Visit Port Vendres (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
Port Vendres is a natural port on the Mediterranean coast in Languedoc-Roussillon, a little south of Collioure, just north of the border with Spain - the coast here is known as the Cote Vermeille.
Port Vendres is the only natural port on the Vermeille coast and is both a yachting harbour and an active fishing town. It has been an active harbour since the 6th century. The town sits on the edge of the port overlooking the boats and the Mediterranean sea.
Exploring Port Vendres
In the 17th century Louis XIV asked Vauban (an important defensive architect of the 17th century) to turn Port Vendes into a military base with appropriate defenses. Vauban built the Fanal Redoubt, the Bear Redoubt and the Presqu'ile Redoubt though the latter was destroyed apart from its clock tower to allow the port to be enlarged in the 1930s. (A redoubt is a fortified building).
In the 19th century further fortifications were added to the town and if you follow the 'Route des Cretes' you can see these. Another important stage in the town's history was the time spent here in 1925 and 1926 by Rennie Mackintosh. His time in Port Vendres is said to be the happiest of his life and he painted several watercolours here. He asked for his ashes to be scattered in the Bay.
Ask at the tourist office for their map and this will give you a route to see the main monuments of the town.
Vauban's defenses. Fort Fanal, the Redoute du Fanal, with its green lighthouse sits to the North of the Port. Opposite it on the south side of the Port is the Redoute Bear which is now the Sidi Ferruch's museum dedicated to French/Algerian history in the 19th and 20th century. The clock tower on the Quai de la Douane is the remains of the Presqu'ile Redoubt.
Near the office de tourisme on the Quai Pierre Forgas is a bank which used to be the Hotel du Commerce and it is here that Charles Rennie Mackintosh spent two winters near the end of his life. A path around the port shows reproductions of his work at the different places where they were painted.
An obelisk was erected in the 18th century in hommage to Louis XVI. This is in the Place de l'Obelisque as is Le Dome which contains an exhibition relating to Rennie Mackintosh.
The Route des Cretes is a mountain road with great views over the coast. It also offers a closer look at the Tour Madeloc, a 13th century early warning system, and the Batteries Taillefer and the Fort Gallinge which were built in the 19th century to defend the town and its coast.
Port Vendres has a beach but it is 3km from the town centre. Non the less the three beaches are in attractive bay of Paulilles and two of these have lifeguards in July and August.
The coast and region around Port Vendres
Between Port-Vendres and Collioure is the Fort Saint Elme. This started life as a 9th century signal tower but star shaped fotifications were added in the 15th century. In the 17th century Vauban added to the fortifications. It is worth a visit not only to see the substantial fort but also for the views over the coast.
The nearby village of Cosprons has a chapel containing a rare carving of the 'marine Christ' dating from the 14th century. The marine Christ wears a crown of rope rather than thorns.
Photos of Port Vendres
Click any picture to start the gallery
Address: Port-Vendres, Côte Vermeille, Céret, Pyrenees-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, 66660 || GPS: latitude 42.518889, longitude 3.105833
Map of Port Vendres & places nearby
Highlights close by
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Port Vendres.
See Languedoc-Roussillon and Pyrenees-Orientales (the region and department for Port Vendres) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Port Vendres, France
- Eglise de Saint Michel (Saint-Genis-des-fontaines) - religious monument (15km)
- Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (Cabestany) - religious monument (22km)
- Chapel Saint-Martin de Fenollar (Maureillas-las-Illas) - religious monument (23km)
- Perpignan - town of art and history (26km)
- Castelnou - most beautiful village (35km)
- Orgued d'Ille-sur-Tet - site of natural beauty (43km)
- Chapelle de Casenoves (Ille-sur-tet) - religious monument (43km)
- Eglise de Trinité d'Aregno (Aregno) - religious monument (43km)
Market days in Port Vendres: Regular market(s) are held in Port Vendres each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Port Vendres (Francais)