During the summer, the tourist office organises guided tours of the port and the local heritage and a tour around Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
For more information, click here
Discovery tour : The port ant the heritage of Port-Vendres
These different tours are indicated on the tourist town map. This map is available at the tourist office.
At the end of the quai Forgas, before walking up the pedestrian rue Jules Pams, a stele evocates the P
olish aviators who boarded in Port-Vendres in order to join the Royal Air Force. They played a decisive role during the air battle of 1940-41 that prevented the German force from disembarking
Star at the tourist office and fallow the quai Forgas.
The Hôtel du Commerce
is situated at the angle of the quay and the rue Jules Ferry. This is where Charles Rennie Mackintosh
lived during the last years of his life and where he painted numerous watercolours of Port-Vendres
3- The town hall in the rue Jules Pams, used to be a building that belonged to Jules Louis Pams senator and former minister who was born in Perpignan in 1852. One of the rooms designed by the architect Petersen is now the wedding room. It’s decorated with the Four seasons, a wall paintings created by Gervais in 1913
4- On the left hand side when you get out of the town hall, you’ll see the obelisk on its square. It was erected during the 18th century in praise of Louis the 16th (while he was still alive) by the Comte de Mailly, Lieutenant General of the Roussillon, under de direction of the King’s architect Charles de Wailly. Four bronze bas-reliefs represent the independent America, the abolition of bondage in France, the freedom of trade and the reinforced marine. At the four angles of the gate, allegoric trophies represent the attributes of the four continents known at that time
5- In front of the old port, the war memorial was realised in 1922 by the Catalan sculptor Aristide Maillol. The statue represents Venus giving a palm to the glorious soldiers who died for their fatherland.
6- In the upper part of the square the Dome, its square and its gardens, are part of the Obelisk architectural whole. Military barracks used to be situated here and the Dome used to be the head of the regiment’s house. Today it’s an art exhibition centre where the permanent exhibition on Charles R. Mackintosh is shown(access via the garden. Free or guided visit)
7- The Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle church built in 1888, is a curious mixture of Romanesque-Byzantine style outside and Neogothic style inside in the very high nave. A wooden 15th century statue kept in the chapel left from the choir, represents Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, the patron saint of the parish
8- Follow the rue Arago, called “rue du soleil” (sunny street), until the quai de la Quarantaine where the fish auction hall is (can not be visited). The fish shop next to it has shellfish and fish in tanks.
9- The Redoute du Fanal is part of Vauban’s work in Port-Vendres between 1673 and 1700 and was meant to defend the port. Its starboard green lighthouse indicates the entry of the port.
10- At the end of the rue de la Mirande, on the headland in front of the sea stands the statue of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle (statue in cast iron originally placed on the church tower and replaced by a lighter one in resin).
Lower, the square Henri Bès houses the Memorial of the North Africa War Veterans, dedicated to the soldiers of the Pyrénées-Orientales who died for France during the War in Algeria and the battles in Morocco and Tunisia.
To go back to the tourist office, walk to the place Castellane via the stairs for a panoramic view on the port and the town (viewpoint indicator).
11- On the place Castellane, a statue represents a couple of Port Vendres habitants in love. The youngsters nicknamed « Fenouil et Fenouille », inspired a sculptor who wanted to pay tribute to their love. Because the original statue disappeared during the Occupation, a new one was made in 2000 by the sculptor MG Vié.
12- On the quai de la Douane, the Clock Tower is the only part that remains from the Redoute de la Presqu’île, one of the three fortifications designed by Vauban in order to protect Port-Vendres (with the Redoute Fanal and the Redoute Béar). It was demolished in 1930 to enlarge the quay and dig the sheltered dock. The clock was rebuilt exactly as it was a bit further.
13- Walk around the commercial port to the route de la Jetée. After the camper van area, take the track on your left hand side (“sentier des Redoutes”) till the Redoute Mailly that dates from the 18th century and was demolished in 1944.
14- At the end of the pier that protects the entrance of the port, the metal pier lighthouse, built in 1889 has a range of 8 nautic miles (15 km)
Come back by the same way till the beginning of the “sentier des Redoutes”, and fallow the road to the Cap Béar.
15- Climb up to the Redoute Béar built during the 17th century on Vauban’s plans. It houses today the Sidi Ferruch museum that deals with the history of French Algeria between 1830 and 1962. The stele on the esplanade used to be erected in Sidi Ferruch in Algeria. Militaries from the 3ème RPIMA brought it back with them in 1962.
The Cap Béar
The Cap Béar semaphore built in 1861, belongs to the National Navy and is used to control the sea traffic and to establish weather forecasts.
Below, but 80 m above the sea level, the Cap Béar lighthouse was built in 1905 with red marble from Villefranche-de-Conflent. It is 27 m high and has range of 30 miles (55 km).
Above on the hills at 206 m high, the Fort Béar was built in 1884. Today it’s a military fort that can not be visited
The ridge road
At the exit of Port-Vendres going to Banyuls-sur-Mer, the “route des crêtes”, the ridge road D86A and D86, offers beautiful unrestricted views on the Roussillon coast. Caution: narrow and winding road.
The Tour Madeloc is situated at 652 m high. It was built in 1285 under the kingdom of Majorca and was part of a sea control and alarm system, thanks to fire signals relayed by the tour de la Massane and the Fort Saint-Elme
Behind the batteries equipped with artillery, there are three barracks, a central one and two smaller ones on each side
The Batteries Taillefer, the Batteries des 500 and the Fort Galline were built between 1870 and 1886 to defend the coast from an arc situated at 500m high and 3.5 km from the centre.
The vast bay of Paulilles is located right up against the Albères foothills (at 3 km from the centre, direction Banyuls-sur-Mer). Here you’ll find three beaches overlooked by rosy rocks (lifeguards are present in July and August), terrace vineyards and an exceptional Mediterranean and exotic vegetation.
The landscape is also punctuated with different buildings and a brick chimney of 35 m high, a telling trace of the history of Paulilles. Indeed, the site used to be a dynamite factory created by Mr Nobel. Five generations of Catalans worked here between 1870 and 1984, creating a real working-class village on the site.
Open to the public since June 2008, the site is now restored and is a place full of memory, a witness of the industrial history of Paulilles. Strolling around you’ll discover the site house (reception hall and exhibitions), the director’s garden, the big hall, the vigie (panoramic view over the site) and of course the chimney…
More information about… the site of Paulilles, click here
Access 3km Direction Banyuls-sur-Mer by N114
The opening hours change with the seasons, contact "maison de site" +33 (0)4 68 95 23 40
The Fort Saint Elme, The Fort Dugommier
Between Port-Vendres and Collioure, the Fort Saint Elme dominates the bays of the two Mediterranean ports. The view is astonishing (pedestrian access from the “strategic road” – be careful for the little tourist train that often passes by). The Fort Saint-Elme evolved during the 12th, 16th and 17th centuries. Originally it was a signal tower that belonged just as the Madeloc and Massane towers, to the Majorcan control and alarm system. Then under the reign of Charles the 5th of Spain the tower was completed by a redoubt. Finally Vauban fortified it in 1680.
Tel +33 (0)6 64 61 82 42
You can hardly see the Fort Dugommier redoubt, as it is buried into the ground. It was built between 1844 and 1852..