Canet-en-Rousillon was our first French destination, and an easy Uber ride from Perpignan. The town is small, and, honestly, strikes a resemblance to the tourist beach towns of Florida; but the water couldn't have been more beautiful and the people were warm and helpful.
Our Airbnb was a great setup--just a two minute walk to the beach, near the town center, and with the cutest boulangerie around the corner. (Shoot! I just tried to link our place, and it says the listing is no longer available!) We enjoyed the fresh markets, which run nearly every day, especially for local cheeses and olives. Wine flows like water in the south of France, so it's easy to pick up a bottle for less than five euros; but we especially enjoyed visiting the Chateau l'Esparrou.
Being in a tourist town, during the last week of season, had its perks and its drawbacks. For example, there were a lot of silly little things for the girls to do, like a trampoline village and a "touristic train ride". We rode the double-decker carousel right on the beach, so many times; and it was fun to peek in on all the carnival games. We also took a sailboat ride to the nearby town, Collioure, which was such a worthwhile splurge.
However, it made things like finding good restaurants a little trickier. Thankfully, we made some great friends and they took us to La Cantina, which was perfect for Italian; and also Frayettes, which had amazing burgers and fries, but is run by an incredibly tough woman named Benedict. So, if you don't speak French, be prepared to not understand the insults (maybe that's better?!), and you better go hungry, because it's a rule that you MUST finish your plate.
After running to and fro in Spain, I would say the best part about this stop in France was how quiet it was. It was easy to slow down, enjoy our own garden, visit the beach every day, and find a little bit of a rhythm. The girls began school when we arrived, and we needed that slower pace to get in the groove with that as well. I think, though we were ready to move on when it was time, I will always think of Canet fondly, the way it welcomed us into the whole adventure, really.