FEW FACTS ABOUT BANYULS SUR MER.

Banyuls-sur-Mer Travel Blog

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panorama during the vineyards tour,Bear Cape in the background

 

                                                     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 Pyrénées-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 Albères 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 Cerbère.

View from our terrace at dusk

                                                     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.

traditional fishing boats called barques catalanes,the third one named La LLevantina was destroyed by the 26th December 2008 storm.
..Nowadays its inhabitants,less than 5000 live from tourism and above all of VITICULTURE.Banyuls is famous for its eponymous wine appelation,a red natural sweet wine drink as aperitif or dessert wine (less  frequently with pungent cheese as I do) and also the Collioure wine appelation (according to the French legislation,the Collioure wine is produced on the four communes of the Vermillon coast:Cerbère,Banyuls sur mer,Collioure and Port-Vendres).

                                                      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.

a "nice" pic of the ugly archways!there are only 3 "warts" there,the archways, "huge" buildings called Les Roches Blanches and the bay shared in 2 parts by a new islet!
As Banyuls is located in the French part of Catalonia,it shares with its Spanish neighbours many traditions and custom,cuisine with traditional dishes,the National yellow and red flag (bandera),dance (sardane),music(coblas) and the language.The Catalan language,close to Occitan spoken in France is used by all the old people of Banyuls,the Banyulencs.

THINGS TO DO THINGS TO SEE:

  1. 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.
    The Roman church,La Rectorie
    I dived few years ago with the reliable REDERIS PLONGEE www.rederis.com and did more than 10 dives in the Marine Reserve.
  2. Enjoy the UNDERWATER TRAIL(sentier sous-marin),few km away to the south (see review below in Cerbère entry)
  3. SEA KAYAKING and SAILING
  4. HORSE RIDING with Gwenole Roland and the horses of the Coume Pascale 33(0) 688377003
  5. 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.
    the white buildings of the oceanographic Laboratory and Aquarium and the harbour,Danielle's nest is just above the harbour.
    obs-banyuls.fr
  6. 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 Gérard Mélines,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.
    lane in Osna Cape,the white Arago Laboratory and Aquarium in the background
    Hiking inland ,one may reach,after a four km trip, MAILLOL'S COUNTRY HOUSE and TOMB and further the BANYULS'PASS,357 m altitude which is the border with Spain used by many refugees from the Spanish Civil War and from Nazism.
    www.tourismedeterroir.fr

 

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.

Osna cape tour

                                                 

                                               -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 Sébastien 10 avenue du Fontaulé,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.

Notre Dame de la Salette
....

  

azsalsa says:
Beautiful pics, Bernard! Congrats on your feature!
Posted on: Jul 24, 2009
travelfan1963 says:
Congratulations on your feature!
Posted on: Jul 24, 2009
fransglobal says:
Super. J'etais a Banyuls en 1983. Ca fait trop longtemps! Merci.
Posted on: Jul 24, 2009
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panorama during the vineyards tour…
panorama during the vineyards tou…
View from our terrace at dusk
View from our terrace at dusk
traditional fishing boats called b…
traditional fishing boats called …
a nice pic of the ugly archways!…
a "nice" pic of the ugly archways…
The Roman church,La Rectorie
The Roman church,La Rectorie
the white buildings of the oceanog…
the white buildings of the oceano…
lane in Osna Cape,the white Arago …
lane in Osna Cape,the white Arago…
Osna cape tour
Osna cape tour
Notre Dame de la Salette
Notre Dame de la Salette
Danielles beach with vineyards f…
Danielle's beach with vineyards "…
flowery house in Osna Cape
flowery house in Osna Cape
the stony central beach
the stony central beach
the small harbour from Danielles …
the small harbour from Danielle's…
view from the south
view from the south
the central beach,view from the no…
the central beach,view from the n…
harbour and Bear cape
harbour and Bear cape
Banyuls at dusk
Banyuls at dusk
the harbour
the harbour
view during the vineyard tour
view during the vineyard tour
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harbour
harbour
harbour and oceanographic Observat…
harbour and oceanographic Observa…
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the ugly archways and the main bea…
the ugly archways and the main be…
the main beach
the main beach
view from Hotel Catalans terrace
view from Hotel Catalan's terrace
Banuyls at dusk
Banuyls at dusk
Banyuls at dusk
Banyuls at dusk
view from our terrace
view from our terrace
the harbour viewed from the main j…
the harbour viewed from the main …
the Côte Vermeille,Vermillon coas…
the Côte Vermeille,Vermillon coa…
view from the War Memorial,close t…
view from the War Memorial,close …
view from the south
view from the south
a traditional fishing boat in fron…
a traditional fishing boat in fro…
traditional fishing boat
traditional fishing boat
the Marine Reserve begins at the l…
the Marine Reserve begins at the …
the harbour
the harbour
view from the north,the oceanograp…
view from the north,the oceanogra…
view from the north
view from the north
vineyard tour
vineyard tour
the harbour
the harbour
the rock in the middle is sometime…
the rock in the middle is sometim…
the sphynx in the middle!
the sphynx in the middle!
vineyards near the sea
vineyards near the sea
vineyards close to the sea
vineyards close to the sea
the 2 northern beaches,les Elmes o…
the 2 northern beaches,les Elmes …
the sphynx
the "sphynx"
our fav beach
our fav beach
vineyard tour
vineyard tour
Typical lane of Osna Cape
Typical lane of Osna Cape
lemon tree
lemon tree
Sardane dance
Sardane dance
Les Elmes hotel and La Littorine r…
Les Elmes hotel and La Littorine …
rates of Les Elmes
rates of Les Elmes
La Littorines menu
La Littorine's menu
La Littorines menu
La Littorine's menu
Le Petit Train Touristique going t…
Le Petit Train Touristique going …
Maillol sculpture,L île de France…
Maillol sculpture,L île de Franc…
in front of the Town Hall
in front of the Town Hall
Le Petit Train Touristique and the…
Le Petit Train Touristique and th…
Path GR 10 joining Atlantic ocean …
Path GR 10 joining Atlantic ocean…
hope you dont one!
hope you don't one!
this defibrillator is located outs…
this defibrillator is located out…
War Memorial by Maillol,a bronze r…
War Memorial by Maillol,a bronze …
closer
closer
a reliable winemaker
a reliable winemaker
Banyuls sur mer one century ago wi…
Banyuls sur mer one century ago w…
Osna Cape and barques catalanes
Osna Cape and barques catalanes
Osna cape tour
Osna cape tour
in the main street
in the main street
from the main street,looking north…
from the main street,looking nort…
a tourist in the main street
a tourist in the main street
in Osna cape area
in Osna cape area
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Osna cape area
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Osna cape area
Osna cape area
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Osna Cape area
Osna Cape area
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Osna Cape area
Osna Cape area
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osna cape area
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close up
Osna cape area
Osna cape area
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close up
close up
close up
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Osna Cape area
Osna Cape area
in Osna Cape area
in Osna Cape area
mind the blue ceramic water pipes!
mind the blue ceramic water pipes!
osna cape area
osna cape area
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in the main street
in the main street
Banyuls-sur-Mer Sights & Attractions review
The oldest French Mediterranean aquarium
Located in an exceptional setting,facing the sea and less than 100 meters far from the Banyuls-Cerbère Marine Reserve,this aquarium,the oldest in Med… read entire review
Banyuls-sur-Mer Sights & Attractions review
A Roman church of the 11th century
This Roman church,built in the 11th and 12th centuries,former parish of Banyuls is named after Jean Banyoles,a former priest who was in 1502 elevated … read entire review
Banyuls-sur-Mer Sights & Attractions review
Maillol,a child of the soil,master of female nudes.
Aristide Maillol,born in Banyuls sur mer in 1861 was first a painter and then a sculptor who was only recognized in his forties when he came bac… read entire review
Banyuls-sur-Mer
photo by: bernard69