Located where the Pyrenees Mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea, Banyuls-sur-Mer is a coastal commune in southern France. It lies a stone’s throw from the country’s border with Spain and boasts a wide sweep of sand and a Mediterranean-themed botanical garden among its attractions.
Things to do in Banyuls-sur-Mer
On the promenade of Banyuls-sur-Mer is the Biodiversarium, a modern aquarium that houses a fascinating collection of Mediterranean marine life and plants. In addition to tanks designed to reflect the natural environment of local species, the Biodiversarium also houses laboratories and research aquariums, some of which are accessible to the public.
Also not to miss is the Mediterranean du Mas de la Serre Garden, which is nestled on a hill overlooking the Baillaury Valley. It showcases more than 500 plant species from destinations with a Mediterranean climate, such as South Africa and California. Stretch your legs on the Discovery Trail that winds its way through the ornamental gardens and check to see what temporary exhibitions are currently taking place.
A short drive inland from Banyuls-sur-Mer is the Musee Maillol, which occupies the former farm of the French sculptor, Aristide Maillol. It was where he spent the last years of his life and where he is buried today. Admire the bronze and terracotta sculptures that are on display, alongside paintings, lithographs and drawings by the artist, then step inside a recreated room from Maillol’s studio in Marly-le-Roi.
Getting around Banyuls-sur-Mer
Banyuls-sur-Mer is around 30 minutes’ drive from Perpignan and 2.5 hours from Montpellier. Perpignan–Rivesaltes Airport is 40 minutes away and has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Regular trains connect to the Banyuls-sur-Mer railway station and the town is small enough to explore on foot.