"Banyuls sur Mer" Banyuls-sur-Mer by ranger49

Banyuls-sur-Mer Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 36 photos

Almost in Spain

Banyuls-sur-Mer is the most southerly French seaside resort before the Spanish border and as a border town has seen several changes of nationhood in its long history.
It was not until 1659 that Banyuls and Rousillon became French when by the Treaty of the Pyrenees they passed from Aragon to France.

Views from the coast road between Collioure and Banyuls are spectacular.
The approach down into the lovely sweeping bay of Banyuls with the old town on the hill on your right gives you a clear view of the coast. But some of the best views are to be had from the top of the old town.

The sea front is rather taken over by restaurants, cafes (on both sides of the road) and gift shops, interspersed with attractive displays of flowers. The main public buildings are at the southerly end of the bay - the Mairie, La Poste, Library and Tourist Office.

We had some difficulty locating the statues of two famous sculptors - Aristide Maillol, who was born in the town in 1866 and died there in 1944 as a result of a road accident . He was a passenger in a car making a journey during a time when the Tramontane, the local strong wind was blowing, the car skidded causing the fatal accident.

Maillol is famous for his large statues of women - some of which can be seen in le Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.
Here you may see his reclining figure of a woman - La Jeune Fille Allongée -and the War Memorial in Place Diana Vierny.
Diana Vierny was his principal model and after his death devoted her life to keeping his memory and works alive.
The Spanish painter Manolo Valiente (1909 - 1991) came to live in Banyuls and some of his sculptures can also be seen.

I would imagine that in summer, specially in August, this will be a very crowded little resort but although there were a surprising number of people about for mid-April we had no problem finding a place for lunch!

Sea and vineyards all around.

Vineyards reach right down almost to the shore in some places around the town and wine production is an important part of the local economy. much of it seems aimed at the tourist markets with special packaging roadside and Degustation Tables.

At the time of the vendange a great festival is held in the town with all the streets taking part and ending with a mass community picnic/BBQ on the beach. I bet that would be fun!

Banyuls wine

The area is famous for its strong, sweet red wine. Often served as an aperitif or a dessert wine it is actually a fortified wine, more like a madeira .

You may be given a free aperitif in some restaurants and those I have had were not at all to my taste.
There are dozens of places where you can go for tastings - caves, retail shops, and the vineyards.
The best wines are very expensive and although I have tasted one or two of these it is not (fortunately!) a wine I would want to have more than maybe once a year.

  • Last visit to Banyuls-sur-Mer: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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