Culture and Identity
Located on the north of the Pyrénées Orientales, the Capcir Plateau is the highest cultivated plain in Europe . Facing north an south, this plateau is a geographical area where the climate differs from other neighboring valleys and plateaus.
Geography and history have conditioned the spirit and character of people strongly attached to their identity and to the Cataln Pyrenees. The highlight of the upper valley of the Aude, the plateau is dominated by the majestic peaks of Pérics (2820m) and Madras.
Located on the ancient route of the Via Francisca Superior Alet linking Llivia , Capcir represented in a zone bordering on two former counties, Cerdanya and Carcassonne, but also between two countries, France and Spain until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
The country formerly attached to Pagus Reddensis then to the Visigoth kingdom of Toulouse and Cerdagne county, it cannot be dissociated from Catalan melting pot, although from 1318 this land will be part of the Diocese of Alet Occitan until 1790.
The village of Les Angles, whose first mention dates back to the year 966, is built on the foothills of the Massif Llaret . It is the highest village of the plateau ( 1655m ) .It is set up around its ancient “Mansus” which became “Castrum” under Alfonso II of Aragon.
Property of the Lord Abbot of Saint - Michel de Cuixà XII to XVII century, the village has managed to develop through the forestry, agriculture and farming activity until 1964 when the economic activity gradually changed towards a tourist economy and winter sports..
The population fighting for centuries against the weather and working primarily with two seasons, has kept its Pyrenean particularism, language and Catalan identity .
The language with warm notes and the specific sounds of local music, the swinging colors, the harmonious traditinal costumes and the smell of the gastronomy come flirting with the quiet thousand tear old forest, cowbells herds, clean air and fragant meadows and the warm light of this corner of paradise.
Open Museum by the Romanesque architecture, Baroque villages, you may be surprised by a parade of the Giants or a procession like the old day. May be you will let yourself be captivated by the sweet scent of a " Chocolated " or an " Ouillade " unless the scent of cured and salted hams awaken your senses .
This is the Catalan Mountain.
An enchanting place where the tradition,culturedeal with the modernity of our mountain resort all the year round .
HISTORY OF THE SKI RESORT
The word Capcir traces its origin from the words« caput circii » meaning head of “cers”. The « cers » being the north wind, “la tramontane”. So the Capcir valley should be the region which faces the north wind.
This name, may have come from the inhabitants of either the « Conflent » or from « La Cerdagne », neighbours of the « Capcinois » who have always considered the Capcir, the country of archetypal cold. This part of France in the East of the Pyrénées (“Pyrénées Orientales”) is also called “the small European Siberia.
Situated on the ancient « Via Francisca Superiore » linking Alet to Livia, the Capcir was a part of Pagus reddensis (Razès), during the Wisigoths period, one of the six pagis forming the city of Roussillon, of which Ruscino (next to Perpignan) was the administrative centre, next to the south pagus confluentis (Conflent) and pagus livensis (Livia).
The Capcir was in a confusing position: part of the Cerdagne, its was dependant upon Razès which at the same time was ruled by the count of Conflent.
Furthermore, although the Capcir was under the jurisdiction of the county of Cerdagne, it depended on the spiritual power of the diocese of Narbonne (in 1106, the archbishop of Narbonne consecrated the altar of the church in Les Angles).
In 1117, the region of Cerdagne was under the rule of the count of Barcelone who already had the power over the whole of Catalogne. Capcir eventually became the possession of the kings of Aragon. King Alfons undertook to fortify the north border by building castles at the main crossing points.
In 1181, King Aragon authorized the priest of Saint Michel de Cuix to build fortresses on his land. The castle of Les Angles was built during the next century (13 century).
From 1162 to 1659, the Capcir as all other catalan land, was successively under control of the kingdom of Majorca, of Aragon and then the kingdom of Spain.
The Pyrénées treaty signed in 1659 put an end to the war between France and Spain. France offered to return to Spain the areas held in Catalogne but this did not include the return of the Roussillon.
Do not forget that the Capcir was a catalan land up to the treaty pf Pyrénées in 1659.
Les Angles is situated the furthest south of Capcir. It is this location that gave Les Angles its name, which came from the latin word « angulos » meaning out of the way place.
The oral tradition relates that the village of Les Angles was situated 300 m north of the present village above of the road of Formiguières, so called “l’Església Vella”, just after the last buildings.
The inhabitants moved within the fortification after its construction to be safer from the invading enemy.
In 1106, Richard, archbishop of Narbonne, at the request of the abbot Jocou (abbey next to Saint Paul de Fenouillet), consecrated the altar of the church of Saint Sauveur in Les Angles. It was a new church rebuilt on the site of the actual church.
In the 13th century, the inhabitants, running away from the enemy, gave up the area. They took refuge within the castle walls and built the actual town.
From 1355 to 1964, the size of the population had one’s ups and down. In 1900, the population was at its peak,(about 730 homes) Les Angles was then a dynamic village. But the wars and the movement of population from rural to urban areas drained progressively the village of its inhabitants (about 350 homes in 1960).
On 4 January 1964, Les Angles created a skiing resort. From then on, the economy improved from the tourism created, and the population of the village started to increase slowly but surely.
Today, Les Angles has a population permanently of 600 persons.