted to try and write a story set amongst it all. I knew I wanted to bring these remarkable events to life for readers who may never have heard of them otherwise.

I’ll write another post soon on my research methods; the books I’m indebted to, the trips I took to the National Archives, the articles and documentaries and films I devoured in the writing of this book. But today, I wanted to share my experience of the place that inspired the story.

The Secrets Between Us is set in a fictional village in the Alpes-Maritimes, named Saint-Antoine; a decision I made both to allow myself some narrative freedom, and to respect the history of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and the real-life experiences of all those involved, whose stories of survival and persecution need no fictional embellishment.

Physically, however, I took much inspiration from Saint-Martin-Vésubie, from the mountains, the surrounding countryside and the villages of the Vésubie valley. I hope to be able to share just a little of this remarkable place with you here.

L x

From The Secrets Between Us:

Our gargouille was different. It wasn’t a monster at all, but a waterway; a stone channel as old as the town, running from a fall in the mountains, all the way along our steep, main street and down into the river. Generations of people had channelled the flow so that it seemed to spout on almost every corner. Its water washed our clothes and bathed our children, filled our cooking pots and drenched our thirsty plants in the summer. It was the throat of the mountain, and we drank from it.

  

 

I turned from the hotel, took the back way through twisting passages and narrow alleys. They smelled old, of shadowed stone that never dried, that hadn’t had the sun on its face for more than half a millennium. I shivered, walked faster. Ahead I could see the little square in front of the church, where sunlight fell bright and made the old yellow stone glow. I stepped into it gratefully. All around, moisture seemed to be seeping from the village’s damp-clogged walls, like honey.

  


Finally, we came to a place where the trees parted around a pile of huge, grey rocks that looked down over town, its roofs a jumble of terracotta shards on the mountain. The sun fell bright; the air was quenching and clean.

 


Saint-Antoine, she says; a place of granite and wildflowers, of trees that cling stubbornly to the steepest slopes. A place where marmots cry their warnings, where goats wander, belonging to no one but themselves, and elusive chamois look on from impossible heights. It’s a place where the wind blows from the peaks, tasting of ice even in summer. A place where larches turn the mountainside gold in the autumn, like the candlelit hair of the church’s ancient Madonna.

 


It’s so narrow that I find myself looking up fearfully. Wooden balconies and walkways cling between the buildings, brittle as old bones.

 


To visit Saint-Martin-Vésubie you can fly to Nice, and either drive or catch one of a few buses a day up the steep, narrow winding mountain roads to the village. (Don’t look over the edge…)

We stayed at La Bonne Auberge; a lovely family-run hotel (which I believe was where the Italian Army held registrations for foreigners during the occupation). There’s a big, Alpine style lounge, simple rooms, and good food, plus an enormous collection of genepi, liqueurs and other spirits…

 

Finally, a little way along from the hotel you can find a series of stone memorials, commemorating the events which took place in Saint-Martin-Vésubie and remembering those who fought, those who resisted and those who were killed.

IMG_5944

The Secrets Between Us Blog Tour

As part of the release of The Secrets Between Us, my wonderful publicist Hannah has put together a blog tour!

LauraMBlogTour(1)

Writing is a lonely business, and the first weeks of new book’s release can feel especially daunting, before you’ve quite used to the idea of other people reading your words… So I’m grateful for the support and hard work of bloggers, readers and reviewers who all help to kick-start a book’s sales and get the word out there. I’ll share links to the individual blog posts on here as and when they are published.

Many thanks again all; I owe you a glass of wine! (Or a cake. Or both).

L x

 

The Secrets Between Us: OUT NOW!

My new novel, The Secrets Between Us, is out NOW in ebook format, and the rest of January you can grab it for only £0.99p! (On Kindle and Kobo at least). That’s six months of my life, a lot of swearing, many glasses of wine, a trip to the Alpes-Maritimes, not much sleep, a lot of reading and even more editing, deleting, re-writing and refining for less than a coffee or a fancy croissant!

secretsbetweenus

Here’s the cover blurb:

A gripping mystery with a heart-breaking revelation, The Secrets Between Us is a sublimely satisfying story of lost love, betrayal and the dangers of war. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton’s The Lake House and Dinah Jeffries’ Before the Rains.

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person. Scandal, it would seem, can be more dangerous than war.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

So if it sounds like something you might enjoy, please do give the ebook a punt. The paperback is due out in April, so physical book-lovers will have to wait until then, I’m afraid. Links below.

As always, it’s an incredibly odd feeling, a new book being released into the world, but so far, I’ve had some great support and reviews from readers and bloggers alike. THANK YOU all!

Now I’m off to work on the next one…

L x

Amazon

Kobo

Google Books 

iTunes

 

Recipe: Winter-Spiced Madeleines

Festive Madeleines

Madeleines have got to be one of my favourite things to bake (and no, of course I’m not biased!) They’re sweet, petite, take only a few ingredients, a fraction of the baking time of a larger cake, and bring so much happiness. The last batch I baked disappeared alongside a pot of tea in around ten minutes. These cakes might be simple, but they’re fiendishly moreish.

The scallop-shape of the madeleine apparently dates – according to baking mythology at least – from the 18th century. One story relates how Madeleine Paulmier, a cook for Stanislaus I, duke of Lorraine and exiled King of Poland, was forced to improvise a dessert, and on the spur of the moment baked the little cakes in scallop shells. Of course, the scallop shell is also inextricably linked to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, another place where these cakes may have originated…

Whatever the history, madeleines continue to charm whoever eats them. They’re especially magnificent when dipped in tea – a la Proust – or in my case, coffee.

With this recipe, I’ve tried to bring together the simple elegance of a classic French madeleine, with the spices and flavours that, for me, signify winter and the festive season. I’ve replaced classic lemon zest with orange, and added saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon and a dash of clove to call to mind those intoxicating scents and flavours that make you feel as if you’re being wrapped in homely, kitchen warmth having come in from the cold.

DQ2LcfEWAAA7FoN

P.s. I infused my caster sugar with a cinnamon stick, a handful of cloves and a fresh nutmeg for a week or two before using it. It smells amazing, and is a useful thing to have around in the festive season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter-Spiced Madeleines

Makes 12-14

Ingredients

  • small pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 100g self-raising flour (or 100g of plain flour and 3/4 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • fresh nutmeg

For the spiced sugar:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • fresh nutmeg

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C / 400F / Gas mark 6. Brush your madeleine tin with melted butter and dust with a little flour.
  2. Place the saffron strands into a bowl or pan with the milk and cloves and warm gently, either in the microwave for a few seconds, or over the hob. Set aside to cool and infuse.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until light and frothy.
  4. Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly, then stir in along with the orange zest.
  5. Remove the cloves from the milk. Add the milk and saffron to the cake mixture.
  6. Sift in the flour and cinnamon and a good grating of fresh nutmeg. Stir gently to combine.
  7. Leave to rest for a few minutes, then spoon into the prepared tins, so that they are 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for around 8-10 minutes, or until risen and pale golden. Place the tray on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  9. Meanwhile, grind the caster sugar in a pestle and mortar (or with a spice grinder) until it has a finer texture – somewhere between caster and icing sugar.
  10. Place it on a plate with the cinnamon and another good grating of nutmeg and stir together.
  11. Quickly, while the cakes are still warm, roll them around in the sugar.
  12. Serve fresh, with a cup of tea, coffee or even mulled wine…

 

Cover Reveal: The Secrets Between Us

It seems like yesterday that I was going through the page proofs for my new novel with a red pen, thinking “well, I’ll have a few months at least to get used to the idea of this being a real book”. But then, a surprise came through from my publisher: it wouldn’t be months to wait at all. In fact, they were going to be publishing the ebook on the very first day of 2018! (Although you’ll have to wait until April 2018 for the paperback, I’m afraid.)

The team have been working hard over the past few weeks to make sure the book is ready in time, from page proofs to cover copy, to – of course – the cover itself.

So, I’m delighted to be able to share with you all the cover for my third novel, The Secrets Between Us

A gripping mystery with a heart-breaking revelation, The Secrets Between Us is a sublimely satisfying story of lost love, betrayal and the dangers of war.

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

The Secrets Between Us will be released on January 1st 2018, so if you’re looking for something to read while hiding in bed with a hangover, this one might be the book for you! It’s available to preorder now (as an ebook for £4.99 and a paperback for £6.99). If you’re interested, please do pre-order; it really does help authors immensely.

The book is currently up on NetGalley, for any bloggers and reviewers out there! Keep an eye out for promotions too, which should be running around the release date.

This has been – so far – the hardest book to write, and I’m pretty nervous about how it’s going to be received by readers… But I’ll just have to wait and see, and hope that people enjoy it.

More from me later!

L x

Les transbordeuses: the forgotten female activists of Cerbère

He had brought a large basket with him. From it came tumbling oranges, impossibly bright against the old, scrubbed wood.
‘Where did these come from?’ I asked Clémence, fetching a clean knife to copy Aaró’s peeling and slicing. ‘I haven’t seen any groves.’
‘Spain. They’re why this town exists. Buy an orange or a lemon anywhere in France, or England for that matter,’ she slid a look at me, ‘and it will have come through Cerbère.’
‘How so?’ The air around me was a spritz of juices, fresh and sweet.
‘The trains,’ she said. ‘Oranges have to travel somehow.’
Where the Wild Cherries Grow, p.204

If you were to walk through the bustling Les Halles market, “the belly of Paris” at the end of the nineteenth century, you would have come across barrows full of citrus fruits, their skins gleaming bright against the grey winter city.

A luxury for the wealthy, those oranges and lemons arrived in Paris after a journey of nearly a thousand miles. In 1900, lorries and commercial haulage didn’t yet exist. Canals were too slow for perishable goods, always at risk of spoiling. No, there was only one way to ship the precious cargo of winter citrus fruit from the southern coast of Spain all the way to the chilly, fog-wrapped Northern cities of Europe. The railroad.

On the surface it might seem simple, to load crates or oranges and lemons into a freight compartment in Spain and send them on their way, to arrive in Paris a few days later. It would have been, had it not been for a hitch: the gauges of the tracks in France and Spain were – and still are in many places – different sizes. This one distinct problem was a catalyst, bringing together the citrus freight, the railroad and a group of indomitable female workers into a remarkable, if forgotten, story of bravery, industrial exploitation and activism.

Cerbere Beach

The setting for this story is the small frontier town of Cerbère, the last station in France before the border with Spain, at the very edge of French Catalonia. Cerbère is a child of the railroad and the sea; a place that manages to be many things at once. French and Catalan, rural and international. For many years, it could only be reached by boat or by walking the goat tracks over the arid maquis.

Before 1870, Cerbère was a sleepy place, home to a few wine-growing families, fishermen, and the odd customs official trying to stop smugglers from crossing the border. But on January 21st 1878, the French Chemins du fer du Midi and the railway company of Tarragona met at the Cerbère border. There, they encountered the problem that was to give rise to one of the most fascinating chapters in Cerbère’s history, and in the history of women’s labour. The French rail gauge was set to the European standard – 1,435mm – while the Spanish was 1,668mm. As a result, nothing could roll from one country into the other. Any passengers or freight needing to cross the border had to be unloaded and reloaded, every time.

The solution that presented itself was both simple and indicative of the Victorian-era, when industry built profit upon the backs of the labouring poor. To move the freight, all that was required were hands, and a lot of them.

Soon, freight forwarding companies were springing up on either side of the border, eager to exploit the situation. They began to employ women specifically to move the citrus cargo, believing that they would treat the fruit more carefully and dextrously than male haulers. These women became known locally as les transbordeuses.

https://i1.wp.com/cessenon.c.e.pic.centerblog.net/74ab3aca.jpg

The job was hard and the pay was meagre – 75 centimes per team for every wagon loaded, and 1 extra centime for the team leader – but for several months of every year, these women were an essential part of the supply chain, moving vast quantities of fruit between carriages. It was tricky work; the oranges were a valuable winter crop, a luxury had to be expertly packed to prevent spoilage on the long journey north, to Paris, Brussels, sometimes even as far as Russia.

Five women worked every compartment. Two “remplisseuses” unloaded the oranges into straw-padded baskets, two “passeuses” carried those baskets across narrow gangplanks to the French wagons, where a last woman, the “videuse”, carefully stowed the oranges in stacks, inserting long, hollow reeds throughout to ensure airflow around the fruit.

Between November and May every year, the women often worked sixteen or seventeen hour days, from six in the morning to eleven o’clock at night, hauling twenty kilogram baskets back and forth. Due to the seasonality of the work and the intense, busy hours, women would end up as the breadwinners of their families, sometimes earning twice as much as their husbands or fathers.

Soon, however, the freight companies began to find ways to abuse their workforce. They created a hierarchy of teams; the fastest and most loyal workers were at the top, and would win the most wagons. Those at the bottom might not get any work at all. This resulted in huge wage inequalities, and bred resentment, rather than cooperation between teams of women.

But by the beginning of the twentieth century, with change sweeping across Europe, the transbordeuses had had enough of poor working conditions and even poorer pay. On 26th February 1906, one hundred and seventy of the women went on strike, demanding a 25% pay increase and an end to the hierarchy system. After twenty-four hours, with three-quarters of the citrus wagons blocking the station and at a risk of spoiling, the freight forwarding companies gave in, and agreed to the pay-rise as well as a fairer rotation of teams. As a result of this victory, the women went on to form one of the first working class women’s unions in France; the Syndicat des transbordeuses d’oranges.

The newfound accord was not to last. Soon, tensions began to grow. Some workers were encouraged by the freight forwarding companies to start a union of their own to counter the Syndicat. The freight companies then refused to recognise the “red” Syndicat as an official trade union, while simultaneously signing a contract with the new, “yellow” union, promising them priority. The fair rotation scheme was destroyed, workers pitted against each other.

Throughout 1906, Syndicat members fought fiercely against the injustices, including abuse and unfair dismissal. In late autumn, they went on strike again and blocked the station doors, stopping “yellow” workers from reaching the wagons. The situation eventually grew so tense that the state dispatched two companies of infantry soldiers to the area. Fruit businesses in Spain appealed to the Spanish ambassador in Paris, begging him to try and resolve the situation.

But the women of the Syndicat refused to be bullied or threatened into going back to work. For two long months, they stood firm, all the while wreaking havoc at Cerbère station. On 29th November, they even lay down on the tracks in front of a train from Perpignan in protest, not moving until the train was finally called to a halt only two metres from where they lay.

In December, with the busiest months imminent, the freight forwarding companies and the Syndicat were finally brought together to discuss the situation. As a meeting, it was not without conflict. But in the end a solution, of sorts, was reached. The outcome was not what the Syndicat had hoped for; the freight forwarders demanded and won the right to give priority to their own “yellow” workers, though only during morning work hours.

Although the final outcome of the long strike left many of the transbordeuses angry and disappointed, it does not diminish the importance of their actions. By standing up for better pay, for fairer hours, against unjust dismissals, they made history by staging one of the first all-female strikes in France. They also formed one of the first women’s unions, captured international attention, and fought for the rights of the individual worker against company exploitation.

By 1930, buoyed by freight, Cerbère a thriving border station. Villas and ornate customs offices were built into the hills; a new road for touring cars, and a grand art deco hotel that jutted out above the sea like the prow of a ship. Passengers could travel along the coast, taking in the glittering bays of the Côte Vermeille, and alight at Cerbère to spend a night or two at the elegant Hôtel Belvédère du Rayon Vert, perched above the tracks. When their papers had been stamped by officials, they could re-board and continue their leisurely way into Spain.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f1/39/2b/f1392b9f419b37ba389bced68ea56acd--vintage-travel-posters-vintage-poster.jpg

And all the while, the transbordeuses worked, passing the trade down from mother to daughter over the years. Amongst the glamour and money that came to the Cerbère thanks to customs taxes, it is easy to forget the women who made it all possible.

By the 1950s, with the introduction of the variable gauges and gauge change systems, work for the transbordeuses dried up. As the decades went on, freight passing through Cerbère began to decrease, as long-distance haulage, cheap shipping and air freight were introduced. The railroad was no longer an artery, feeding the town, and traffic at the once hectic station slowed to a trickle.

Cerbere tracks

Today, Cerbère must be one of the quietest international stations in the world, with one or two freight passenger trains passing through, on the long journey between Paris and Barcelona. Most of the ornate customs houses that line the track are derelict, home to pigeons. The imposing Hôtel Belvédère du Rayon Vert was left to fall into disrepair after being occupied during World War II, but is now being renovated, slowly, a room at a time. Thankfully much of its art deco charm, its floor tiles and auditorium, grand dining room and entrance hall remains intact, albeit a little battered and faded.

 

Cerbère’s history as a border station makes it a fascinating place; humble yet grand, proud yet wry and welcoming, somehow more real and vivid than other nearby seaside towns like touristy Collioure.

Until last year, it was possible to take the sleeper train from the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris at ten o’clock at night, and wake up at the feet of the Pyrénées-Orientales, and in Cerbère, in time for breakfast the next morning. Sadly, the train company have discontinued this route (although there’s a rumour that it might start up again soon) so I’m glad it’s a journey I was able to make while I could; tracing the route that the orange cargoes would have taken over a hundred years ago, packed by the hands of the courageous transbordeuses.

Cerbere Transbordeuses statue

How to get there:

Cerbére can be reached direct by train from Paris in around six to eight hours, for as little as €20-€30, if booked in advance. Alternatively, fly to Carcassonne, Perpignan, Toulouse or Barcelona and take the train from there.

Places to Stay:

Hôtel la Dorade

This modest but friendly family-run hotel is right on the seafront, and was the inspiration for the Café Fi del Mon in Where the Wild Cherries Grow. Yves, the owner, knows the history of the town inside out. Onsite café and restaurant that serves Catalan-style food and fresh fish, still using many of Yves’ mother’s recipes. (Tell him I sent you…)

http://www.hotel-ladorade.com/index.php

La Dorade – Front de Mer 66290 Cerbère (00 33) 4 68 88 41 93

contact@hotel-ladorade.com

 

 

Hôtel Belvédère du Rayon Vert

Belvedere Room

It’s possible to stay in one of the renovated apartments in this fascinating hotel, complete with 1930s furniture. Don’t expect five star luxury, but if you’re after a truly unique experience, this is the place for you.

Avenue Côte Vermeille
66290 CERBERE
Tél. +33 4 68 88 41 54
sinjeancharles@hotmail.fr