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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Pyrénées-Orientales

Castelnou - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Pyrénées-Orientales

Under no circumstances should you leave the Pyrénées-Orientales until you have paid a little visit to Castelnou. Superbly preserved, this medieval village is worth a detour for many reasons! Lying at the foot of a feudal castle, the former capital of the viscountcy of Vallespir invites its visitors to travel in time...

Once they have stepped through the monumental Caselnou door, lovers of old buildings can only be amazed by the harmony found in this fabulous village. Picturesque little streets bedecked with flowers and lined with stone houses, the remains of ramparts interspersed with towers, the 10th-century viscount's castle, and art and craft shops make the walk a real enchantment...

Beyond the fortified enclosure is the Church of St Mary of Mercadal (Sainte-Marie du Mercadal), which has furniture from the baroque period.

Additional information

The most beautiful village of France, Castelnou is a delightful town of the Pyrenees-Orientales, in Occitania region. It takes place about twenty kilometers from Perpignan, at the foot of the Aspres, not far from the not less famous catalan mount, the Canigou.

It is at the end of the Xth century that the village of Castelnou develops, especially around its vicomtal castle. Left to abandon and almost deserted between the seventeenth century and the nineteenth century, it is reborn from its ashes thanks to the renovation of its castle. Today, the town lives on a tourism tour around its history and architecture.

Full of charm and authenticity, the village of Castelnou has known to highlight its heritage in order to seduce passing visitors.

Things to see and do

The castle of Castelnou dates from the end of the 10th century. Possession of the kings of Mallorca from the 14th century, it was completely restored in the XIXth century and somewhat modernized. A pentagon with two sides at right angles, the building is surrounded by crenellated ramparts more than three meters thick. Its walls have the peculiarity of encompassing a group of buildings which do not surround an inner courtyard, but the summit of a small piece of mountain in its raw state.

The Church of Santa Maria del Mercadal is a charming Romanesque building dating from the 12th century. Modified by the addition of certain elements in the eighteenth century, such as the sacristy and the bell tower, it owes its name to the market that once stood beside it. Inside, it is possible to admire Romanesque paintings, as well as beautiful furniture in baroque style.

Formerly part of the village defense system, the tower of Castelnou takes place on a hilltop that dominates the town. This small cylindrical tower rests on the same level as many other watchtowers of the Roussillon.

As you stroll through the village, you will appreciate the old mansions and the staircase alleys to pass through one of the two main streets. There are also many vestiges of the ancient ramparts, like the door of Millars, to the north, with its two towers.

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Helicopter sightseeing flight
Sports sensations50 € to 140 € Perpignan

Places of interest


Events and festivities

The market is held on Tuesday morning in July and August. The village also offers a traditional Christmas market at the end of the year.

The patron festivals of Castelnou take place on February 5th and August 15th.

Every Tuesday, in July and August, the Mercadales settle in the communal church, offering different concerts of classical music.


Village of Castelnou
Village of Castelnou
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Fully paved village
Fully paved village
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Medieval village
Medieval village
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Market on Tuesday morning in summer
Market on Tuesday morning in summer
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



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