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LLIVIA - Spain in France ENCLAVES

Location - Western Europe; Capital - Madrid; Population - Llivia - 1,700; Spain - 46 million; Currency - Euro MORE ENCLAVES

It's a scenic four hour train journey from Toulouse to the French Pyrenean village of Latour-de-Carole. From there either take a train and bus via the Spanish (Catalan) town of Puigcerda or head direct to Llivia by taxi. In summer the Yellow Train is an alternative. Llivia, 1,224m above sea level in the Pyrenees, was my fifth and final western European enclave, separated from the rest of Spain by a 1.7km corridor - April 2014.

- Unlike other enclaves, Llivia is pretty much exclusively Spanish, with few dealings with surrounding France
- Economy and taxes are Spanish
- Phone dialling codes as well as postal codes are Spanish
- Legislation is also Spanish, as are the police, allowed access from mainland Spain through France via the 'neutral road' from Puigcerda
- Although Llivia is part of Spain it's fiercely Catalan; locals speak Catalan not Spanish, signs are in Catalan etc

Historical background: In 1659 the Treaty of the Pyrenees ceded various parts of Spain near the French border to France. However the treaty stated that only villages were to be transferred to France. Spain argued that, because Llivia was the ancient capital of Cerdanya, it was a city not a village. And so it was that the 12.84km² Catalan territory of Llivia, part of Cerdanya and the province of Girona, remained part of Spain.


euroThe Euro is the currency used in mainland Spain, Llivia as well as France










llivia67Climb up to the castle for a great view of Llivia and the surrounding peaks of the Pyrenees - Llivia


llivia84The spire belongs to the 15th century Esglesia Nostra Senyora dels Angels (Church of Our Lady of the Angels) - Llivia


llivia83The red and yellow colours of the Catalan flag flutter above the castle - Llivia














llivia75The 'neutral road' leading away from Llivia crosses into France a few hundred metres after the final buildings on the left, then back into Spanish territory at Puigcerda.
The distance between Llivia and mainland Spain is less than 2km.












llivia69llivia120The tiny hamlet of Gorguja is visible from the castle. Some of the land to the left of the main road is in France


llivia78The castle remains date to the 9th to 15th centuries - Llivia


llivia77You can also spot Cereja from the castle, a village 10 minutes walk from the enclave's centre














llivia5Back in the centre of Llivia, the Bernat de So tower with the church behind














llivia15Again we see the church, with the red walls of the Municipal Museum on the right - Llivia


llivia57In Roman times Llivia was known as Julia Lybica but this is all that remains, just behind the church


llivia46The old quarter - Llivia















llivia17The Municipal Museum contains the Esteve Pharmacy. It's also the Town Hall, which for Pasquetes 2014 hosted old guys playing dominoes and drinking wine - Llivia














llivia21Esteve Pharmacy was one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, founded at the beginning of the 15th century. It closed in 1942 and is now a museum - Llivia


llivia23Albarellos, the original ceramic storage jars at Esteve Pharmacy - Llivia


llivia2A mosaic of Lampegia, 'Princesa de la pau i de l'amor' (Princess of peace and love) - Llivia














llivia25The Llivia coat of arms adorned with the hilltop castle


















llivia27The coat of arms carved into a wall on Carrer del Raval - Llivia


llivia29Placa Major is the heart of Llivia, edged with bars and restaurants - Llivia


llivia32Me (second left) posing in Can Ventura with the very kind and welcoming Jordi and his wife, alongside Sylvia and Montserrat. Jordi and his sister Montserrat run the Can Ventura restaurant with their father on Placa Major - Llivia













llivia33Montserrat and Sylvia with friends and party revellers at Bar el Jardi on Placa Major - Llivia














llivia34Luckily for me I visited Llivia during Easter celebrations for Pasquetes 2014, and this was the warm up in Bar el Jardi


llivia106Everyone then headed off to the local sports centre to celebrate Pasquetes


llivia107The sports centre hosted a live band and also set up a makeshift bar - Llivia


llivia37The following afternoon saw traditional dance and music on Placa Major - Llivia














llivia38All participants welcome, young and old - Llivia















llivia42Llivia's streets are pretty much deserted for the afternoon siesta


llivia50The narrow old streets around Hotel Bernat de So - Llivia


llivia52A Llivia road sign, with the coat of arms in the top left














llivia28The starred Estalada flag, supporting Catalan independence, flies outside an apartment in Llivia














llivia59Carrer del Raval, the main shopping street - Llivia



llivia43Carrer del Raval below the Pyrenees - Llivia


llivia95El Segre river flows through Llivia














llivia89It's strange that Llivia doesn't have many links with surrounding France - and that people don't really mix - even though the neighbouring territory is also Catalan













llivia93The Museu de la Pagesia (Peasantry Museum) is mix of agricultural and rural everyday life exhibits. Eclectic is a word that springs to mind... - Llivia


llivia90The Lybica brewery, home to Llivia's very own beer!



llivia97This was the only visible border sign I came across, at the French town of Estavar to the east of Llivia, a five minute walk from the brewery














llivia98France and Estavar on the left, Spain and Llivia on the right - Llivia














llivia104Ermita de Sant Guillem in Segre Park - Llivia




'A Unique Enclave in the Pyrenees'. Welcome signs on the road from Gorguja to Llivia


llivia118The Pyrenees from the walking trail to Gorguja















The only border stones I came across were just off the Gorguja path. 'LL' for Llivia and an 'E' for Estavar, France? Llivia



llivia129Snow capped mountains of the Pyrenees, across the Cerdanya Valley from Cereja


llivia141Cereja is a village within the enclave that has many second homes of people from Barcelona













llivia132Indeed the village had a feel of no-one at home. Except for annoying barking guard dogs - Cereja














llivia149Picturesque countryside at the entrance to Llivia



llivia147Goodbye to Llivia as I take a walk to mainland Spain



llivia152The 'neutral road' is a continuation of Avenguda de Catalunya which runs through the centre of Llivia to Puigcerda. On googlemaps it's called Le Village













llivia155This is the slice of France that divides Llivia from the rest of Spain














llivia159Walk across the El Raur river bridge and back into Spain at Puigcerda


llivia182I grabbed a taxi from Puigcerda to take me back to the French town of Latour-de-Carole, from where trains go direct to Toulouse and on to Paris and London



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LINKS - Wikipedia entry - Welcome to Llivia - Enclaves


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