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Saint Paul de Fenouillet - gorgeous amid the gorges

St Paul de Fenouillet is a lovely little town that is located in the foothills of the Pyrénéan Mountains in the south of France. Attractive and lively, the town is unspoiled in appearance, with many old streets and buildings creating a delightfully authentic ambience. The real glory of St Paul, however, is its superb setting amid the awe inspiring gorges of the immediate area, which have made it not only a natural beauty spot, but also a popular base for adventure sports.

Church and chapter

If you wander upwards through the twisting, narrow streets of the town you will find yourself looking at one of the most historic parts of St Paul, the lovely 14th century Church of St Peter and St Paul. The church has an interesting bell tower, unusual in this land of bell walls, and a carefully preserved 17th century altar piece. The chapter, with its hexagonal pinnacle is also worth viewing, and if you make the effort to climb to the top you can enjoy unrivalled views over the Gorges de Galamus and the lovely vineyards that crown the valley.

Hermitage

Other places you might choose to visit include the museum, which is found within the chapter, and the amazing old Hermitage just outside the town, which clings precariously to the walls of the canyon of the Gorges of Galamus. If you take the rocky steps to the Hermitage you can look out over the drop to the waters below, wonder at the splendid isolation in which the occupants must have lived, and ring the bell which sounds eerily out across the gorges.

Saint Paul de Fenouillet is a lively town

St Paul de Fenouillet is historic and unspoiled, but it has a lively community life and is well equipped with all the usual amenities. Here you will find schools, doctors, shops, restaurants and a lovely big swimming pool for the summer months. There is quite a buzz about the place in the heart of summer when tourists arrive to explore this ancient corner of France and to try their hand at the local sports of canyoning and caving. The town hosts several cultural events throughout the year, among them fairs, festivals, markets and religious events.

Sports and leisure

If you want to feel an adrenaline rush then there is no better place to be than around St Paul de Fenouillet. The entire area is a natural adventure playground, and sports such as canyoning, white water rafting, caving and rock climbing are all on the doorstep. The countryside is perfect for walking, and the very energetic can enjoy cycling too... though there are a few hills around! Ski resorts are nearby, so there is plenty to do in any season, but if you want to head for something a little warmer you will find the blue waters of the Mediterranean and a selection of water sports only a short drive away.

Out and about

The scenery around here is spectacular, of that there can be no doubt. The gorges seen from above are dizzying in height and steepness, and in the spring time the clean mountain melt waters rush below, sparkling in the sun. Just sightseeing here is enough for many, but there are also a good number of interesting places within easy reach.

Plateau de Sault

The Plateau de Sault is nearby, and provides a beautiful breath of mountain air and scenery as the terrifyingly steep and twisty mountain roads open out into a scene of pastoral tranquillity. Up here there are a few villages with good restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine, although you may find the local dialect a little difficult to understand if you are used to only Parisian French.

How to get there

Carcassonne and Perpignan airports are both useful for those wishing to reach St Paul de Fenouillet from the UK. Carcassonne is served by Ryanair, while Perpignan is served by Ryanair, bmibaby and flybe. Both Perpignan and Carcassonne also have train stations and TGV stops. You will need car though as many places are a good deal away from other forms of transport. The town lies along the D117, the nearest auto route being the A9.

Property prices and availability in and around Saint Paul de Fenouillet

Property around the town is much more reasonably priced than that nearer to the coast or the major towns in the department, and the area is excellent for anyone looking for a home or holiday home in spectacular surroundings.

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Saint Paul de Fenouillet AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Saint Paul de Fenouillet?

Saint Paul de Fenouillet is set in the south of France, in the foothills of the Pyrénéan Mountains.

Saint Paul de Fenouillet Property Map

IN THE REGION OF LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON

Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF PYRÉNÉES-ORIENTALES

Pyrénées-Orientales Guide

  Pyrénées-Orientales Map


Population: 1,858


Access: By air: Fly to Perpignan or Carcassonne. By road: St Paul can be found along the D117, the nearest major road being the A9.


Economy: The economy is mixed, with agriculture (viticulture) of greatest significance.


Interesting fact: Saint Paul de Fenouillet is a great centre for adventure sports, due to its dramatic gorges and natural caves.

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