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Villefranche-de-Conflent

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Pyrénées-Orientales

Villefranche-de-Conflent - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Pyrénées-Orientales
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Listed as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO because of its fortifications by Vauban, the fortified village of Villefranche-de-Conflent, situated at the confluence of the Têt, the Cady and the Rotja, at the foot of Mount Canigou, was founded at the end of the 11th century by a Count of Cerdanya, in order to protect the valleys from invasion. It was then reinforced by Vauban in the 17th century, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659, to ensure its safety and that of Conflent.

Encircled by solid fortifications, the medieval village of Villefranche-de-Conflent also features in the list of the most beautiful villages in France. Visitors who love old buildings can explore this ancient heritage: ramparts with fortified doors, the picturesque street, the Rue Saint-Jean, with many house fronts which figure in the inventory of Historic Monuments, the Saint-Pierre bridge over the Têt, the town hall belfry tower, the Church of St James (Saint-Jacques) with its beautiful 12th-century carved pink marble entrance... Art galleries, souvenir shops and local craft shops all offer plenty for shopaholics to enjoy.

On the heights above Villefranche-de-Conflent you can see the outline of Fort Libéria, like a sentinel majestically overlooking the medieval village and the confluence of the three valleys. This remarkable edifice with wall-walks was constructed by Vauban in 1681, then reinforced in the 19th century under Napoleon III. An underground stairway called ‘The thousand steps', which has 734 steps in fact, connects the fort with the village of Villefranche-de-Conflent. The Fort is accessible on foot for braver souls but can also be reached using the 4x4 shuttle bus which goes from the village.

Not to be missed is a trip on the yellow train, which goes from Villefranche-de-Conflent, for a fabulous adventure in the high plateaux of Cerdanya!

Additional information
Villefranche-de-Conflent

Villefranche-de-Conflent is located in Conflent Canigó, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. The city was built in 1092 by the Count of Cerdagne, Guillaume Raymond, and it was this same year that the authorization was given by the bishop of Elne to build the church of St Jacques.

In 1095 the town was named Villa Franca. The tax privileges encouraged many artisans to come and settle there: weavers, tanners, clothiers, stonemasons, and merchants.

In 1681, Vauban built Fort Liberia and remodeled Villefranche, raised the ramparts, built a barracks, a hospital, a bastion, and powder magazines, and demolition of the Franciscan convent in the suburb.

Under the reign of Louis XVI, the cart doors were replaced by large pink Villefranche marble doors and drawbridges.

In the 19th century, Napoleon III carried out major works including the underground called "1000 steps" to access Fort Liberia (775 steps) starting from the St Pierre bridge, a 12th century bridge.

The village has recently been listed as a UNESCO heritage site and is part of the Vauban circuit. It is also classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France.

Villefranche contains within it many shops and restaurants but also artisans (traditional bakery, potters, leathers, lapidaries, goldsmiths, and witch-making).

Things to see and do

Places of interest

Leisure centres
Monuments
Transport

Events and festivities

Detailed information

Pablo Casals Festival
A prestigious chamber music festivalFrom 29 july to 12 august 2022

Photos

The city and its ramparts
The city and its ramparts
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Rue de Villefranche
Rue de Villefranche
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The church of Saint-Jacques
The church of Saint-Jacques
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The municipality
The municipality
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The municipality
The municipality
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Exterior ramparts
Exterior ramparts
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Porte de France
Porte de France
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Entrance to Pont St Pierre
Entrance to Pont St Pierre
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Spanish Gate
Spanish Gate
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Echauguette
Echauguette
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The Town Hall
The Town Hall
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Saint-Jean Street
Saint-Jean Street
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The municipality
The municipality
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Exterior ramparts
Exterior ramparts
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Video destination Conflent Canigo
Video destination Conflent Canigo
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The Town Hall
The Town Hall
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The municipality
The municipality
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The municipality
The municipality
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The municipality
The municipality
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The municipality
The municipality
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Not far from Villefranche-de-Conflent:

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

Your holidays
A hotel
A vacation rental
A bed & breakfast
A campsite
A leisure activity
A restaurant
A rental car
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