Font-Romeu is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the Eastern Pyrenees (Pyrénées-Orientales) on the Cerdagne plateau, 40 km from Andorra, 87 km from Perpignan (France) and 170 km from Barcelona (Spain, Catalonia). The city is “the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees” with panoramic views, clean air, and bright light. It is located at an altitude of 1800 m above sea level.
The city has about 6,500 inhabitants, with about 2,050 of those being permanent residents.
Font-Romeu is well-known for its high reputation in the world of sports and tourism since it was here in the early 20 s and was one of the first ski resorts in France.
Font Romeu is known as “the land of champions”. The city is famous for the fact that outstanding athletes lived and trained here: Martin Fourcade, a French biathlete who won four Olympic medals (two gold and two silver), 10 world champion titles, 10 crystal globes and 63 individual victories; Kilian Jornet, who is known as a “heaven rider”, a professional mountaineer and athlete, a long distance runner who made history thanks to the fastest ascent and descent of the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali, and Everest; the famous French swimmer Camille Lacourt, French athlete Colette Besson.
In 1920-1930, Font-Romeu was called the “Winter Sports Palace”, where the world elite loved to come, as it was here that one of the first and most prestigious ski resorts in France appeared. At present, it has 103 km of cross-country skiing tracks (22 runs: 7 “green”, 10 “blue” and 5 “red”), 41 downhill ski slopes (15 “green”, 10 “blue “, 7” red “and 9” black “). It is about 50 km in total. The slopes are maintained by 500 snow cannons, and the resort has one snow park and four ski schools. The resort also has three separate slopes for slalom skiers and a stadium for biathlon. The resort also provides the opportunity to go night skiing – both for amateurs and for competitors with the participation of, as a rule, the Northern European countries.
By looking at the number of ski passes that were sold, we can see, as I said, during last year’s 2016-2017 season almost 700 thousand tourists visited. In general, in winter and summer, the city recorded up to 1 million people who spent at least one night here.
The Town Hall of Font-Romeu is one of the oldest buildings that has recently been completely renovated. Mayor of the city – a former journalist, politician Jean-Louis Demelin.
In recent years there has been a tendency for wooden chalets to be built in the town, including many log houses brought in from Finland and Canada, as well as an aged tree.
Each square meter of land without road access or infrastructure costs about 50 euros. When those factors are included, the price increases to a starting price of 200 euros per square meter.
Here there is also a casino with a roulette table and many slot machines, restaurants, a cinema, and a disco for entertainment.
STAPS is a scientific and technical university of physical activity in sport (Sciences de Technique, des Activités Phtisiques et Sportives).
In total, there are 21 universities in France which specialise in the professional training of athletes. The University of Font-Romeu is the most famous and unique because it offers these courses at high altitudes.
The purpose of STAPS is to develop the science of sports and sports culture, help students to determine their “training routes” depending on their skills and requests, as well as provide a high level of professional training. The university offers training in four faculties: sports professional training, coaching and teaching, physical education for working with people with disabilities, as well as sports management and organization of sports events.
Students under 25 years of age don’t pay any tuition fees. The university now has 500 students. The training program is 3 years long, plus a 2 years master’s program. The university has a course in English.