Villefranche-de-Conflent Things to Do

  • One of the corner towers
    One of the corner towers
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  • Rock display
    Rock display
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  • A base for the Speleo Club
    A base for the Speleo Club
    by iandsmith

Most Recent Things to Do in Villefranche-de-Conflent

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    Vauban

    by iandsmith Written May 18, 2012
    Some of Vauban's handiwork

    If you're interested in history, Vauban is worth some boning up on.
    This fascinating man changed sides during his career and was a greatly influential engineer during the reign of Louis XIV.
    Though wounded several times he proved to be a courageous man and very inventive, coming up with a technique known as ricochet fire and inventing the bayonet.
    During his illustrious career he fortified over 160 towns, often using new designs of his own invention.

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    Pont Saint Pierre

    by iandsmith Written May 18, 2012
    Pont Saint Pierre at Villefranche-en-Conflent
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    I did but see it passing by.....well, actually I did first up but then, when I got off Le Petit Jaune (litte yellow train), I drove over to the village specifically to get a picture of it and then ended up spending a couple of hours in the delightful village.
    However, without the Pont Saint Peirre, a genuine 13th century bridge, I would never have bothered. There's something about those old humpback bridges that does it for me; they have an unmistakeable air of authenticity that I find attractive; coming, as I do, from a country where we have no architecture before the 19th century.

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    Shopping in Villefranche

    by iandsmith Updated May 18, 2012
    Streets of Villefranche-en-Conflent
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    There are lots of arty/crafty shops in the two streets that comprise the village so it's a pleasure to walk up one and down the other, taking time out for a cuppa as we did on the way.
    You might keep an eye out for the plaques indicating the trade that hang above the doorways, as shown in pic 2.

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    Vauban's work

    by iandsmith Written Apr 25, 2012
    The final shape of the walls
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    The fortifications that were added by Vauban (1633-1707) consist of 12 groups of fortified buildings and sites along the western, northern and eastern borders of France. They were designed by him and were added in 2008 to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
    Villefranche is an outstanding example of his handiwork.

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    Pont St. Pierre

    by iandsmith Written Apr 23, 2012

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    Fort Libera towers over all
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    In the 19th Century, Napoleon III ordered extensive building works, notably the construction of the underground passage "of a thousand steps" which links Villefranche de Conflent to Fort Liberia via 775 steps (starting point by the Pont St Pierre, a Roman bridge).

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    The confluence

    by iandsmith Written Apr 23, 2012

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    Gorgeous mediaeval stone bridge over the Tet

    Founded in 1090 by Guillaume Raymond, Count of Cerdagne, the wonderful setting is at the confluence of the Cady and the Tet with steep cliffs all around. Over the centuries the fortifications were added to until finished by Vauban.
    Classed as one of the 'Most Beautiful Villages in France', Villefranche is one of the 14 Vauban sites retained for UNESCO World listing.

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    Background

    by iandsmith Written Apr 23, 2012

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    One of several petite bridges
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    The small town was built in 1090 on the initiative of the Count Guillaume-Raymond de Cerdagne. The ramparts of Villefranche-de-Conflent have kept their original layout and the medieval essence. The ramparts were strengthened and enlarged by Roi d'Aragon in the 13th century to use it as an outlying post. But Vauban gave it its actual aspect in the 17th century when six bastions were added. Vauban was also the man responsible for the dominant stronghold of fort Liberia that towers way above the town.

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    Petit Train Jaune - Little Yellow Train

    by zadunajska8 Written Jan 5, 2012

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    Little Yellow Train
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    The name says it all really. It's a train which is little and yellow. But it goes through some fantastic mountain scenery in the French Pyrenees and because it's such a little train it gets really close to some of the scenery and you can feel it even more if you get on one of the open air carriages which run in the summer. You pass over some amazing feats of bridge building on the journey but it's probably not for those with a bad head for heights.

    The route runs from Villefranch-de-Conflent to Tour-de-Carol near the Spanish border. Travelling the entire route would take about 3 hours non stop, but a better idea would be to go a shorter distance on the train and get off at one of the other stations, explore the area and then travel back later.

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    Fort Liberia

    by tompt Written Sep 24, 2003

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    fort Liberia

    In addition to strengthening the town walls of Villefranche, Vauban also constructed a detached fort up on Mount Belloc. This was achieved in order both to dominate the town and to deny to any enemy the opportunity to do likewise. This very impressive detached work is called Fort Liberia.

    To get to fort Liberia one can walk around the mountain or take the 742 step stairs, which are carved in the mountain and completely covered. We walked around on our way up, and took the stairs on our way back down to the city.

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    Saint Jaques church

    by tompt Written Sep 24, 2003
    St JAques church, Villefranche-de-conflent

    Do visit the small but lovely St Jaques church.
    Behind the pink-marbled fa├žade you will find a very modest looking interior. The beautiful altarpiece is made by the Catalan Master Sunyer.
    Several pieces in this church date from the 13th and 14th century.

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    The portals

    by iandsmith Written May 16, 2012
    Portal with the workings
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    You'll probably enter through the Porte de France, built during Louis XVI's reign, which is to the left of the entrance the counts used to use.

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    the marble

    by tompt Written Sep 24, 2003

    Throughout Villefranche a lot of pink marble is used. This is the entrance to the St Jaques church. Notice the fine sculpture work.
    The marble comes from the area.

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