or Pétanque, how it’s called here, is played on sandy grounds in any village or town surrounding us. A popular spot in St-Paul-de-Fenouillet to throw their boules are the sandy grounds in front of the railway station.
Rental boats: Sud Rafting, Pont d’Aliés, Axat, T. 04 68 20 53 73, www.sudrafting.fr
Gorges de Galamus: Pyrenees Outdoor, Place Rectoria, 66320 Espira-de-Conflent, T. 06 19 36 16 47, www.aventure-active.com; SabléO, 5, avenue Gaston Vila, Tautavel, T. 06 79 95 78 44, http://sableo.com
Canyon du Llech, Gorges de Galamus, Canyon du Cady, Canyon Thermal de Thuès-les-Bain: Jérôme Durbret, Exploration Pyrénéenne, 73, rue Saint-Jean. Villefranche-de-Conflent, T. 06 22 45 82 02, http://ex-pyr.com
Canyon du Céret, Canyon du Llech, Canyon du Cady, Canyon Thermal de Thuès-les-Bain: Extérieur Nature, Routes d’Eus, Marquixanes, T. 04 68 05 72 12, www.exterieur-nature.com
Canyon du Taurinya, Gorges de Galamus, Canyon du Llech, Canyon de Termes, Canyon du Cady, Canyon du Céret, Canyon Thermal de Thuès-les-Bain: Oxygen’Aventure, 1 rue des Troënes, Trilla, Tel. 06 82 69 83 00, http://oxygen-aventure.com
Cascades de Baoussous, Gourg des Anelles, Gorges du Terme, Gorge du Maria Valenta, Gorges du Llech, Gorge du Saint Aniol d’Aguja, Gorges de Nuria: Inextremis Aventura, 1291 Avenue du Vallespir, 66400 Céret, T. 04 68 39 71 94, www.inextremis-aventura.fr
If you don’t feel like throwing a line from our small town’s bridges, the „Plan d’eau d’Agly“ with huge carp is a nearby hotspot for recreational fishing. Particularly at nights!
Gorges de l’Aude: Pyrenees Outdoor, Place Rectoria, 66320 Espira-de-Conflent, T. 06 19 36 16 47, www.aventure-active.com, T. 06 19 36 16 47; Extérieur Nature, Routes d’Eus, Marquixanes, T. 04 68 05 72 12, www.exterieur-nature.com, Embarquement Immédiat, Base Eau Vive, St-Martin-Lys, T. 06 87 37 24 74, http://embarquement-immediat.net
Since 2016, Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet, Maury and Latour-de-France have been admitted to France’s network of stations de trail. From April to December, you will find „Ateliers Trail“, „Coaching Premium“, Girl Trail Session and Nordic Walking Classes offered for little money. Check out the events at Saint-Paul on its Trail Facebook page.
Têt river: between Eus et Marquixanes: Extérieur Nature, Routes d’Eus, Marquixanes, T. 04 68 05 72 12, www.exterieur-nature.com
Leave the village and drive towards Lesquerde to reach the parking. Two rope climbing adventures will await you:
• La Panoramique: rather difficult, 3-4 hours
• La Pichona: easy climbing for families, kids, and beginners, 90 minutes
Once on the top, your efforts will be rewarded by breathtaking views across the town and the Agly river valley.
Guided climbing tours: Oxygen’Aventure, 1 rue des Troënes, Trilla, Tel. 06 82 69 83 00, http://oxygen-aventure.com
... with a mule: Location d’Ânes, Atuana Boumard, Prugnanes, T. 04 68 59 27 05, www.boulz-anes.fr
Twelve marked walks are listed in the guide “Drôles de Randonnées en Fenouillèdes”. Red and yellow is the signage of the 107 km long Tour du Fenouillèdes trail, red and white of the long-distance trail GR 36 that connect the English Channel with the Mediterranean Sea. Walking maps are available at the Office de Tourisme and the newsagent. Best are the IGN maps. If you don’t feel like walking by yourself, contact the Association Les Amis de la Marche en Fenouillèdes, 26 boulevard de l’Agly, T. 04 68 59 98 14, for information on their Sunday day walks. Each year, a hikers‘ festival, La Fête de la Randonnée en Agly-Fenouillèdes is celebrated in early May. In 2014, Maury is the host.
Rentals: If advised early, I will be able to provide you with bicycles for rent.
Mountain-biking club: Club VTT du Fenouillèdes, 4 Lotissement La Plaine, Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet, T. 04 68 51 86 53
20 signed routes for mountain-bikes (French: VTT) are listed in the brochure VTT66: 20 Randonnées VTT en Fenouillèdes, available at the tourist information. In my village, the Chapître is the starting point for a challenging 25 km round marked red past Prugnanes, through the Forêt Domaniale du Moyen-Agly and past the vineyards.
Skiing in Cerdagne
Cambre d’Aze (1640 m – 2400 m): With 35 km of slopes, the skiing area of the two mountain villages Eyne und Saint-Pierre-dels-Forcats that are dominated by the peak of Cambre d’Aze (2.750 m) is truly small, but offers a unique thrills: mountain skiing with views of the Mediterranean Sea! 18 t-bars and one chair lift will take you open up an area that is perfect for beginners, with 20 km of runs marked blue. 11 km are marked red, 4 km are runs for experts.
Font Romeu-Bolquère Pyrénées 2000 (1.712 – 2.213 m): With 3,000 hours of sunshine, Font-Romeu is the sunniest place in France. A winter sports destination since 1920, it today has teamed up with the traditional mountain village Bolquère in the modern, functional ski resorts of Superbolquère und Pyrénées 2000 to form the largest ski arena in the eastern Pyrenees. If you don’t want to travel by car, jump on the famous train jaune to get there. Located right in the regional nature park Pyrénées Catalanes, the Airelles-Gondel will take skiers up to 1.964 metres, and right into the heart of the fun, where a total of 22 lifts and 2 magic carpets for kids will provide access to 58 km of alpine slopes. 16 per cent are marked blue (easy), 51 per cent red (for advanced skiers) and 33 per cent black (experts). Additional winter fun is offered by the ice rink, the snow park, a toboggan run, and cross country options.
Porté-Puymorens (1600 – 2500 m)
Puigmal (1800 – 2700 m) closed in 2014
Skiing in Capcir
Espace Nordique du Capcir (1500 – 1900 m)
Formiguères (1500 – 2400 m)
Les Angles (1.650 – 2.325 m): Grouped around a typical Catalonian church steeple, Les Angles boasts slopes that enter right into the old village. One gondola for 16 people, four chair lifts, and 12 t-bar lifts take you to 40 slopes with a total length of 55 km. Nine are easy runs, 14 are medium runs, eight are truly challenging.
Puyvalador (1700 – 2400 m)
Ski resort info in English: Ski France, http://en.ski-france.com
Agly-Club ULM, route de Galamus, T. 04 68 59 08 81. Jean-Pierre Tisseyre and Yann Peron take you high up into the air in their ultra-light planes. In their école de pilotage, you’ll show you to fly them yourself!
• • •
Thermal Baths & Spas
Alét-les-Bains: The water of Alet-les-Bains, 50 km northwest of St-Paul-de-Fenouillet, is one of the oldest mineral waters sold in France. First bottled over 120 years ago, it is one of the largest sources in France. Even though Alet has sold the bottling rights, locals (and tourists) are still able to fill their bottles or containers from the communal water spout near the bottling plant. The „Piscine„, an outdoor swimming pool, is also filled with water from Alet’s natural source. The spa waters‘ healthy benefits when treating digestive disorders and metabolic problems such as obesity, diabetes, gastritis, and colitis were so known in by-gone days that even Charlemagne travelled to Alet for a cure.
Amélie-les-Bains: Some 20 sulphur springs have made Amélie les Bains in the Vallée du Tech, 85 km south of St-Paul-de-Fenouillet, a hydrotherapy resort since Roman times. Located on the southernmost slopes of the Canigou mountain at an altitude of 230 metres, „Les Thermes“ provide treatment for rheumatic and respiratory ailments. At numerous „Journées Découverte“, you’ll be able to discover all facilities of the spa and enjoy two treatments. Every afternoon, the Spa Thermal – a pool with thermal waters, hydrotherapy, and beauty institute built on Roman foundations – allows you to relax or train in the water. Info: Les Thermes, Place Arago, T. 08 25 82 66 66, www.thermes-amelie.com
Vernet-les-Bains: 60 km south of St-Paul-de-Fenouillet lies the sunny spa town of Vernet-les-Bains, where Nobel prize winner Rudyard Kipling sejourned in 1910, 1911 and 1914. In the „Espace Bien Être“, the day spa area of the thermal bath and cure complex, a „formule journée“ allows you to enjoy the sauna, hammam, jacuzzis, the 33° C warm pool, the thermal water showers, and to participate at water gymnastics, body zen, or aqua relax. Day Spa: Allée du Parc, T. 04 68 05 46 57, www.thermes-vernet.com
Hot open-air springs
Bains chaude de St-Thomas: The six springs contain probably the hottest sulphurous waters of the Têt Valley. It’s best to bathe in the three outside basins, where water emerges at 36°C in summer and 38°C in winter (Fontpédrouse, T. 04 68 97 03 13, www.bains-saint-thomas.fr).
Bains de Dorres: 13 km west of Font-Romeu in the Cerdagne, the open-air Roman granite baths allow you to laze in sulphurous water at a temperature of 42°C. (Dorres,T. 04 68 04 66 87, www.bains-de-dorres.com).
Bains de Llo: 15 km south of Font-Romeu, three open air basin with water at 35°C (Jacuzzi and swimming against the current) and one covered basin at 32°C offer perfect relaxation after a walk in the Gorges du Sègre (Llo, T. 04 68 04 74 55, http://lesbainsde.llo.free.fr).
… or simply jump into our clean lakes, rivers and creeks, and join the locals!
© Photos: Hilke Maunder, Wikipedia Commons