FEW FACTS ABOUT BANYULS SUR MER.
Banyuls-sur-Mer Travel Blog› entry 1 of 11 › view all entries
Less famous and fashionable than its neighbour Collioure,crowded in summer and home of the painters Derain and Matisse in 1905,Banyuls -sur- mer sits on the south coast of the Mediterranean,35 km from Perpignan,10 km or so from the Spain border in the PyrÃ©nÃ©es-Orientales department .With mild winters and warm to hot sommers,seldom rains,cooled by coastal breezes,it has a pleasant bay sheltered from the severe tramontana wind ,offers a yearly average of more than 320 days of sunshine and can be visited all year round.
There, the foothills of the Pyrenees,the Monts AlbÃ¨res run into the sea ,creating a steep cliff line and a steep underwater descent, rich in marine life which one can appreciate in the Aquarium of Arago laboratory and the crystal water of the Marine reserve covering 650 hectares of sea between Banyuls and CerbÃ¨re.
The scenary looks like that of Greece with the steep slopes of the surrounding hills covered with vineyards with a network of more than 6000 km of dry stonewalls.It is an attractive and pinturesque village with quaint narrow streets(Osna cape).
It was a village of fishermen using traditional crafts named barques catalanes and during two centuries of smugglers ,smuggling to and from Spain salt,tobacco,leather,rice.
Situated in the ancient Roussillon province, administrated first by the King of Aragon,later by the Spanish kingdom,Banyuls is French only since 1659,with Treaty of Pyrenees.
THINGS TO DO THINGS TO SEE:
- SWIMMING AND DIVING:the main beach with gravel is not our fav,we prefer as the locals the northern beaches of les Elmes and of the Sanatorium,offering all during the summer permanent lifeguards.
- Enjoy the UNDERWATER TRAIL(sentier sous-marin),few km away to the south (see review below in CerbÃ¨re entry)
- SEA KAYAKING and SAILING
- HORSE RIDING with Gwenole Roland and the horses of the Coume Pascale 33(0) 688377003
- VISIT OF AQUARIUM ARAGO (see review below),housed in the Arago Laboratory ,a marine research station established in 1882 operated by the Cnrs and the University Pierre and Marie Curie of Paris,specializing in marine ecology and oceanography www.
- HIKING AND WALKING:follow the GR 10,the long-distance footpath following the Pyrenean mountain chain and connecting from Banyuls,the Mediterranean sea to the Atlantic ocean in Hendaye!or less tiring ,wander the Banyuls terraced vineyards,on a three hours tour with GÃ©rard MÃ©lines,le berger des mots and taste the Banyuls wines and croquants,the local biscuits,( 33(0)609854092).Or follow the little path to the white NOTRE DAME DE LA SALETTE CHAPEL,built in the middle of cork oaks and vineyards offering an amazing view on the town and the coast.The most courageous may hike to the TOUR DE MADELOC,a watch tower built in 1286 at 650 meters of altitude and offering stunning views on all the Vermillon coast,but you can drive there too!From the Bear Cape to the Spanish border,the SMUGGLERS' PATH(or customs officers),sometimes deteriorated and dangerous provides nice coastal views.
CULTURAL INHERITANCE:-MAILLOL'S MUSEUM and works:there are several bronze sculptures of this famous sculptor(and painter) all over the town(see review below)
-ROMAN CHURCH LA RECTORIE of 11th and 12th centuries(see review below)
-OSNA CAPE TOUR:a superb signposted tour in the typical flowery lanes of the old Banyuls above the archways
-VISIT OF THE CELLIER DES TEMPLIERS(TEMPLARS'CELLAR),a tourist friendly cooperative of 800 members producing two third of all banyuls wines offering a guided tour and commented wine tastings and sales,and GOURMET MEETINGS with chocolates and wines.
-VISIT OF THE VINEGAR DISTILLERY of La Guinelle(free admission and free tasting)
-GUIDED TOUR of a local CACTUS FARM of the Mas Ventous
RECOMMENDED CANTEENS: -the best but inconstant,La Littorine,Hotel les ELMES 0468880312
-Le Jardin de Saint SÃ©bastien 10 avenue du FontaulÃ©,close to the port 0699081313 and 0673093640
-WARNING,the chef and owner of Al Fanal quoted in all guides and our former fav are gone.