The fortified village of Villefranche de Conflent is located at the confluence of the Têt, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name of the Vauban fortifications. Founded at the end of the 11th century by a Count of Cerdagne to protect the valleys from invasions, it was reinforced by Vauban in the 17th century, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, to ensure its defense and that of Conflent.
TOP THINGS TO DO:
- The city walls.
- Fort Liberia.
- The 12th-century Romanesque church and its pink marble portico.
- The streets of St Jacques and St Jean with their beautiful residences, some of which date back to the Middle Ages.
- Visits to the canalettes caves 300 meters from the village.
- Little yellow train.
- Eat a galette at theLa Forge d’Auguste
Surrounded by solid fortifications, the medieval village is also on the list of the most beautiful villages in France. Visitors with a passion for ancient stones will discover its historical heritage: the ramparts pierced by fortified gates; the picturesque rue Saint-Jean, with facades of houses listed in the inventory of Historical Monuments; the Saint-Pierre bridge over the Têt; the bell tower of the Town Hall; the church of Saint Jacques with its beautiful 12th century pink marble carved façade… Art galleries, souvenir stores and local craft stalls complete the tour for the enjoyment of shopaholics.
At the top of city, the silhouette of the Libéria fort can be seen, a hanging sentinel majestically dominating the medieval village and the confluence of the three valleys. This extraordinary monument, with its walkways, was built by Vauban in 1681 and fortified in the 19th century, at the time of Napoleon III. A subway staircase (called the “thousand steps”, although it has only 734 steps) links the fortress to the village. Apart from the access on foot, the Libéria fort can also be reached by a regular 4×4 service leaving from the village. Do not miss the ride on the yellow train, departing from Villefranche-de-Conflent, for a fabulous escape to the high plateaus of Cerdagne.
- Easter celebrations and giants’ parade (Easter weekend).
- Saint-Jean fireworks festival on June 23rd.
- Festival of Saint-Jacques with fireworks on July 25.
- Mushroom festival on the first Sunday in October.
Next step? Narbonne