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Saint Laurent de la Salanque - a southern market town

St Laurent de la Salanque is a thriving and lively market town that is located in a gorgeous part of southern France, close to the Mediterranean Sea and amid the vineyards of Roussillon. With its twice weekly markets and colourful proliferation of shops, bars, restaurants and festivals, St Laurent is a perfect place to spend time, whether you are seeking a base for holidays or a permanent home in this sunny region of France.

Enviable location

If location is everything, then you can't do much better than the location of St Laurent de la Salanque. Set in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of Languedoc-Roussillon, St Laurent benefits from one of the best climates in the country, with sunshine for most days of the year and long, hot summers. Its location also allows access to the fabulous beaches and holiday resorts of the Med, buzzing with life in summer and tranquil and beautiful in winter. You also have access to the ski resorts of the Pyrénées in the winter, giving you the very best of each season.

Lively town life

St Laurent de la Salanque is quaint and traditional in its appearance, but has a really lively feel to it. Packed with shops, bars, restaurants and other amenities, there are also very good markets held on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the year. Frequent cultural events are held too, with concerts, art exhibitions (St Laurent is a base for a number of highly respected artists working in various mediums including photography, paint and iron) and theatre regularly taking place.

Wining and dining in Saint Laurent de la Salanque

The town's restaurants are especially good. With a powerful Catalan tradition evident in the gastronomy of the area, you will find delicious sardines and shellfish featuring strongly on the menus presented the Catalan way, redolent with garlic and spiced with the gentle heat of the "piment espelette". St Laurent is set in one of the most prolific wine producing regions in the country, so make the most of the opportunity to drink the wines in the land in which the vines were grown!

Festival of the Bear

St Laurent is always up for a celebration and will usually be on the lookout for an excuse to hold a party. One of its more unusual festivals is the Festival of the Bear, held in February each year. The thinking behind the festival is based on the tradition that once existed, when the young men of the town would attempt to capture a bear to prove their courage and virility. They chose to do this in February as the bears were just waking up from their long winter sleep, and therefore somewhat less fearsome than usual. The festival involves someone dressing in a bear costume, a ritual "hunt" taking place, and the captive being returned to town where he dances and is "killed". He then removes his mask and rises from the dead, and the music, feasting and dancing begin. This colourful spectacle is tremendous fun, and really livens up the month of February!

Out and about

This region offers so many possibilities for exploring the coast and the countryside and for visiting fascinating towns and cities, that you are quite simply spoiled for choice. The beaches and the salt water lagoons provide everything you could want for summer days at the seaside, whereas the Pyrénéan Mountains bring winter sports and stunning scenery. The vineyards and the wine domains invite you to learn and to taste, and the pretty Catalan villages such as Ceret and Collioure are there to share with you not just their beauty, but their individual natural treasures of delicious cherries and anchovies. Then you have Andorra nearby for tax-free shopping and excellent skiing, and the north-eastern coast of Spain with the brilliant and beautiful city of Barcelona all within easy reach.

Sporting variety

There is a great variety of sports available to you in this area of France. The beaches of Roussillon are extremely pretty and clean, with dramatic scenery behind and waters so clear and warm that scuba diving is very popular here. Winter sports are available in the mountains, roughly an hour and a half from St Laurent de la Salanque. In between Med and mountains you can play tennis or petanque, go pony trekking, cycling or walking, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

How to get there

Perpignan is the nearest airport, and there are flights from around the UK with Ryanair, bmibaby and flybe. Girona, Carcassonne and Montpellier are also near enough to be useful, with Girona and Carcassonne being served by Ryanair and Montpellier by easyJet and Ryanair. The TGV runs to nearby Perpignan from Paris, which makes train travel a great choice too. Drivers should take the A9 auto route and then head towards the coast.

Property prices and availability in and around Saint Laurent de la Salanque

Property here is certainly not the cheapest in France, but it remains cheaper than the coastal areas in the south-east, and has many of the same benefits with natural beauty, a lovely lifestyle and a great climate.

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Saint Laurent de la Salanque AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Saint Laurent de la Salanque?

Saint Laurent de la Salanque is situated near the Mediterranean coast in the south of France, close to Andorra and the Spanish border. It lies in the north-east of the Pyrénées-Orientales department.

Saint Laurent de la Salanque Property Map


Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map


Pyrénées-Orientales Guide

  Pyrénées-Orientales Map

Population: 9,000

Access: By air: Fly to Perpignan, Carcassonne, Montpellier or Girona. By rail: The TGV runs from Paris to Perpignan. By road: Saint Laurent de la Salanque lies between the A9 motorway and the coast.

Economy: The economy is based on wine and tourism.

Interesting fact: Saint Laurent has an unusual festival, the Festival of the Bear. This involves someone dressing up as a bear and kidnapping a young girl, only to be caught by the hunters and then the festivities begin!

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