Canet-en-Roussillon, enjoyable in all seasons

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
Known for its beautiful beach, Canet-en-Roussillon also has lots of green areas, a rich historical heritage and a picturesque old village. Enjoying a pleasant climate, it’s a family friendly destination.

[ Practical ]

Getting there
- By road
860 km from Paris on autoroutes, A6b, A10, A71, A75 and A9 till Perpignan then on D83 and D900 till Canet-en-Roussillon.
- By train
TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon to Perpignan. The journey takes about 5 hours.
Bus N° 6 or taxi from Perpignan railway station to Canet-en-Roussillon.
- By plane
Air France flight from Paris Orly to Perpignan. The journey takes 1 hour 20 mn.
Shuttle till Perpignan railway station, then bus N° 6 or taxi till Canet-en-Roussillon.
Host & Vinum
Les Flamants Roses
Le Mas de la Plage et des Pins
Le Galion
Ibis Styles
Don Quichotte
Le Clos des Pins
Mar i Buda
Toro sur le Toit
Le Carré
Beach clubs
Estelle de Mar
Going out
Le Chill out
Le Fried Bar
Temple Café
Le Pam Pam
Le Caraïbe
2 boulevard de la Jetée
Open every day from 10am to noon and from 2pm to 6pm, from 9.30am to 8.30pm in July and August.
Admission : €6.50 / €5.50.
Tel : 0468604964
- Pyrénées-Orientales Tourist Office
Tel : 0468515253
- Canet-en-Roussillon Tourist Office
Tel : 0468867200
A nine km long beach of fine sand with calm and warm waters, an average of 320 days of sunshine per year,… Canet-en-Roussillon is the archetypal seaside destination. However, this little town located 12 km south of Perpignan also boasts specific features that make it a seaside resort perfectly suited for families and equally enjoyable in spring and autumn.
For example, it boasts an architectural heritage rich enough to keep the tourists busy for half a day.

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
 Medieval heritage
For Canet-en-Roussillon was first a fishing village whose origins date back to prehistoric times and a relatively important stronghold during the Middle Age. Built on a small hill a little away from the shore, the historical centre with winding streets keeps a few towers and some stretches of the former ramparts, a gothic church with a red brick bell tower and the ruins of a castle whose the best preserved parts are a chapel and a large ice well. You can discover these monuments on your own, at your own pace, or join one of the guided tours organized from June to September. In addition, along the beach, the streets close to the casino are lined with sometimes eccentric villas built by wealthy citizens from Perpignan at the end of the 19th century when bathing became popular.

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
 Fresh fish
The marina is also a place where it’s enjoyable to stroll and its port is dotted with 1,300 berths for boats up to35 metres, including catamarans. A few fishing boats are also moored there and their owners sell their catch every morning between 5am and 8am. Can't get fish any fresher than that !. In this neighbourhood, don’t be fooled by the quaint appearance of the aquarium and take the time to visit it. Inside, its 54 aquariums indeed contain hundreds of worldwide freshwater and saltwater fishes including rare species.
On the south edge of the beach, towards Saint-Cyprien, separated from the sea by the road and a narrow ribbon of sand, the Canet-Saint-Nazaire pond is a haven of peace that pleases all nature lovers. A path allows walkers and joggers to follow its reed covered banks for a short distance and to enjoy the great scenery

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
 Bird watching
The Canigou - Catalan’s holly mountain whose summit is snow capped several months a year – indeed stands in the background of the pond and is reflected in its waters.
Covering nearly 600 ha and no deeper than 1 meter, it’s in fact a brackish water lagoon because a tiny channel connects it to the sea. Classified Natura 2000, it is home to hundreds of migratory and sedentary birds such as pink flamingos, coots, white stilts, purple herons and starry bitterns. And thanks to a viewing station, it’s possible to observe the most timid species at quite close range. On its banks, traditional fishermen cottages made from wood and reeds have been reconstructed but no one live there anymore. Those who still fish eels in the lagoon use them only as warehouses and one of them hosts a small exhibition about the flora and the fauna of this wet area you can discover with guided tours led by staff of the Conservatoire du Littoral (Conservatory of the Coast).

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
 Wine tasting
Besides, several wine estates wait for amateurs in the near surroundings of Canet. Rightly the most renowned, the Domaine Lafage organizes during summer tasting, musical aperitifs, evenings focusing on wine pairing with local cheeses and dishes as well as wine tasting diners accompanied by jazz concerts. All these events take place in the estate beautiful 15th century farmhouse. At the Chateau de Rey, focus is put on art through frequent painting and sculpture exhibitions held in the cellar. As to the Chateau Esparrou, it provides tourists whishing to make a self-guided tour of the vineyards with a MP3 giving them information along a 2 km long path offering fine views of the lagoon and the Canigou. A loop you can make on foot, on mountain bike as well as with pony rides during summer. In addition, booklets with games including quiz are available for kids and every Wednesday a counsellor leads tours aimed at families and focusing on environment.

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
 Beach clubs
Those who whish to spend more time in the vineyards can buy picnic baskets at the cellar.
Horse rides through the vineyards as well as through the hinterland woods and marshes are also possible through the Tourist Office. Lastly, the Flamants Roses hotel boasts a modern and well-equipped thalassotherapy centre. It is located in the south part of Canet, the best area of town if you are looking for a quiet stay a bit away from the summer crowd.
Of course, most of the tourists mainly come to Canet-en-Roussillon to swim and sunbath and the beach offers both free public areas and private ones ran by a dozen of beach clubs. In addition, there is a swimming centre that comprises a 25 m indoor pool and an outdoor heated Olympic-size pool Where French champion Laure Manaudou trained for years.

Canet-en-Roussillon © T.Joly
 Sunset cruise
A wide range of water sports are also available such as sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle, kite surf and fishing as well as beach activities like beach volley and beach soccer. Scuba diving is also possible and dive centres take their clients further south, along the Vermeille coast where the seabed is more rocky and better stocked with fish. Last but not the least, Canet boasts the largest fleet of jet skis along the Mediterranean French coast and as soon as you go off shore the sea becomes more choppy making the ride fun. More over, the view over the coast and the Pyrenees mountain range is gorgeous. A panorama you can enjoy more leisurely every late afternoon with a one and half hour cruise on a large catamaran that ends with the sunset. But it’s far from being the unique evening entertainment option.

Canet-en-Roussillon / Fideua © T.Joly
 Local gastronomy
The town counts a large number of bars and restaurants where you can taste the local specialties like the fideua, a paella made with pastas and not rice. A dish you should try. If you want to spend the night under the stars, two beach clubs are open on the evening. As to the big-time gamblers, they can spend the night at the casino that offers roulette, black jack, poker, slot machines and so on. But the epicentre of the nightlife is the boulevard Cassanyes and a few adjacent streets where are concentrated most of the restaurants, musical bars and late opening shops. An area with a festive and friendly atmosphere, where families can hang out safely. Contrary to other seaside resorts, Canet-en-Roussillon has indeed only two campgrounds, both 5 stars one, and troublemakers coming from the suburbs of big cities head for destinations offering cheap accommodation

April 10, 2014
Thierry Joly