Banyuls-sur-Mer is situated on the Mediterranean coast in in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France. It is a beach resort around a natural bay and is not far from Collioure and Port Vendres. Unlike Collioure, Banyuls-sur-Mer is a quiet town.
The beach is wide with sands and pebbles. There is a boardwalk along the seafront. Behind the beach, there are plenty of restaurants and bars. Most of them offer set menus for lunch, for example, for around 17 Euros, we could have a menu with tuna tartar as a starter, fish fillet as the main course, and a dessert costs around 17 Euro. Grilled or smoked vegetables, grilled snails, and meatballs and olives in a spicy sauce are typical food in the area.
The home town of the French sculptor
Banyuls-sur-Mer is also the home town of the French sculptor Aristide Maillol. Strolling through the streets, we noticed some artworks from Aristide Maillol, such as ‘the young lady reclining’ near the port. His house is now a museum which dedicates to his life and works.
Beautiful narrow streets
Shops spread among several pedestrian streets. Though it was in the mid of the summer holiday season, only a few people were on the streets. All houses seemed to be freshly painted recently. The colours of the balcony doors and the balconies are harmonious to give a comfortable visual effect.
This seaside resort is just a little north of the Spanish border. Banyuls-sur-Mer is not only famous for its architecture and rich Catalan history but also famous for its beaches. It has several best beaches in France, with several coves sheltered from the winds for bathing.
Fontaulé beach is the most central beach, with bars and restaurants, a carousel for children, and the opportunity to do some water-sports, such as diving and kayaking.
Sana Beach is near the Helio-Marin centre (also called Sana). Next to the beach of Elmes, the little-known beautiful stretch of sand has a quiet atmosphere. It is an ideal place to escape the tourist crowds.
The distance between the beaches is not far. It is possible to walk from each other within one hour.
The area is well-known for its various hillside wineries. Nestling at the foot of the famous terraced vineyard, Banyuls-sur-Mer is renowned for its wine production. Wines are vinified after direct press or maceration and then matured in big glass bottles, oak barrels, and bottles. These wines will age slowly to develop delightful colours and aromas.
Banyuls wines have four levels, dry, medium-dry, medium-sweet, and sweet. One type of Banyuls wines is Banyuls Blanc. It is a bright yellow wine, with floral notes and white fruits. Due to the limited production, the local winemakers sell Banyuls wines directly.
The winemaker Domaine Tambour
South of Banyuls-sur-Mer, the coastal road towards Cerbère leads to a parking place on the hill, where the winemaker Domaine Tambour sells their wines. In 2018, the Doré Doux from Domaine Tambour won the Gold Medal during a wine competition in Paris.
We like the wines from Domaine Tambour and always make a stopover there to restocked our wine storage. This time, we also bought a box of the winning wine, Doré Doux.
Where to stay
As the popular holiday destination for the local French and Spanish, the hotels in Banyuls-sur-Mer is in high demand during the summer holiday season. Among those hotels, Profitez De La Vue is a great choice. It features a terrace and sea views. This property is on the beachfront. If you would like to discover the area, cycling and hiking are possible in the surroundings.
How to get there
Trains and buses from Carcassonne go to Banyuls-sur-mer.
The TGC from Barcelona to Banyuls-sur-Mer by train takes around 2hours and 17 minutes. Bus connections are also available from Barcelona.
To drive there, follow the D914 from either south or north of the village.