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The area

Mount Canigou Serralongue - "the long mountain" - is a commune in the Pyrenees Orientales - the department of France which borders Spain, Andorra and the Mediterranean. The PO contains beautiful scenery, including the snow-capped Pyrenees mountains (of which Canigou is legendary and impressive), secluded valleys, sandy beaches, rocky coves and abundant wildlife. Serralongue is in the mountains, about 20 minutes from the Spanish border and about 90 minutes from the Mediterranean. It has stunning views, wonderful walks, and tranquility!

It also has an Serralongue church11th century church, a museum covering at least some of its 3000 year history, a restaurant/bar where one can buy bread, papers, etc, and an "artisan" charcuterie.

Serralongue is in the "canton" of Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste, and has a population of about 240 "Serralongais". (Precise location is 42°23'54" North, 02°33'23" East.) The commune covers 24 square kilometres and is from 480 metres to 1400 metres high.

For more information on Serralongue (in French) click here or here .

Tip - you can use Google Translator to translate from French to - not perfect, but readable - English. Click here for the translator tool. The web page addresses corresponding to the two French sites just mentioned are http://serralongue.free.fr and http://histoireduroussillon.free.fr/Villages/Histoire/Serralongue.php . Copy an address and paste it into the relevant field in the translation tool, then select French to English translation.
This is the Haut-Vallespir (the high valley of the river Tech), situated to the south of Canigou, the legendary Catalan mountain which reaches 2700 metres and dominates the region. Here you will find plenty of walking, horseriding (you can join a horseback trek from Serralongue village), a superb golf course - the Domaine de Falgos Golf at Domaine de Falgos - and all manner of outdoor activities on your doorstep.

The lovely walled town of Prats de MolloPrats de Mollo is only fifteen minutes away; here you will find shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, etc, and Fort Lagarde sits high over the town to remind you that this whole area was fought over for centuries by the French and Spanish before it was ceded to France in 1659.

Spain is approached by the beautiful route over the mountains via Coustouges, on a road which winds you down to Figueras .

In the Conflent (the valley of the river Tet) to the north of Canigou, you will find Villefranche de Conflent an old walled town on the road to Andorra. Here there is a seventeenth century fort, Fort Liberia, looking down over the town. Villefranche is the starting point for the Little Yellow Train, which provides beautiful views as it winds though the Pyrenees to Mont Louis and beyond.

Further north still, but an easy drive, are the craggy Corbières, with the seemingly impregnable fortresses of Peyrepertuse and Quéribus. These are both famous for their resistance to the Albigensian Crusaders who descended on the south of France to eradicate the Cathar heresy in the 13th century.

CarcassonneCarcassonne the deservedly famous walled city restored in the nineteenth century to its original mediaeval splendour, is about 2 hours drive to the north, while about 2 hours drive to the south lies the very lively city of Barcelona.

As for winter sports, there are downhill and cross-country skiing pistes at Font Romeu and Pyrenees 2000 , also about 2 hours away by car, this time to the west, with Andorra a couple of hours further on.

Further down the Vallespir, towards the Mediterranean, is Céret, famous for cherries and its Modern Art museum; then on down the D115, and an hour from Serralongue you will be at the Mediterranean, on the Côte Vermeille. Here you will find miles of great sandy beaches stretching from Argeles sur Mer to Canet Plage with St Cyprien which also has an Aquacity for children.

As the sands give way to the rockier shores leading to the Spanish Costa Brava, you come to CollioureCollioure a very attractive French village, and Port-Vendres - both busy in the summer, mainly with French visitors, while further south still is the first marine nature reserve in France, which extends for more than 6 kilometres and covers 650 hectares of sea between Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cerbere, just north of the Spanish border.

The Spanish town of Figueras is just over 60 kilometres away, and is home to the Salvador Dali museum. Dali's house is at Port Lligat , on the lovely Cap de Creus with the resort of Cadaques.

The Conseil General of the Pyrenees-Orientales have their own web site (written in French with some Catalan) with lots of information about the department, including web cams of the mountains and the seafront at (Collioure).