Les ponts du diabledefault
©Les ponts du diable
Historical heritageThe other historical heritagesof Céret

The other historical heritages of Céret

Discover the doors of the city and many other heritages !

Porte de France in Céret and la Maison Companyo

In the Middle Ages, arriving from the Roussillon plain, travellers would cross the Pont du Diable and mount the Carrer Vell (the current Rue de la République) to reach town of Ceret. Greeting the travellers, residents and traders, here stood the Porte de France; two towers facing France which formed the main entrance to the town. On each side of the gate were the ramparts that surround the town. In earlier times, a drawbridge made it possible to cross a ditch which prevented access. A second gate, the Porte d’Espagne, opened onto the ramparts towards the south.

Just in front of the gate, la Place du Barri was home to the street vendors and the curious who sat here to watch the world go by. Even in the XIX th century, this was still a place filled with life where religious festivals and processions, central to the local culture took place.

Porte de France, listed as a Historic Monument in 1949.

The Companyo House, an Italian neo-renaissance style facaded building which stands in the square, belonged to a notable family who came from the town of Céret. In the 19th century, as the town was being adorned with a run of plane trees lining the main roads, this mansion, which was partly built on the old ramparts, was decorated with terracotta objects industrially manufactured by the Virebent house in Toulouse. These helped form this majestic facade which now acts as the backdrop for many events which take place in the town…

The Companyo House is now home to the town library.

Porte d'Espagne in Céret

For greater protection, the town was developed under the Kingdom of Mallorca and surrounded by ramparts. Two main doors were then built to allow residents and traders to access the town: one facing the direction of France, the other in the direction of Spain, hence their names.

From the 19th century, the town started to become more gentrified. The old ramparts were knocked down or transformed into houses and mansions. A pedestrian space was made especially for walking under the newly-planted plane trees, the Passejada . At the same time, the water of the Tech river which arrived by the irrigation channel was re-directed into the streets  of the old centre to make sure they were kept clean. A new physiognomy took a hold of the town which was gradually modernizing.

La Maison du Patrimoine Françoise Claustre was established in 1995 in a tower of the Porte d’Espagne. It is an archaeological museum which brings together findings from excavations carried out in Vallespir and Aspres by archaeologist Françoise Claustre, whose fame is owed notably to her having been taken hostage in Chad in the 1970s.

The War Memorial

"La Douleur"

“The Pain”, 1922, work of Aristide Maillol

In 1919, the town of Céret turned to the northern Catalan sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) for the creation of its war memorial in memory of the 151 citizens who died for their country during the first World War.

Simple, strong, Catalan, the woman in this memorial invites contemplation. It pays tribute to the many women who carried families, farms and factories in the absence of the men who left for the front. An expression of deep feeling and human pain is perfectly captured by Maillol.

A series of preparatory drawings were donated to the Museum of Modern Art at the time of the memorial’s creation.

It was listed as a Historic Monument in 1994.

Fountain of the 9 jets

Erected in 1313 under the reign of King Sanç I of Mallorca, this original fountain with its 9 jets is the symbol of a territory marked by revolts: in the 15th century, King Ferdinand II of Aragon crowned the fountain with a lion emblem of Castile.

After the annexation of Roussillon (from the north of Catalonia) to France, on its base one sentence is inscribed: “Venite Ceretens, leo factus est gallus” (Come Cérétans, the (Spanish) lion becomes a (French) rooster). To strengthen the French hold on the local population, the lion’s head was turned towards the kingdom of France.

It is in this square that the terms of the Treaty of the Pyrenees were agreed in 1659.

The fountain was listed as a Historic Monument in 1910.

Le Castellas

Built on a promontory (a raised mass of land) which dominates Céret, a thick wall to the right of the frame and the base of a tower in the garden of Le Castellas are the only remains still visible of what was once a stately town castle (9th-10th centuries).

In 1916, the painter Pierre Brune (1887-1956) moved to Céret and decided to build his house on these castle ruins. From 1919, his house and workshop “Le Castellas” became a meeting place for his many artist friends; Soutine, Krémègne, Masson, Loutreuil …

All of Pierre Brune’s work pays testimony to his love of nature and to his attachment to Céret, which appear many times in his landscapes.

In 1948, with the help of Frank Burty Haviland, Pierre Camo and Michel Aribaud, and the support of the municipality, the project to create the Museum of Modern Art was launched. Appointed curator, Pierre Brune endeavoured to collect the works of the many artists who had stayed in Céret: Picasso and Matisse were among the first donors, with Picasso offering the town bowls with painted images of bullfighting, and Matisse a series of 14 drawings.

The museum was inaugurated on 18th June 1950.

Monument dedicated to the irrigation canal

On 2nd February  1753, the Municipal Council of Céret debated a request for the construction of a canal intended to water the many parts of the area. This project was significant because it involved the input of five municipalities in Vallespir: Amélie-les-Bains, Reynés, Céret, Saint-Jean-Pla-de-Corts and Maureillas. Finally, it took more than 100 years for the watering channel to be built. In 1866, it was a union of 8 farmers who financed the canal and allowed the irrigation of agricultural land. The water intake, captured from the Tech River, doubled agricultural production and contributed to the development of the cherry tree cultivation. These days, between March and October, over the 800 hectares which make the five municipalities participating in the project, more than 2,000 people benefit from the irrigation canal.

In order to pay tribute to the farmers who invested themselves physically as much as they had financially in the creation of this watering canal, on 30th March 1937 the town of Céret inaugurated a commemorative monument, the work of the sculptor Gustave Violet.

In the hall of Céret Mairie (town hall) the original terracotta panels have been kept, replaced on site by bronze copies.

La Catalane assise

This stone statue, made in 1923 by the Catalan sculptor Manuel Hugé known as Manolo (1872-1945), pays homage to the composer Déodat de Séverac, who died in Céret in March 1921 at the age of 48. Déodat de Séverac discovered Catalan music in Céret. In 1910, he composed “Héliogabale”, a lyrical tragedy in three acts, in which he introduced the Catalan cobla.

From an early age Manolo sculpted in the slums of Barcelona. In 1903, he left for Paris where he met the painter Pablo Picasso, the composer Isaac Albéniz, the painter Ignacio Zuloaga and his childhood friend Antoni Bofill. In 1909, he moved to Céret marking the beginning of the arrival in the area of several artists including Pablo Picasso in the summer of 1911 and Georges Braque a month later.