THE ALBÈRES, a natural barrier between France and Spain culminate at an altitude of 1256 m (4120 feet) with the Néoulous. Peak. This strategic area became more peaceful after the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. The picturesque villages, the green landscapes, the forests and steep mountainsides all contribute to the charm of this region.
Palau-del-Vidre - Tourisme culturel à la rencontre des Verriers
An important site for the craft of glass-blowing in this Catalan region, writings from as early as the 13th century noted this village’s development of glass manufacture. By the 15th century, glass production was booming... which is how Palau Del Vidre (Palace of Glass) got its name. Ever since 1994, an annual festival has been held to display the work and art of a number of glassmakers.
LOOK AT the unusual architecture of the Saint Marie church with its reredoses.
RELAX at the Sant Marti lake.
Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines - Visite d’un monument dédié à l’art roman
Located between the sea and the mountains, the village is ideally situated for outdoor activities, and also possesses a very interesting historical and cultural heritage. Saint Michel’s church, consecrated in 1153, was built on the ruins of an 8th century Benedictine Abbey. It is renowned for the marble lintel over the doorway, long acknowledged as the oldest piece of Romanesque sculpture in existence, dating from 1020. The 13th century cloister is distinguished by its late Romanesque style and the use of colours with black, white and pink marble; and of course its history. Between 1922 and 1924 a large part of the cloister was dismantled. Twenty years later, in 1944, the original stones and pillars were located and restoration began.
VISIT the Cultural Gallery in the cloister’s upper ambulatory.
Sorède - Séjours et tourisme au cœur des Albères
This village can boast a rich natural, green environment mainly from the production of hackberry wood. Sorède is an ideal departure for walks through the Vallée de Lavail (Lavail Valley) and the Vallée Heureuse (Happy Valley). Guided visits are organised to explore the heritage in and around the village. This includes the 17th century Notre Dame Du Chateau hermitage, the ruins of the 7th-17th century Ultrera Castle, the 18th century church dedicated to Saint Assiscle and Saint Victoire and the site of the world’s first solar oven, built in 1900.
Saint-André - Visite au cœur de l’art roman en Catalogne
The 9th-12th century abbey church demonstrates the influence the village possessed during the Middle Ages. The architecture is mainly original with a well-preserved white marble lintel, confirming the importance of Saint André (Saint Andrew) to Romanesque Art in this Catalan region.
VISIT the Maison de l’Art Roman (House of Romanesque Art), as well as the Ferme de Découverte (farm-yard animal park) and the glass-blowing workshops.