MARSEILLAN RECOMMENDED BY THE TIMES
Q We had a very successful holiday with three generations of my family (eight people in all) on the northern Costa Brava in L’Escala, which has an excellent pedestrian promenade and town beach, with shops and restaurants within walking distance in town. We stayed in apartments on the seafront. Is there a different coastal destination that would work as well for my family in early September? We would consider going by train, rather than flying. Rachel Underwood, via email
A About an hour from L’Escala, over the border in France, is postcard-perfect Collioure, the little Catalan port with five beaches, a medieval château and winding pedestrianised lanes lined with artists’ studios — a legacy of its time as a meeting place for Fauvist artists such as Derain and Matisse. You could stay in Le Dépôt d’Anchois (sawdays.co.uk), an old anchovy factory that has been turned into three colourful seaside apartments, each with its own flower-filled terrace.
The nearest beach is five minutes away, the Matisse trail is near by and there are plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance. A week in early September would cost £850 for an apartment sleeping four. You could take the Eurostar from London to Paris or Lille, then on by TGV to Perpignan, where you could hire a car or take a 25-minute journey by SNCF to Collioure.
Alternatively, head farther along the coast to the pretty harbourside town of Marseillan, on the Étang de Thau (famous for its mussels and oysters), where the Canal du Midi joins the Med. Homeaway (homeaway.co.uk) has a house in the centre that sleeps eight, has a roof terrace and costs £965.73 for the first week in September. Take the Eurostar to Paris or Lille, then the TGV to Montpellier and finally a local train to Marseillan Plage or Agde, which is a ten-minute drive from Marseillan.