First to greet you at this rambling, honey-coloured 17th century farmhouse are the sounds of birdsong and rushing water, then the head-spinning scent of orange or cherry blossom from the lovely redolent garden. Many bedrooms, larger in the main house, are reached by unexpected ups and downs; all have shower-in-bath systems. There are some fine antiques, a few terraces, and woods and mountains beyond. The largest room has magnificent views of the Canigou mountain, the spiritual home of the Catalan nation; cheaper rooms are quite small, but those in La Bergerie do have their own private gardens. Breakfast is delicious and copious – there’s charcuterie, yogurts, freshly squeezed juices, hot chocolate, Christian’s homemade cherry or Mirabelle jam, pastries and breads (gluten free too), eggs and local cheeses – served either on the terrace when it’s warm, or in the dining room on chilly days. Head down to the river for wild swimming at the foot of the garden (if you’re lucky you might spot otters). You’re on the edge of Reynès, and bigger Céret with its excellent modern art collection, is a 5-minute drive. This unique area has much to discover: abbeys, history, museums and the coast are all near.