"Prickly things by the sea" Top 5 Page for this destination Argelès-sur-Mer by JohnnySpangles

Argelès-sur-Mer Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 62 photos

If you research Argeles-sur-Mer on the internet, before you go, you’ll find that it describes a place with a varied and turbulent history. Being a town so close to the Spanish border, it has always been seen as the prize in a good old scrap between the Spanish and the French. That’s why you’ll see many crumbling hill forts and castles clinging to the mountainsides all around this area, just waiting for another war to start. Even as late as 1939, Argeles-sur Mer felt the side-effect of major hoo-hah over the border when a concentration camp was established near the beach to accommodate refugees from the Spanish Civil war.

However you’ll find none of this varied and turbulent history when you get to Argeles-sur-Mer these days, because it has all been buried under fifty-eight modern-day concentration camps i.e. holiday campsites.

Likewise you’ll not find any deserted sandy beaches, as displayed on the official Argeles-sur-Mer tourist website. These too have been smothered under the towels of fifty-eight million holiday makers who have all driven from the fifty-eight campsites. You’ve got more chance of finding a vacant piece of sand at the North Pole.

On the plus side you are going to be well-served for food, if you like pizza and kebabs. Once upon a time I used to go to France for the food. These days I can probably do just as well by camping out on a shopping parade on an English council-estate. Unfortunately, Argeles-sur-Mer is not unique in the culinary degradation of France.

I blame the serpentine fast food franchises that have spread their poison, not poisson, far and wide in what was once an eater’s Eden. They appear to have zealously set themselves the evangelical mission to get all our varied nations of the world eating exactly the same sugary food, whilst squeezed into the same plastic furniture, the world over. Presumably, when all the peoples of the world do finally succumb to eating nothing but their homogenous box-based foodstuffs, we can do away completely with the inconvenience of chefs, local cuisine and knifes and forks.

Thirty years ago the French wouldn’t have given them house-room, now they flock to them and the fast food franchises are as busy as an Argeles-sur-Mer beach.

I’m not saying Argeles sur Mer is all bad, but it just doesn’t have the class of a Brittany or Normandy. It doesn’t do itself any favours in its own marketing either. The motto on the crest of the town translates as ‘gather thistles, expect prickles’ or ‘who rubs there, pricks himself there’.Quite where ‘there’ is, isn’t specified. Such a slogan hardly paints a picture of fun and relaxation, unless ending up with a nasty little rash is seen as a positive outcome to what you get up to on holiday.

At the end of the day, which can’t come quick enough, it is a ‘Med’ resort and if you are used to ‘Med’ resorts then most of what Argeles sur Mer is about will come as no surprise i.e. fights over sun-loungers, sun-burn, traffic jams, crap food, crowded beaches, stubbed toes in the swimming pool and replica footy shirts worn by men who would have to shed ninety-percent of their bodyweight to play in the Salford Gas-Fitters Sunday League, never mind being invited to turn out at Stamford Bridge.

On the plus side Argeles-sur-Mer is close to Perpignan, where they have a Rugby League side that was playing my team, which is why I dragged my family on an arduous two-day drive all the way to the South of France. A fact that was not well-received when it was revealed on day three of our holiday, hence why I was left on my own down there from day four onwards.

  • Last visit to Argelès-sur-Mer: Aug 2010
  • Intro Updated Feb 6, 2012
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JohnnySpangles

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