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Elne - a Catalan town of character

The town of Elne, situated in the deep south of France close to the Spanish border, is a town full of history and Catalan character. There is evidence to be found of its Roman antecedents as well as its mediaeval heritage, with a magnificent cathedral and ancient fortifications. The town's location, so close to the Spanish border, puts it firmly into Catalan territory, and this makes it quite unlike most French towns. The Catalans are fiercely proud of their culture, traditions and gastronomy, and if you wish to sample all of this for yourself, there are few places better than Elne to begin.

Close to the Med

Elne lies just four kilometres inland from the lovely Mediterranean coast, and this benefits the town in several ways. The warm blue seas and beautiful clean beaches are no more than a short walk away, making long summer days a joy to experience, and it also means that the freshest and best fish is always available in the restaurants and shops! Another important benefit is that property can be considerably cheaper here in Elne than down at the coast, despite the nearness of the town to the beaches.


There is a lot to see and do in Elne, whether you enjoy gazing on historic monuments and discovering more about the fascinating history of Catalan France, or your tastes are more concerned with shopping and dining. Elne is always happy to serve you. History buffs can enjoy the mediaeval ramparts, the Roman remains, the cathedral and the archaeological museums, while the gastronomes and the "shop 'til you drop" brigade can find some excellent shops and superb markets, many of which have special arts and crafts sections for added colour and interest. Wining and dining here is always a superb treat too, with several very good and lively restaurants serving Catalan specialities, fresh seafood and local wines.

Fêtes and festivals

The Catalans are known for their love of traditional celebrations and the people of Elne are no exception. There is always an excuse for a party in Elne. Throughout the year you will find something going on in the town, be it a grape festival or a celebration of Catalan dancing. The town's tourist office will keep you abreast of what is happening and when.

Out and about

Because of its location, Elne offers you the chance to explore not just the south-west of France, but also the north-east of Spain. You can access the popular Costa Brava very easily from Elne, and take a day out to explore the delightful city of Barcelona. On the other hand, you may like to climb high into the beautiful mountains of the Pyrénées. In the winter these offer some great skiing for those who love this exciting sport. Then there is the departmental capital of Perpignan, with its unquenchable passion for rugby. Other sports are available locally too, with swimming, tennis, horse-riding, rock climbing, walking, cycling and many beach and sea based sports such as scuba diving all to hand.

How to get there

Perpignan is the nearest airport, and there are flights from around the UK to here with Ryanair, bmibaby and flybe. Girona and Carcassonne are also near enough to be very useful and to supply more options. Both are served by Ryanair. The TGV runs to Perpignan from Paris, which makes train travel a great choice and also gives good access to Spain.

Property prices and availability in and around Elne

While the Pyrénées-Orientales is not generally a cheap department, property here is actually still a good buy in comparison with places such as Biarritz to the west and the Riviera to the east. Elne offers some good properties at prices that compare favourably with those just four kilometres away on the seafront, and it is certainly worth considering if you are looking to purchase property in department 66!

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Elne is situated very near the Mediterranean coast in the south of France, close to the Spanish border. It lies in the south-east of the Pyrénées-Orientales department.

Elne Property Map


Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map


Pyrénées-Orientales Guide

  Pyrénées-Orientales Map

Population: 6,410

Access: By air: Fly to Perpignan, Carcassonne or Girona. By rail: The TGV runs from Paris to Perpignan, and also from Perpignan to Barcelona, which makes getting to and from Elne really simple.

Economy: The economy is based around wine and agriculture.

Interesting fact: Elne used to be known as Illiberis, an Iberian name that still influences the name of the townsfolk, who are called Illibèriens.


Sextant France
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