"The Albères loop" Discovering a safeguarded heritage
"The Albères loop" Discovering a safeguarded heritage

"The Albères loop" Discovering a safeguarded heritage

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A local mobilization to help the architectural heritage.

3 points of interest

  • Cultural heritage

    Cloister of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines

    The cloister of Saint Genis des Fontaines was built in the 13th century. Its specificity is characterized by the polychromy of its marbles: the white of Céret, the pink of Villefranche de Conflent and the black of Baixais. With the old theme of flora and fauna, the art of Saint Genis combines new ones drawn from the local environment (turtle, frog ...). See also the famous lintel in white marble in front of the church. It is the first Romanesque sculpture dated in stone (1019-1020). The date of realization is indicated in the two lines in Latin which appear there. The Saint Michel church is to be discovered during the visit with its interior treasures. Indeed, it houses altarpieces ranging from the XVIth to the XIXth century, a pre-Romanesque font and the Carolingian altar table of the primitive church. 
    Monthly exhibitions are organized at the "Galerie des deux clochers" (upper ambulatory above the Cloister).
  • Cultural heritage

    Castle of Montesquieu

    Feudal castle built by the lords of Sant Cristau, who then took the name of Montesquieu, dates back to 1080. The central dungeon houses the former home of the lord which was later backed a vaulted room which was the subject of a restoration. The enclosure wall to protect the whole measures nearly 12 meters high. A breathtaking view awaits you!
  • Cultural heritage

    Priory Santa Maria del Vilar

    Nestled in the heart of Albères, priory Santa Maria del Vilar crosses the ages. Founded in 1083, monks transformed the building from the Carolingian era into a hospitable pilgrim for Compostela and added a church. In 1802, the place changes completely function since it is sold to a farmer who transforms the church into a stable. Abandoned in 1942, it disappears gradually under the vegetation but has now been restored and hosts opera concerts.


  1. When you leave the cloister, turn right to descend towards the gendarmerie. Start following the markup
  2. Join the bike route that you follow towards Boulou
  3. Leave the bike route to reach Montesquieu des Albères. On the heights of the village, do not hesitate to go up to the castle. The view is magnificent. Take your road towards Villelongue-dels-Monts. Be careful, between Montesquieu and Villelongue-dels-Monts, you cross a ford which can be closed after the floods. When you arrive in Villelongue, you can discover the history of the Santa Maria del Vilar priory which has been completely updated and restored by local mobilization.
  4. To reach it, you will have to leave your course and climb into the Albères above Villelongue.
  5. Back on the purple loop, follow the signs to reach Saint Genis des Fontaines.
  • Departure : The cloister of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines
  • Arrival : The cloister of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines

Altimetric profile


Be careful, rue Clemenceau, where the Cloister is located, is one way, it is better to get off the bike to reach avenue Maréchal Joffre.