"A sleepy little town in the Cerdagne" Bourg-Madame by mikey_e

Bourg-Madame Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 17 photos

This is a bit more than a border post

The first time I was in Bourg-Madame was in the late 90's, 1996 I think, when my father and I were making our way north from Spain to Nice. At that time, the euro was a distant dream and every border crossing required a stop at the local exchange office to convert pesetas into francs and francs into marks. We stopped in Bourg-Madame to do just that, and it didn't really stick in my mind as a place to visit with any real tourist value. In fact, in the drive along the Avenue Porte de France, the duty-free shops and cheap liquor stores were pretty much the only prominent businesses, and we tried to make sure that our stop in the town was not nearly as long as it had been in Puigcerdà. After all, this was just the first stop on the trip to Prades, with its summer university in Catalan and its music festival, and eventually Perpignan.

A second visit

The next time around, I came to Bourg-Madame on my own, as part of a short day trip from Barcelona. I had made my way up to Puigcerdà during a long weekend during the early winter and decided that I wanted to enjoy the pretty landscape and the snow by going on a bit of a hike through the valleys north of Puigcerdà. I ended up taking the Yellow Train (a tourist train) from Latour de Quérol to Bourg-Madame, where I decided to spend about an hour doing some shopping. This time around, the town's cheap boutiques were in fact a draw, as I was able to buy French products much cheaper than in Spain, and I ended up hiking back to Puigcerdà with a bag full of goods for gifts and my apartment. I also had a digital camera and made a point of taking a few pictures of what seemed like the sparse sites of attraction.

Finally, a little interest in the town itself

My latest trip to the town, however, I needed neither cheap groceries nor a lift back to Puigcerdà. I was spending two nights in Puigcerdà, which provided ample time for exploring all of the surrounding area. What's more, it was summer, and there wasn't the incentive of short days or cold temperatures to hurry back to the town, its restaurants and the train. I did stop in at Carrefour, but just to buy a couple of things, before I set off to discover what the town actually had to offer. I learned that the Catalan name for the town is Guingueta-d'Ix and that, like many other small town throughout the Pyrenées, it was once much more important as a waystation along the route into Spain. What's more, the small square and church were in fact quite old, and the town did have some historic interest beside its cheap goods.

  • Last visit to Bourg-Madame: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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