Argeles-sur-mer is where the Pyrenees plunge into the sea, creating a small paradise of beaches meeting mountains. The sun shines often, highlighting the stunning scenery and the beaches are awarded the European Blue Flag for cleanliness every year. As a result, it has become an extremely desirable property hotspot.
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Situated on the Mediterranean coast, close to the border of Spain (the Costa Brava), Argeles is 20mins south of Perpignan airport and 1h from Girona airport (low cost airlines).
Throughout history, Argeles has been closely linked to political and military events between France and Spain. One remaining example of this is the 13 th century Massane signal station which was built by the King of Majorca in 1276, along with other towers along the mountain crestline, to protect against any attacks.
A rural village for years, quietly living on agriculture and craft industry and passing between France and Spain, Argeles eventually began to prosper in the latter half of the 20 th century, where it first served as a base camp for refugees fleeing the Civil War and Franco’s military regime in 1939, then went on to welcome tourists.
In 1950, Argeles had its first campsite and by 2002, it boasted 25,000 inhabitants and had upgraded its status to a town of both tradition and modernity that effectively comprises both French and Spanish culture.
The Museum, ‘Casa de les Alberes,’ is a perfect place of insight into the Catalan heritage that the natives of Argeles are extremely proud of. It is housed in the first water tower of the village and explains popular traditions, including the art of making nettle-tree sticks and espadrilles.
Spanish hours are the norm in this town, where shops close in the afternoon for siestas. And festivals are celebrated to the full; most famous ones being the ‘jeux d’esprit’ in September and the ‘Cinemaginaire’ film festival in May and June.
Argeles and its neighbouring delights along the Cote Vermeille remain largely undiscovered. The attractive village of Collioure, for example, is ideal for art lovers. Matisse was inspired by the views this village has to offer and his resulting work encouraged the Fauvism art movement, quickly admired by other artists (including Picasso), who flocked to the town that had caused such inspiration. The Hotel-Restaurant, where they all stayed, is now an art museum.
Natural sites include the Park of Valmy, which has a beautiful fairy-tale castle, waterfalls, fountains, children’s playgrounds and domestic animals of the Catalan country (donkeys, goats, sheep), and the Nature Reserve of Mas Larrieu, which has a wide variety of landscapes (reed beds, meadows, dunes and rivers) and birds (grey herons, common black-headed gulls, European bee-eaters and gulls). Such is the variety of landscape throughout in fact, that virtually all sports are possible (rock climbing, canyoning, paragliding, horse-riding, scuba diving, boat rides, skiing).
The Notre-Dame-dels-Prats cathedral is another must-see, dating back to the 14 th and 17 th centuries. And in the summer, visitors can witness the Tour de France crossing the Pyrenees.
The region where Argeles is situated (Languedoc-Rousillon) is the largest wine producing area in the world. Many of the local vineyard owners produce their own wines, and operate ‘Directe Ventes,’ where visitors can taste the wines and take home a few bottles of their favourites.
Banyuls-sur-Mer in particular has a large number of wineries for touring and tasting. Its local aperetif is called ‘Banylus,’ which is a fortified wine similar to Port. Other local specialities include ‘Riversaltes,’ ‘Muscat de Riversaltes’ and ‘Maury,’ all exquisitely sweet wines and ‘Byrrh,’ a wine-based aperitif infused with ten different spices to ensure a unique flavour.
In September and October, visitors can also observe the ‘vendage’ frenzy that overtakes the locals, to ensure that all grapes are picked on time and in November they can taste the first pressing of the season.
The proximity of the sea ensures that fish is one fine speciality in Argeles. Daily fish auctions held in the harbour of Port-Vendres, Languedoc’s busiest fishing port, are very popular, and of course there are numerous restaurants along the beaches, enticing customers with their delicious recipes influenced by the Mediterranean, for example: ‘boles de picolat’ (meatballs), ‘cargolada’ (snails grilled on a fire of vine cuttings) and ‘mel i mato’ (goat curdled milk served with honey).
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Argeles sur Mer . All of our agents in Languedoc-Roussillon are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: flat, gite, B&B, villa, castle or mansion, we will do our best to find a property in Argeles matching your requirements.