Life’s a Beach!

The Côte Vermeille (Vermilion coast) stretches from Argelès-sur-Mer to Cerbère via Collioure, Port Vendres and Banyuls-sur-Mer.

This part of the coastline covers a mere 15 kilometres but the winding road from Port-Vendres to Cerbère makes it feel much longer, despite the superb views ! Take a sick bag for the folk in the back seat !

The Cote Radieuse takes less than half an hour to drive from Barcarès to Argelès, passing through Torreilles, Ste Marie la Mer, Canet en Roussillon, and St Cyprien.
The Roussillon coastline boasts kilometre after kilometre of golden beaches, rocky hideways, azure lagoons…. in fact a day at the beach is so much more than a bucket and spade experience, surrounded as you are by the stunning  scenery of the Albères mountains with the sacred Canigou rising majestic in the distance.

Argelès North and centre

plage-Argelès

Superb, long sandy beach with stunning views in the distance, this beach is separated from the hustle and bustle of the souvenir shops by a shady, tree lined walkway.

Rarely OVERcrowded as it it so big but in July and August, parking around the central area is a pain and traffic jams along Argeles plage main road a nightmare.

All usual facilities on site and nearby. Plenty of restaurants and cafés within easy walking distances, the beach is well supervised. If you don’t appreciate sand in every orifice, take a wander or a guided tour of the the coastal Nature Reserve of Mas Larrieu, with its wide variety of landscapes and unusual birds.

Le Racou (Argelès)

racou

Tucked in at the very southern end of the miles and miles of beaches, this is a handy beach for those staying in the Albères.

There’s a loo (if you’re brave!) and there are cafés and shops nearby.. Can get quite busy at times. Somewhat coarser sand compared to Argelès.

At the far end of the beach road, a track leads you past small coves (beaches unsupervised) towards Collioure. The single journey can be walked in about an hour and is off road until you arrive at the roundabout at the top of Collioure. A fabulous coastal walk or a pleasant cycle (but with a hefty hill as you arrive at the top road!!)

Between St Cyprien and Canet

canet

The road between the two towns runs between the sea and an étang (a kind of salt water lake separated from the sea by a narrow isthmus).

The sea beach offers a long stretch of fine sand uncluttered by buildings. The view is fantastic: look one way out to sea and the other way over the étang to Canigou.

The étang is a haven for birdlife and is famed for its flamingo population (flamants roses )

Parking spaces (free) along the road are plentiful but can be at a premium in high season so it is a good move to arrive between 1200 and 1400 when quite a number of beach-goers have gone home for lunch or not yet arrived for the afternoon. That’s a good rule for any of the beaches.

No shops or toilets but fabulous views all round.

La Franqui (Leucate)

La Franqui Beach, Leucate
La Franqui Beach, Leucate

Between sea and lagoon, La Franqui beach boasts miles of un-spoilt sand, ideal for all wind and water sports – windsurfing, sand surfing, funboarding, kitesurf…… It can get quite crowded in high season. Best to avoid on windy days if you don’t want sand in every orifice!

Le Barcares

Barcares
Le Barcares

Much more attractive than you might expect of a purpose built resort – helped of course by the étang. Here you will find all sorts of boating, windsurfing etc going on.

The stretch of beach immediately past the town (heading north) is relatively quiet and has a beach café. Free parking. Behind it is a water park with the usual flumes and chutes which is great if you have children, but does not disturb the tranquillity of the beach. (Access to this beach is at Exit 15)

Ste Marie Plage and Toreilles Plage

Torreilles

Pleasant small resorts with camp-sites, apartments and villas, the beaches are good with a number of shops and cafés and there is free parking.. If you want to bare all and get that complete tan, there is a ‘plage naturiste’ at the southern end of Toreilles Plage. (Exit from the Canet/Le Barcares road at the roundabout to Toreilles Plage and turn right a few metres along on to a track that doubles back parallel with the road before turning towards the sea).

More beaches to come….

Look out for the following coloured flags on the beach to find out swimming safety and water conditions.

♣ Plage non surveillée (no lifeguard) = no flag
Baignade autorisée (supervised and fine for swimming) = green flag
Baignade autorisée avec précaution (Supervised. Swimming allowed but may be dangerous) = orange flag
Baignade interdite (no swimming) = red flag “sélectionnée pure” (pure, clean water) = blue flag
Presence de méduses, pollution etc (possible pollution, jellyfish etc) yellow flag

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