Spanish and French Venice: Empuriabrava and Port Grimaud
The laurels of Venice haunt many cities of the world, however, today you can find your own boat or yacht in the historical palazzo, which you can reach not only through endless streets, but also park your boat or yacht directly in front of the house. The main successors of this approach were two resorts – the Spanish Empuriabrava and the French Port Grimaud.
Empuriabrava, which is located near the French border on the Costa Brava in the north-east of Catalonia, was built in almost ten years from 1964 to 1975. surrounded by Ampurdan Natural Park on the shores of the Gulf of Roses in the Mediterranean Sea. The city was created on the principle of maximum comfort for one-time owners of houses at the water’s edge and yachts.
Upon completion of urban planning, the future resort was richly cut by canals with a total length of about 24 km (first place in the world), which became the main transport arteries of the city. It is not surprising that Empuriabrava soon became especially popular not only for owners of local real estate and lovers of water walks, but also among yachtsmen due to the sufficiently strong and steady winds in the area. Many of the athletes subsequently purchased property here for themselves or rent it annually during their holidays.
Variety of life
Today, this city, similar to a residential harbor due to the dense network of canals, which are water streets, has become a real center of tourism for people with high incomes. On the banks of the canals are luxurious villas with their own moorings, where yachts and boats from the best yacht catalogs are moored at the very entrance. True, unlike Venice, you can also travel around Empuriabrava by car – this fact makes the city attractive for a large circle, because not all family members may be approached by water transport or the weather is not suitable for traveling on water.
The surroundings of Empuriabrava are also notable for medieval villages and beaches, from which you can easily reach objects with a rich historical heritage of world significance. It is interesting that this resort town was also loved by French fishermen who gladly come to the waters near Empuriabrava – large bass, catfish, pike, carp and other types of freshwater fish are found in the Boadella reservoir.
Classic lovers can spend the whole day in the Ampurdan National Park, which surrounds Empuriabrava. It has both walking and cycling trails, and during walks you can watch the birds and animals of the park. Fans of extreme water sports will find here sky and kite surfing, water skiing, diving, paragliding or parachuting, as the Costa Brava Skydiving Center (CPCB-Centro de Paracaigudisme Costa Brava) is located in Empuriabrava.
Due to the many advantages of Empuriabrava and its exclusivity, among the offers that can be found today in the local real estate market, the cost of housing more often exceeds 1 million euros. For this amount, you can usually buy a four-bedroom house with a footage of about 200 sq.m with its own pier and pool. But there are no less picturesque villas with a similar footage in the range of 600,000 – 800,000 euros. For the same amount, you can even buy an apart hotel with 10 rooms with a total area of about 1025 sq. M with its own garden.
Although French fishermen love to visit the waters of Empuriabrava, however, France also has its own interpretation of Venice, which is located in the bay in the south of the country between the legendary Saint-Tropez and Saint-Maxim and is called Port Grimaud. This resort was also, like Empuriabrava, built in the 60s of the last century according to a similar principle – to combine the sea, houses and yachting into a single whole. Port Grimaud was built on stilts, with canal streets, with houses of individual buildings in the Mediterranean style, differing in both architecture and color.
Today it is difficult to imagine that a little more than half a century ago there was a completely wetland here, generously chosen by mosquitoes and ducks – the latter were especially popular for hunting. Due to the architects’ comprehensive approach to harmonious development, local real estate objects did not visually differ from houses in neighboring towns, as a result of which Port Grimaud was included in the list of world architectural heritage of the twentieth century.
Now these moving houses on the water with mooring rings and private pontoons are the dream of not only lovers of the sea, but also connoisseurs of good relaxation in an original place. Today it has everything that a modern resort needs – numerous shops, restaurants, beaches, a winery and picturesque landscapes. Port Grimaud now holds about 2,200 berths at its berths, and the maximum length of vessels is 55 meters.