El Portal

Vivès, Pyrénées-Orientales
+33 (0)4 68 55 19 81
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Eco-friendly designer apartments around a courtyard, each with its outdoor space - 2 are great for couples. Hit the vineyard trails


3 places


Sleeping from 2 – 5

Children welcome
Babies welcome

The Experience

On the edge of charming little Vivès a cluster of well-renovated stone buildings is set round a central courtyard; three apartments open onto this warm space, each with its own entrance and outdoor spot; Mark and Fred, your discreet, friendly hosts, have their own house tucked to one side. Each apartment in this exemplary conversion is named after a musician, each has connections to Catalonia: this is the leitmotif of El Portal. Inside, white walls are the perfect background for bright Catalan-coloured cushions, sofas and throws; bathrooms and kitchens sparkle, beds are deeply comfortable, new wooden furniture mingles with brocante finds, many with a story to tell. Each apartment feels like home. Albéniz has its own integrated barbecue, Granados has a super terrace under a pergola with star jasmine and kiwi plants, vibrant Casals is a brilliantly designed studio. Music, high speed WiFi, satellite channels – you have the lot. Mark and Fred use eco-friendly cleaning products, natural soaps and organic produce, and have installed solar panels and a permaculture food forest in their field too. But best of all is the position: it’s five miles from beautiful Céret, close to the wine trails, and Spain is just over the border.


  • EV charger
  • Self check-in
  • Swimming pool
  • Hot tub
  • Garden
  • Open fire / woodburner
  • Breakfast included
  • Breakfast available
  • Meals available
  • Vegetarian meals
  • Oven
  • Parking on premises
  • Free parking nearby
  • Accessible by public transport
  • WiFi
  • Television
  • Central heating
  • Limited mobility
  • Wheelchair access
  • Mobile reception
  • Hob
  • Barbecue
  • Paid parking nearby
  • Air conditioning
  • Relaxation areas
  • Washing machine
  • Tennis court
  • Microwave oven
  • No smoking
  • Credit cards
  • Working farm
  • Owner has pets
  • Electricity included
  • Dishwasher
  • Pets welcome

Family friendly

  • Baby monitor
  • Books and toys
  • Children welcome
  • Babies welcome
  • Stair gates
  • High chair
  • Fire guard
  • Cot available


  • Pub/bar within 3 miles
  • Restaurant within 3 miles
  • Shop within 3 miles


  • Bikes available
  • Food courses
  • Kayaking
  • Other courses
  • Sailing
  • Surfing
  • Wild swimming

& pricing

Booking information

Check in
From 4pm
Check out
Booking restrictions
Minimum stay: 3 nights. 3 nights on weekdays. 3 nights at weekends. 3 nights in high season.
No smoking
Smoking not permitted anywhere in the property.
Owner has pets
Animals living on the property


Nightly price
from €58
Weekly price
from €350
Damage deposit
1 Apartment for 2
From €581 bed1 bedroom
1 Apartment for 5
From €1154 beds3 bedrooms
1 Apartment for 2
From €661 bed2 bedrooms



We stayed in the studio appartment Casals for 5 days in February and had the best of times enjoying the sunshine and lovely scenery. Fred was a great host he made sure we had everything we needed and gave us lots of information on things to do in the area. The appartment was really nice with all mod cons very clean and airy. We hope to be back later this year!

Kate, Guernsey

If you’re in search of peace, this tranquil place tucked away at the edge of the small village is for you. The surrounding woods are evergreen oak. Plenty of interesting local footpaths lead you to views of the Pyrenean foothills. Those who wish to tuck themselves away to read and relax need have no fear, there are plenty of places to indulge. The well-thought-out accommodation is quietly attractive and very comfortable, and your hosts, Fred and Mark, giving pertinent advice on places not to miss, are on hand to respond to questions, yet remain unobtrusive hosts.

Caroline, Puymirol, Lot et Garonne

Fred and Mark have created a haven tucked behind a giant wooden entrance door (el portal) that opens up into the secret courtyard beyond. The large airy apartment (Albeniz) is luxuriously appointed and equipped to enable a home from home feel in all departments (kitchen, lounge, study, bedrooms, bathrooms). Fred and Mark are caring and conscientious hosts. From advising on where to visit to bringing fresh croissants and pastries from the bakery on our first morning after a late night arrival the day before, they were dedicated to facilitating an enjoyable experience. Top marks!

Rich, Bristol

A super relaxing holiday. El Portal was very cosy, the surroundings are very charming and the towns nearby - from Céret to the coast to Argelès, Colliure, Port-Vendres and Banyuls - very "southern French". You can take advantage of the fact that Fred and Mark are very well versed in the restaurant scene. They gave us great tips. And if you're lucky, Mark will play the piano with the window open. Bach mostly. We felt very comfortable and enjoyed every day.

Lutz, Cologne, Germany

Great stay with our two donkeys at Fred & Mark's. They welcome you warmly and simply which matches perfectly with the authentic charm of their apartment in an old farmhouse, a stone's throw from the heart of a pretty little village bedded in verdant hills. Countless rambles to do in the surroundings before turning back into a cosy home, very well fitted and provided. You'll find anything! We'll turn back to El Portal with pleasure, as well as our donkeys who were accommodated in the orchard meadow, fully at their convenience! From our terrace, we could even see them grazing... Thanks again!!

Maracudja, montauriol

We spent 11 days in Albeniz which is beautifully furnished and very comfortable with a very well equipped kitchen, I think Fred and Mark have thought of everything you might need. They are friendly, quiet and helpful and not intrusive as they have their own separate part of the property. Fred popped over from time to time to tell us about the region and suggest places to visit and which restaurants were the best. There is such a variety of things to do in this area we'll have to go back, the lovely Racou beach, mountain villages, art galleries, long cycle tracks etc....

Sarah and Trevor, Hythe

We spent 6 days at El Portal and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Granados is a very tasteful and well thought out apartment. We appreciated the quality of the furnishings and fittings and the overall character of the property. Fred and Mark were unobtrusively helpful throughout and gave us great recommendations for places to visit and eat. We particularly enjoyed the mountain and coastal villages, the walks and the exposure to the Catalan way of life in the area. This is a great base and a lovely place to return to after many full days out and about.

Ruth & David, Surrey

Had a great stay at El Portal. Located in the pre-Pyrenees in the small village Vivés, it was the perfect getaway from the busy life in the city. I fell in love with the place itself, with a very calm and graceful kind of energy. Especially loved the small details in the architecture, like the sculptures and faces made of stone. The room was clean, beautiful, and fully equipped with anything I could have asked for. Frederic and Mark were super kind and very caring, it's easy to see how much love they have put into this place. Stayed for five days - would stay again.

Erik, The Hague

We had a lovely week in Albeniz, the largest of the apartments at El Portal, which suited our family of five well. Fred and Mark were kind and attentive hosts with good advice about the local area; they have clearly worked hard to create a lovely ambience within their apartments, with lots of good decorative touches to the place. We enjoyed discovering this region of France and its distinctive Catalan culture: Vivès is excellently situated to head up into the Pyrenees, down to the Mediterranean coast or across the boarder into Spain. With so much to discover, we are bound to return.

Peter, Edinburgh

We were a group of 8 adults and we stayed at El Portal for 3 nights. Everything was great ! We loved it ! The atmosphere, the quietness of the village, the beauty of the area, the beauty of the house, the decoration of each apartment is so beautiful ! The owners were very nice and gave us plenty of advises. El Portal is very well situated, we visited the small historical villages in the area, we went to Spain, we discovered and tasted great wines. I am really looking forward to staying at El Portal again, it was a great experience !

Véronique, Belgium

We had a great stay in Casals at El Portal, warmly hosted by Fred and Mark. The apartment is beautifully put together and is thoughtfully equipped. The 3 holiday apartments are cleverly arranged to feel separate. The location is fantastic - a short drive to the sea and a slightly longer drive over to the mountains, and Spain. Guest bikes are available. There is so much to do - swims, hikes, and exploring the links to artists who came to the area, as well as historical forts and monuments. Fred made great suggestions of how to make the best of stay.

Katherine, London

My husband and I stayed in the Granados apartment in July 2016 for a week. We very much appreciated the warm welcome we received from Fred and Mark. We had a very relaxing time staying in Vives and found the apartment well maintained/equipped and comfortable. Fred was particularly helpful with any queries we had about the local area and was attentive (but not intrusive) in checking periodically that everything was going ok. The apartment was a great location from which to explore the local area - we particularly enjoyed visiting the lake nearby as well as trips to Collioure.

Julie, London, UK

A superb experience! Comfortable, civilised and generously furnished. Best of all was the owners' gentle guidance and support making us feel more like friends than guests. Fred went out of his way to look after us, dropping in from time to time to check we were ok and chat about our experiences. The village of Vives is quiet and not far from the most wonderful (and warm!) swimming lake flanked by the hills and mountains of the Pyrenees. Ceret is a good, relaxing, beautiful small town to hang out and eat, with an impressive modern art museum. We would book again tomorrow. Bravo Fred and Mark!

Tony, London

Albeniz is a spacious, well appointed apartment and the perfect retreat for us. We woke to bird song and sun; the rooms were cool. We had access to two terraces, ideal for breakfasts and evening meals or simply for sitting and listening to the quietness . Fred and Mark, so helpful informing us of places to visit, walks to take ... are delightful and unassuming hosts. Within easy distance is The Dali Museum in Figueras, Cadaques, Villefranche to take The Little Yellow Train through the Pyrenees, Castelnou and so much more. We left with many extraordinary memories and hope to return.

Kathryne, Leicester

We have stayed at El Portal twice and still have not exhausted the possibilities of the area. Whether along the coast, in the mountains or inland, there is so much to see and do. The accommodation is wonderfully clean and quiet, and visitors’ needs have been carefully anticipated (even to down to a shoehorn!) Fred and Mark are welcoming and helpful hosts. We look forward to our third visit.


We stayed in Casals, cool (in all senses of the word), comfortable & immaculately clean & set in a beautiful courtyard, perfect for breakfast and evening drinks. El Portal is perfectly located for trips; we visited Prades, in the shadow of Canigou, we crossed the Pyrenees, explored the Cote Vermeille; we spent time in Céret with its modern art gallery, antique shops & plane-lined streets - inspiration to many C20th artists; we lingered in Vivès itself & we lay in bed in the morning listening to the call of the orioles. Our hosts, Mark & Fred were perfect - friendly, discreet and helpful.


Had a wonderful, very relaxing week here. Mark and Fred are very kind and approachable and made us feel very welcome, helping us with suggestions for the best places to visit. There's so much to do in the area we felt we barely scratched the surface, and our apartment was so comfy and well stocked it was quite tempting just to sit around there all day! Looking forward very much to coming back soon!


I couldn't recommend El Portal enough. The village of Vivès is charming, peaceful and excellently situated. Within 1 hour by car, we managed to visit several highly attractive towns, swim in the local lake, go hiking (looking out over France and Spain from a border summit), visit vineyards and sea. There is also a top-notch restaurant in Vivès. The accommodation is clean, very comfortable – even in heat – and the kitchen fully kitted; we were able to cook extensively with ingredients from local markets and shops. Mark and Fred are perfect hosts: helpful, kind and honest. We will return!


We spent 10 days in the larger gite (Albeniz). The accommodation was truly stunning, furnished to a very high standard and tastefully decorated. It was also equipped with everything you could need. Our hosts, Frederic and Mark, were charming and nothing was too much trouble. We had a wonderful meal at the Catalan restaurant on our doorstep . The scenery is breathtaking; there is a beautiful lake nearby where we spent the day swimming/relaxing. Ceret has a vibrant market, an art museum and a range of places to eat; Collioure is well worth a visit and there are some beautiful beaches nearby.


Spent a wonderfully relaxing week in the Casals apartment and I can't recommend it highly enough. Casals is beautifully decorated in rich Catalan colours, thoughtfully equipped and spotlessly clean throughout. The air conditioning was very welcome during the heat of the day and the patio area perfect for early evening drinks and al fresco breakfasts. El Portal is well situated for lovely walks with breathtaking views and just a short distance from a beautiful lake for safe swimming and sunbathing. I will most certainly be going back – there is so much more to explore.


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The neighbourhood

Local points of interest from Frédéric Constant

  • With its Musée d'Art Moderne and bustling Saturday market, nearby Céret has a charming atmosphere and a wealth of bars and restaurants. After checking out the modern art you can sit and have a drink where Picasso and Matisse did.
  • See the local vineyards and taste the wines: there are 3 Wine Trails locally. The nearest, The Aspres and Albères Trail can be joined at Le Boulou, just 8km away.
  • The Dali Trail: the outrageous Dali Museum in Figueras just over the border in Spain, the beautiful coastal town of Cadaques and Dali’s seaside house at nearby Port Lligat and Cap de Creus.
  • Collioure: beautiful fortified old town, art galleries and seaside resort with its beach, overlooked by the ancient fortress.
  • The Train Jaune, running from ancient Villefranche de Conflent and wending its way through tunnels and over breath-taking viaducts far up into the mountains: a truly enchanting day up in the Pyrenees.
  • French and Piano coaching are available at El Portal. Fred, a native speaker, is qualified and experienced in French Language tuition, and Mark, 10 years an ABRSM international grades and diplomas examiner, is an experienced piano performer and teacher.