Medieval Stone House in Pyrenees, Views, Terrace 30km to Beach
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- Minimum stay:Contact owner
- Pets considered:Yes
- Wheel chair accessible:No
Amelie-les-Bains-Palalda house description
Our house is located in the tranquil medieval village of Palalda, near the border between France and Spain. The village dates back to Roman times and is built on a hillside overlooking the valley of the Tech River and the oak forested slopes of the Pyrenees. In the morning and the evening the sky above our house is filled with swallows darting and diving, and the only sounds you will hear are their calls and the rushing of the river in the valley below. Palalda, like the rest of Roussillon, has a strong Catalan character to it, and you are just as likely to hear Catalan spoken in the street as French.
Our house is a recently restored old village house with all the charm of old stone walls and oak beamed ceilings combined with modern conveniences and comforts. There is a large shaded terrace and garden with a magnificent view over the river and the mountains. The open plan kitchen/dining room with its stainless steel appliances, central cooking island, gas stove and large oak dining table will inspire you to culinary experimentation with all of the wonderful local French ingredients available to you (for example: cherries from Ceret; apricots from Roussillon; the anchovies of Coullioure). A large living room enjoys 18 foot high ceilings and exposed stone walls. The large downstairs bedroom is quiet and cool in the heat of summer. The main floor bedroom has twin beds and a Juliet balcony with a view of the valley.
Our house faces south and receives sun all day long. The Tech valley is one of the sunniest in all of France (300+ days of sunshine per year).
Palalda, with about 300 permanent residents, is one of only a handful of medieval villages remaining in Roussillon. Access through the village and to our house is by foot only as vehicles cannot enter the narrow and steep alleys and passageways of the village. In the village you will find a cafe, a bakery and a small grocery store. A weekly market is held in the town square, below the 10th century church (Sundays). The town square is also the venue for parties and concerts hosted by the cafe throughout the summer months.
In the neighbouring town of Amelie les Bains (a 19th C. spa town, 2 kms away) you will find restaurants, cafes, banks and more shops. The spa here dates back to Roman times and is still in operation.
Palalda is situated at the foot of the Canigou Massif, an 8,000 ft mountain of ancient symbolic significance to the Catalan people. Most of the vast area surrounding this mountain is national park or forest reserve and it is not uncommon, while wandering in these mountains, to see wild boar, eagles or Pyreneen chamois or to come across the remains of a Roman iron mine or the site of a legendary battle of the French Resistance.
For lovers of the outdoors, Palalda is an ideal location. Within minutes of the village you have access to hundreds of kilometers of hiking and mountain biking trails, some of them dating back to the Middle Ages, and all of them well marked and maintained. (Mountain bike rentals are available in nearby Arles sur Tech, 5 kms away). During the summer, swimming is fine in the rocky pools found along the valley of the Tech River. And of course the Mediterranean beaches are only 40 minutes away by car.
There are many cultural and historical attractions as well. The Museum of Modern Art in Ceret (7 kms away), founded in the 1920s by Pablo Picasso and friends is a must-see. Ceret itself is a very pleasant town with its plane tree shaded boulevard and outdoor cafes. Across the border in Figueres, Spain (one hour by car) is the Dali Museum (and if you need more Dali you can also visit his house at Port Lligat on the Costa Brava (about 2 hours by car) or the castle he bought for his beloved wife Gala at Pubol, near Gerona (about 1 1/2 hrs by car). The French Catalan fishing town of Coullioure is a great destination for a visit to its Palais Royale and curious seaside church, and lunch in one of its many fine restaurants. For a more urban experience, the city of Perpignan (40 minutes away by car), once the capital of the Catalan Kingdom of Majorca, is like a smaller and more accessible version of Barcelona (or you could just go to Barcelona, 2 hours away by car).
History buffs may want to start with the museum at the European Centre for Prehistory at Tautavel (1 1/2 hours away by car) and its 450,000 years of history and follow up with a tour of the 17th C. fortresses built by Vauban at Mont Louis and Villefranche de Conflent (UNESCO World Heritage Sites) (2 hours away by car).
Our unique proximity to Spain offers other interesting possibilities, such as breakfast in France and lunch in Spain. Travelling up the valley will lead you to the Catalan Spanish mountain villages, and down the valley to the beach resorts of the Costa Brava.
Or you may just want to sit on the terrace, open a bottle of Cotes de Roussillon Villages wine and watch the sun travel across the sky.
- Vacation Rental
- Guests Provide Their Own Meals
- Children Welcome:
- Non Smoking Only
Bedrooms: 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4, Beds for 4
- Queen size Beds (1), Twin or Single Beds (1)
Bathrooms: 1 Bathroom, 1 Half Bathroom
Kitchen & Dining
- Dishes & Utensils
- Coffee Maker
- Pantry Items
- Parking Off Street
- Linens Provided
- Clothes Dryer
- Video Library:
- CD Player
- DVD Player
- Music Library
- Deck / Patio
- Outdoor Grill
Location & View
- Water Skiing
- Mountain Biking
- Rock Climbing
- Cross Country Skiing
- Live Theater
- Theme Parks
- Health/Beauty Spa
- Wildlife Viewing
- Horseback Riding
- Sight Seeing
ReviewsWrite a review
Seldom does one find such a well-appointed and beautifully renovated house - and with a fabulous view, fireplace, foolproof wifi smack in the middle of a medieval village built above a small river. Across the water lies a charming and bustling little market town - you can drive to the beach in under 1/2 an hour and to Barcelona in 1.45 hours, then return to this haven of calm - and with a superb natural spa built into an ancient Roman bathhouse. We'll be back!
- Guest Anna (Utrecht/L.A.)
- Date of stay 09/07/13
- Review Submitted 11/08/13
Recommended for: Adventure seekers, families with teenagers, sightseeing, romantic getaway, pet owners, families with young children.
Beautiful Amelie les Bains - Palalda
Beautiful Amelie les Bains - Palalda
David Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us! We spent a wonderful week exploring Amelie les Bains - Palalda, and the Pyrenees. The joy of starting each day with breakfast spent on the terrace, looking out over the valley, down upon the Tech river, fields, gardens and birds was perfect. Your home is incredibly comfortable, and contains all the amenities and comforts. We loved the airy open kitchen, and the view it offered. The village was such a treat to simply walk around and explore - so much beauty, and such a sense of history. Thanks for your tips on the local restaurants - we loved the Poivre Verte! We hope to return again! Ron and Charmaine
- Guest Ron and Charmaine (Acton, Ontario, Canada)
- Date of stay 05/11/13
- Review Submitted 06/30/13
Recommended for: Adventure seekers, families with teenagers, sightseeing, age 55+, romantic getaway, girls getaway.
Peace in the Pyrenees Foothills
Peace in the Pyrenees Foothills
The owner's photographs do not do complete justice to the beaufiful view of the green valley and hills from his house's shaded, private terrace, where the only noise you'll ever hear is the rush of the river far below. The owner does not live on the premises nor in town, although there is a contact number for neighbors in case of emergency. The two of us found the house very clean inside with mostly brand new appliances, but it lacks wifi. (There is a cyber cafe in Ceret, about ten minutes by car.) Ideal for a family of four, the house afforded this childless couple the luxury of an extra bedroom to use as a dressing room. We enjoyed perfect weather the first week in June and ran out of time to do all the things we wanted to do nearby: Figueres, Cadaques, Collioure, Carcassonne, le Train Jaune, are all manageable day trips. Accross the valley, Ceret boasts an art museum with a few memorable canvases--emphasis on few--and a fine restaurant for lunch in the town square: La Fontaine. (Gault-Millau affords nearby Le Chat Qui Rit two toques, but our one experience was unsatisfactory.) The lack of nearby parking--about a three or four-minute walk with roughly fifteen stone stairs--is maybe the only drawback. But on the other hand, it also means that there are no automobiles passing the house, as the hillside town of Palalda is laid out for foot traffic only. Of all the VRBO places we stayed, this charming medieval house was by far and and away the best value.
- Guest william m.
- Date of stay 06/01/13
- Review Submitted 06/13/13
Recommended for: Families with teenagers, sightseeing, romantic getaway.
The Londoners go to France
The Londoners go to France
We were very lucky to find this house! We were staying in Beaufort for a week, and all we knew was that we wanted to be within driving distance of our first house. This place is amazing! The house is like a tree fort hanging over amelie les bains, beautiful , clean,an awesome view, we feell lucky and privileged to share this house. The pictures don't do it justice. Two large living areas, a stunning patio, 1 and a half baths, and beautiful beyond belief. Area is charming, a quaint village with hot springs and cool rivers to play in, driving distance to the sea and to the Ceret museum.. Where Picasso donated his art. We will be sad to,leave! This is not a place for the faint of heart or anyone with physical disabilities.. Many stairs to climb!
- Guest Sue c. (London, ontario)
- Date of stay 08/11/12
- Review Submitted 08/14/12
Recommended for: Adventure seekers, families with teenagers, sightseeing, age 55+.
June and September, 2013: $850 US per week April, May, October and November, 2013: $800 US per week July and August, 2013: $900 US per week 25% deposit requested to confirm reservation Balance payable 45 days prior to commencement of stay Short or long winter stays: rates available on request
Note: Until confirmed, rates are subject to change without notice.
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Year Purchased: 2006
About the owner: David, Faye, their son Iain and their Portuguese Water Dog Caimao live in a floating home in the harbour at Victoria, B.C. (when not in France). David and Faye spent a year in France restoring this house while Iain attended the local school and honed his French. Many wheelbarrow loads of sand, cement and brick were trundled along the narrow alleyways of Palalda during that year! But it was a labour of love and we are very proud of the result.
Why the Owner Chose Amelie-les-Bains-Palalda:
We love this part of France, for its proximity to Spain, for the warm Catalan character of the people, for the wildness of its mountain landscapes, and for the beautiful Mediterranean beaches.
- Primary: (250) 590-5303 (British Columbia, Canada)
Links to more information:
a view of the house and terrace
kitchen and dining room looking towards the living room
main floor bedroom
the view from the terrace
There have been visitors to this page since the counter was last reset in .
This listing was first published here in 2009.
Date last modified - Saturday, January 18, 2014
2 Bedroom / 1.5 Bathroom
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