Not Spain Not France but Catalunya

I wrote about our trip to the hot sulphur bathes at St Thomas in Catalunya Nord but I want to add a few photos `and some more information about this region. Before living here I had never heard of Catalunya Nord. Looking at a map I would have thought the area, sometimes known as Rosselló (Roussillion), and which includes Perpinyà (Perpignan), was in France…..and officially it is but it is also an area claimed by Catalans as part of Catalunya. In 1659 this part of the region was handed over to France as part of the Treaty of the Pyranees. This may seem like a long time ago but an important factor in this is that Català is still spoken here although French is the official language. I felt aware of the Catalan influence here but I also noticed that most people were speaking French. As always, there has been a history of repression of Català – Louis XIV forbade its use in official documents in 1700, it was banned in schools until the 1950s and it was only in 2007 that the Pyranees-Orientale Council proclaimed Català as one of the languages of the department, alongside French and Occitan, to try and promote it in public life and education.
In the market in Prada there was a stall which proclaimed its Catalan identity – we bought some very delicious potatoesThe area is dominated by the mountain called Canigó (Canigou), 2785m We set out to climb to the top but after van problems (not accustomed to climbing so high over 20 km of unmade up road), and the arrival of a thick sheet of mist just as we neared the topwe turned back and will have to go another day to feel the high that rewards you at the summit.This is one of the mountain villages that dot the landscape. Now I knew I wasn’t in ‘Spain’ as it is not surrounded by a horrible ‘urbanisation’ like so many places on this side of the border. Perhaps France has stronger rural protection laws or at least has not had the history of Francoist encouragement of unregulated development.

Free Updates!

Get the latest posts from the blog delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required

4 thoughts on “Not Spain Not France but Catalunya

  1. Montañas de Canigó
    frescas son y regaladas
    Sobretot ara l’estiu
    Car les aigües són geladas

    Never knew where this mountain was and always wanted to visit it. Thanks again for your blog Kate, it’s inspiring

  2. Michael what a lovely comment and thanks for the song – I didn’t know it but Pep started to sing it as soon as I showed him your message. What a nice present you sent me! It is worth the walk up the mountain and you can go and have a hot mineral bath afterwards – what more can anyone want?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *