Unique in France, the Marine reserve of Cerbère-Banyuls sur Mer

Created in 1974 along the Côte Vermeille, at the foot of the Albères massif (foothills of the Pyrenees), the Nature Reserve is managed by the Departmental Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales. It is located between the Grosse Island at the exit of the port of Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cape Peyrefite near the center of Cerbere. Stretched out over 6.5KM on shore and 2KM off shore, a total area of 650 hectares of sea.

It has specific objectives: 

  • Preserve original habitats and their specific diversity 
  • In order to maintain the conservation objectives, human activities are kept under control
  • Have a pedagogical and cultural interest to raise public awareness.


Founded in 1881, the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer (OOB), better known as the "Arago Laboratory", is a privileged place for the study of marine biology and oceanography in the Region. Located on a rocky coast and close to the Spanish border, it benefits from an exceptional environment due to the diversity of its biotopes, its fauna and flora both in the marine and terrestrial domains. Became a laboratory of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in 1967, and an internal school of the University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) in 1985, because of its national missions in the field of observation, the laboratory quickly adopted the status of Ocean Observatory of the National Institute of Sciences of the Universe (INSU).