Tautavel is a commune located in the northeast of the Pyrénées-Orientales department, in the Occitania region (France). As part of local Catalan geography, the village is in the comarca or natural region of Roussillon.

Historically and culturally, the commune is in the Corbières massif, a limestone chaos forming the transition between the Massif Central and the Pyrenees.

Exposed to a Mediterranean climate, it is drained by the Verdouble, the Maury, Rec del Fenouill, the Traou de l’Ouille stream and various other small streams. The town has a remarkable natural heritage: a Natura 2000 site (the “Basses Corbières”), a protected area (the “Serrat de la Narède”) and seven natural areas of ecological, fauna and flora interest.

Tautavel is a rural commune which has 877 inhabitants in 2021. Its inhabitants are called Tautavellois or Tautavelloises.

Tourism and main attractions

In the north of the district, on the southern slope of the Planal de la Cauna d’Aragó, there is the Caune de l’Arago, where the oldest human remains in France have been found, the man of Tautavel.

In July 2018, during an excavation organized as every summer on this site, a milk tooth from a child aged 5 to 6 years old, and 560,000 years old, was discovered. It is the oldest child’s tooth discovered in France, making its owner one of the oldest inhabitants of Europe. This tooth was named Arago 149. The tooth is still studied before joining the Tautavel museum.

Tautavel Castle. Situated in a rocky falcon in the southeast and above the current town, Tautavel Castle is in ruins, but it retains quite significant remains. There was also the church of Santa Maria del Castell de Tautavel.

The Far Tower. The Torre del Far is located to the southeast of the village, at an altitude of 485 m. The Torre del Far is a medieval watchtower and Romanesque construction. It was built before 1341. It was listed as a historic monument in 1986. It is accessible by a hiking trail.

Moretti’s “wall”. Fresco originally made for the Halles de Paris, work by Raymond Moretti. With a prehistoric theme, it represents the skull of the man of Tautavel and it has been placed in the village since 2002. It measures 4 meters in height and almost 40 meters in length.

Religious buildings

  • Church of Saint Genis of Alento.
  • Sainte-Marie Church of Tautavel Castle.
  • Church of Saint Martin de la Roca.
  • Saint-Génis Church of Tautavel. The Saint-Génis de Tautavel church is the parish church, located in the middle of the old village. It is mentioned in 1211, when it depended on the diocese of Narbonne. It was rebuilt in the 19th century and nothing remains of the Romanesque building.

Shortest distances by car

From Paris: 8 hr 8 min (859 km) via A71 and A75

From Toulouse: 2 hr 17 min (217 km) via A61

From Marseille: 3 hr 29 min (327 km) via A9

From Monaco: 5 hr 8 min (509 km) via A8 and A9

From Andorra: 3 hr 2 min (159 km) via D117

From Madrid: 8 hr 12 min (827 km) via A-2, AP-2 and AP-7

From Moscow: 37 hr (3,434 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 18 hr 50 min (1,812 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 29 hr (2,761 km) via E70

From Bern: 7 hr 17 min (766 km) via A9

Main information

Area: 53 km2

Population: 877

Coordinates: 42°48′55″N 2°44′50″E

Language: French

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here Andorra travel guide

Read more: The cities of the Pyrenees and around with Andrew Morato ...