© Elsa & Cyril
Racou Beach

a corner of Paradise

Racou Beach

The word “Racou” means “the corner” in Catalan.
Located at the junction of the rocky coast and the sandy beach, it is one of the typical places of the Argelès coastline.

Le Racou

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A family atmosphere
To the south of Argelès-Plage, at the point where the last foothills of the Albère mountains fall into the Mediterranean, the sandy coastline forms a cove where the hamlet of Racou nestles. More than a simple district, this place is almost a village in its own right and has kept its family atmosphere.

Narrow sandy streets
The white houses form narrow, shady streets through which floats a deliciously retro atmosphere; it is good to swim or walk along the rocks to discover tiny, wild coves.

Between sea and mountains
One of the most beautiful beaches in the region. Originally, there were only a few wooden cabins to welcome bathers. The first “hard” facilities appeared in the 1930s. Le Racou has kept its modest dimensions, and it is pleasant to sit on the terraces of the cafés and restaurants.

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Racou Beach

An atypical

history

A few rows of houses within reach of the sea and “coups d’est”; an atypical history; a community spirit that has never died out: welcome to Le Racou, so close and so far from the town centre, at the foot of the rocky coast.

“Racho”

The first mentions of Racou (“Racho”) in official texts date back to the 16th century. The place is above all known for its watering place, ideally situated on the road leading to Collioure (the current road known as the Corniche did not yet exist).

Early 20th century

A few cottages; a few walkers in their Sunday best: tourism has not yet germinated in the slightest spirit. Le Racou is still free of any trace of “modernity”, as if left in peace by man.

1930s

There were very few owners in this area: the Argelès-sur-Mer town hall rented out plots to the most destitute. These were put up for sale after the Second World War.

Late 1940s

Iron spikes; submerged concrete pyramids… The stigmata of the recently ended world war are not visible on this postcard, but they are very real.
Indeed, the Germans, who feared a landing on the Catalan coast, had transformed Le Racou into a sort of maritime “Siegfried line”. A strategic error: on 15 August 1944, the Allies set foot on the beaches of Provence.

50s & 60s

Modernity is on the march. The “beach train” brings more and more visitors every summer. Buildings multiply, but only 5 or 6 families live there permanently. Shops remained open all year round: the Colomine family’s grocery shop, Margot and Joseph Mallet-Ferrer’s bar and restaurant La Caravelle.

The present day

Le Racou has not lost its original soul…

In spite of progress, the demographic explosion (about a hundred families live here all year round) and the development of tourism, Le Racou has not lost its original soul. It is also time to protect the environment. A few years ago, the Racou site was the subject of an ambitious rehabilitation and development programme carried out by the Conservatoire du Littoral. Real estate projects are being put on hold.

Le Racou free commune

14th July 1957. The people of Le Racou hoped to make their revolution. They feel more and more abandoned by the Argelesian municipality. Anger rumbles. On this bank holidays, the Free Commune of Racou is proclaimed by Astruc, deputy mayor at the time. Six years later, a putsch “for fun” put an end to the adventure. A picrocholine war? far from it… The episode allowed Racou to establish its ideological and cultural particularities, which, as much as its exceptional living environment, nourish its charm…

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