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Carme Ruscalleda
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Owner and Grand Chef of Sant Pau restaurant
My Route du Bonheur, between the shores and mountains of Catalonia

My parents grew vegetables, raised pigs and also ran a grocery shop in Sant Pol del Mar. When I was a child, cow milk, wine from the surrounding vineyards, fresh vegetables and deli meats were sold there. That’s the world that really shaped me. My husband and I converted my parents’ traditional store into a delicatessen. Imagine this village of 2,000 inhabitants where you could find more than 50 cheeses and wines from the whole world. It was a privilege for me to grow up in such a beautiful village. On the Maresme coast, these houses are the gateway to the Costa Brava. Even today, I still marvel at this bit of Catalonia composed of rocks and inlets. I lie down on the beach’s sand and recall the games and freshness of childhood.

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a four-night stay from €949*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
First stage: 1 day, 1 night

Neri Hotel & Restaurant

Captivating Barcelona on your doorstep
Neri Hotel & Restaurant
The hotel is located on the Sant Felip Neri square, a magical and poetic space. The medieval church one can admire from the hotel terrace still has on its façade some traces of the fighting the city of Barcelona witnessed during the civil war. The complex has two former palaces, one of which was built in the 12th century. Its contemporary lines perfectly underscore the rich past of its sumptuous rooms. The restaurant’s menu is typically Catalane, combining flavours and pleasure. I really like these dishes that represent the city’s identity.

Close to the property...

Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona

This street offers the beauty of modernity. A wide avenue filled with the magnificent Mediterranean light. With its close to 20 classified buildings, it is a step towards the coast. The ramblas are like a living museum. The Picasso museum, barrio gótico, mercado de la Boquería, which is very close to the Teatro de Liceu can be discovered one after another. These wonders are to be contemplated slowly in order to comprehend all their contrasts. And, in the end, you get to discover the sea…

Boqueria market, Barcelona

You will find all you need here. The city’s most symbolic market, where meat was sold as far back as the 12th century. Several small restaurants sell food there. On their menu: Mediterranean specialities, assortments of fish, meat, vegetables at low prices. Traders are often the third or fourth generation to sell their products at the Boqueria. I like to come and admire their vegetable and fruit stalls. To me it’s like looking at an exhibition in a museum…

Picasso museum, Barcelona

This museum in my opinion is the heart of the barrio gótico. Among the 4, 000 pieces by the artist, there are many paintings from his youth produced between 1890 and 1917. The collection includes paintings, ceramics and marvellous etchings and lithographs. When you get to the museum, before going up the stairs, you can stop for tea, café con leche in the beautiful open patio. The store has nice objects linked to the museum: posters, reproductions and magnificent silk scarves.

Picasso museum

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : RUSCALLEDA

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Stage 2: 1 day, 1 night

Carme Ruscalleda - Restaurant Sant Pau

Catalan tradition with a Japanese twist
Carme Ruscalleda - Restaurant Sant Pau
It was in 1988 that my husband Toni Balam and I opened this restaurant. The name’s origin derives from Sant Pau, a hermit who was a member of a congregation of French monks. From the outset, we wanted to offer products and ingredients grown in Catalonia. Our simple wish was to create an emotion around each food. Even today, we continue to get our supplies from the same vegetable producers as in the days of my parents. We have forged very close ties with these farmers, who are always our partner in our business. Over time - and with the opening of a second restaurant in Japan, we have included some Japanese notes in our Catalan cuisine…

On the route...

Montseny natural park

I like to take a walk in the park - especially in autumn. Near San Pol de Mar, it takes about forty-five minutes along a beautiful path to get to the summit. You get first to the Mount Negra, like an outpost of Montseny. I’m attracted to the site by its tranquillity and natural beauty. It’s a very special protected area: only a limited number of vehicles can get there on Sunday. It is thus possible to control access to the site and thus allow each person to enjoy this marvel.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : RUSCALLEDA

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Stage 3 : 1 day, 1 night

Mas de Torrent Hotel & Spa

Happiness must be this
Mas de Torrent Hotel & Spa
The Empordà region is home to many masias, which are vast agricultural and wine production centres. Mas de Torrent is situated at the location of an elegant masia dating back to the 18th century, which was once very important. Its architecture is typical of the region. There are many reasons for my liking this place: the peace and beauty of the site, the reception, the serenity of the Spa, and the Mediterranean and marine cuisine. A unique trip to the heart of Empordà…

Close to the property...

Aiguablava beach

Located south of Fornells, the small Aiguablava beach is one of my favourites. In this rock and pine landscape, the beach is squeezed into a small creek. A veritable postcard setting with its fine sand against which crystal clear water laps A few steps from there, the Empuries ruins have thousand-year-old Greek and Roman vestiges. A very amazing site...

On the route...

In the footsteps of Dali and Josep Pla

The locality of Torrent is part of Empordà, a historical region of Catalonia that is divided into two: an upper part and a lower part. Above, there are mountains exposed to the wind; below there are low plains that have inspired surrealists, such as Dali. It is said that the landscape has both a male and female part. Of course, a trip to the Dali museum in Figueras is a must. The inhabitants of this region of Empordà are famous for their creative and artistic character. There is also a very famous writer of the past century, whose heritage is closely linked to this province (comarca), its gastronomy and its landscapes. We are referring to Josep Pla, who provided a unique testimony on the history of the local gastronomy and on the social character of inhabitants. He wrote: La cocina es el paisaje puesto en la cazuela (cuisine is the landscape that you put in the saucepan). How very true!

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : RUSCALLEDA

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Stage 4 : 1 day, 1 night

Torre del Remei

Love at first sight in Cerdanya
Torre del Remei
This art deco-style Catalan palace is a romantic sight. A child that wants to draw a palace would not go about it differently! In 1910, when the manor house was completed, about ten women lived alone there. After being used as a school, then a hospital, the building had been abandoned when Josep Maria and Loles Boix discovered it in 1988 before converting it into a hotel. This is now an extraordinary establishment at the heart of Cerdagne where excellent food can be had. Like Pla said, here you can find the landscape in the saucepan.

On the route...

Cadí-Moixeró natural park

These outstanding mountain landscapes constitute one of the great natural parks in Catalonia. When I look at this superb Pedraforca Mountain, I get the feeling its top has been cut off with a knife! If Pedraforca does not have one, but two summits, it is above all a space that is very popular with mountain climbers and one of the most beautiful trekking sites in the entire Catalonia.

Shopping in Andorra

I had the feeling that Andorra was a huge shopping centre. At the heart of the Pyrenees, near snow-covered paths, every thing one can imagine is sold and bought. I came here with my parents as a child. We did a lot of shopping; we bought French cheeses, camembert and roquefort. At the time you could only find these cheeses in Barcelona in specialised stores. We took our treasures home and enjoyed ourselves…

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : RUSCALLEDA

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Stage 5 : 1 day, 1 night

El Castell de Ciutat

Savour the rhythm of the seasons in the heart of the Pyrenees
El Castell de Ciutat
It’s a former fortress perched on a hill, at the heart of the natural site. The establishment is owned by the Tapies who set for themselves the ambition of preserving this unbelievable heritage. The level of comfort and care is astonishing. There is a Spa allowing you to heal body and mind. From the glassed-in dining room, you can admire the Cadi-Moixero Mountain that rises in its coat of stones, facing the valley. The place’s beauty penetrates through all the pores of the skin.

Close to the property...

Seu d’Urgell diocesan museum

Adjoining the cathedral is the Seu d’Urgell diocesan museum that is really worth visiting. The town of Urgell and the counts of Urgell had considerable influence on the inhabitants of the entire region. The museum now houses a superb collection of artworks and paintings from the Romanesque period. Stones always have a story to tell...

Seu d’Urgell diocesan museum

Río Segre

In 1992, some events of the Barcelona Olympic Games were staged on the río Segre. Since then, the river was developed for visitors and has become a public space. While Barcelona was opened to the sea thanks to the Olympics, Seu opened to río Segre. Today it is a great site for picnics or walks. Adventure-sports like rafting can be practised there I just like to watch the river flow by...

Aigüestortes national park

You must follow the road from Barcelona and climb towards Cerdagne and the Cadí-Moixeró Park. The great mountains of the Pyrenees fill me with positive energy; they give me a lot of strength. We are at an altitude of more than 1,000 m, facing summits more than 3,000 metres high. What can be more beautiful than a trip to Lake Saint-Maurice while admiring mountain tops?

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : RUSCALLEDA

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard