Prades

 

9km from Campôme is the valley capital of Prades, easily accessible by car, bus and train from Perpignan. Situated at the confluence of several rivers at the base of the Canigou Mountain, Prades enjoys a micro-climate characterised by many hours of sunshine. This landscape offers numerous opportunities for walking, hiking, riding, cycling, climbing, caving and bird watching. In spring it is a delight to contemplate the landscape where the snow on the Canigou blends with the colour of the peach blossom. Prades has all the amenities, but it enjoys a standing way out of proportion to its size or economic power, largely thanks to the Catalan cellist, Pablo Casals, who set up home here as an exile and fierce opponent of the Franco regime in Spain. In 1950 he instituted the internationally renowned Festival of Chamber Music, now held every year in the abbey of St-Michel-de-Cuxa from late July to the middle of August. Prades is also a centre of ardent Catalan feeling, hosting a Catalan university in August and boasting the first Catalan-language primary school in France.

 

Prades has all the shops and services you will need for your holiday. The Tuesday morning market is well known throughout the region and provides a wide variety of items, such as fruit, vegetables, clothing, household goods, and holiday mementos. The Farmers’ market is held on Saturday mornings in the main square, providing the shopper with local produce. Wander through the typical streets and discover the decorated facades of the houses, the artistic wrought iron work and balconies, the door surrounds made of local pink marble, the oratories, the fountains and the communal wash house.

 

All year the town’s eclectic and active associations provide a variety of entertainment, sporting events, traditional fêtes, shows, and meetings. Prades also boasts an exceptional heritage with St Peter’s Church and its Treasure House. This church has the largest baroque altar piece in France. The American religious writer and poet Thomas Merton was born in Prades and the town is on the Camino de Santiago.

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