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A Catalan treasure

The town of Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda is a real Catalan treasure of a place. Situated in France, yet so close to Spain that you can smell the paella, the town seems to have cornered the very best of both countries. Blessed with superb Mediterranean weather, Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda delights everyone who visits, and many who visit decide to stay for good.

White walls, red roofs

Seen from the air, the town seems to sprawl randomly along the Tech Valley, overlooked by the mighty Mount Canigou. The houses are resplendent with their white walls reflecting the hot sunshine, and their red tiled roofs adding a bright splash of colour to the picture. The River Tech runs through the town, offering a place to cool down in the hot summer months. Meanwhile along the narrow cobbled streets, one discovers that there are a welcome selection of shops, restaurants and even a casino, and it is here that the Catalan connection becomes even more obvious. Of the goods on sale there is an overwhelming amount of Catalan products, ranging from traditional foodstuffs to pretty ribboned espadrille sandals, most of which are made right here in Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda.

Prawns with chocolate sauce, anyone?

The bars and restaurants in Amelié-les-Bains-Palalda offer a mixture of French, Spanish and Catalan cuisine, and you would be well advised to make the most of this choice as the food is nothing less than superb. Although Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda is not a coastal town it is only 30 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, so there is an excellent selection of fresh fish and seafood also on the menu. In true Catalan style you will find dishes which blend seafood with meats, and meats with fruits, and even prawns with chocolate sauce! (Go on, try it - it's delicious!)

Let's get physical

If you need to work off the effects of all that wonderful food, then there are endless opportunities to get involved in sporting activities in or close to the town. There is an equestrian centre for horse-riding, you can cycle, walk, rock climb, fish, swim, play tennis or golf, and if you feel a little stiff afterwards why not treat yourself to a thermal treatment in the town's hot springs, of which there are two? The sulphurous waters are said to be beneficial to health in many ways, especially in the treatment of rheumatism and lung disorders. Of course, relaxation and pampering packages are also on offer, for those so inclined.

Markets, festivals and wine-tasting

For those who like to live life at a more leisurely pace, there are lots of slightly less energetic things to do in Amelié-les-Bains-Palalda. The town holds a daily market, as well as many fetes and concerts, and then there are wine-tasting tours available for the wine lovers amongst you.

How to get there

It is easy to reach Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda by air from the UK, as the nearest airport is Perpignan which has flights from the UK with budget airline Ryanair. You could also fly into Carcassonne with Ryanair, or perhaps choose Girona, just over the Spanish border. Those who prefer the train can travel by TGV to Perpignan, and another option is to take the interesting ferry trip to Bilbao.

Property prices and availability in and around Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda

Property in Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda is not cheap, nor is it likely to become so as the area increases in popularity all the time. Transport links are excellent, and this has contributed to the price increases in recent years, but it is the sheer desirability of the place that keeps prices high. It should be noted that the town is a very popular holiday resort (although it retains its environmental awareness as a designated 'Green holiday station') which means that should you purchase property here it is likely to have a high rental potential. This allows you to offset the higher purchase price should you decide to rent the property out when you are not using it yourself.

your comments...

1. A visitor to the site, who kindly supplied the photo, has this to say (added 5/3/14)...

28 degrees today - 23rd February 2014, on our terrace at Villa Josephine , Amelie les Bains / Palalda. Photo is of River Tech with Palalda in background.

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Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda?

Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda is situated in the far south of France, in the very south of the Pyrénées-Orientales department right by the Spanish border.

Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda Property Map


Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map


Pyrénées-Orientales Guide

  Pyrénées-Orientales Map

Population: 3,500

Access: By air: Fly into Perpignan, Carcassonne or Girona. By rail: Take a TGV into Perpignan. By boat: Take the ferry to Bilbao.

Economy: The economy of Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda is based around the thermal tourism. Other influences include wine, fruit, traditionally crafted chocolates and other Catalan speciality foods, and the manufacture of Catalan espadrille shoes.

Interesting fact: The town was originally named Arles-les-Bains, but the name was changed to honour Queen Amelia, the wife of Louis Philippe. In the Catalan language Amélie is still referred to as "Els banys d'Arles".

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