Tourist resort in the parish of Encamp in Andorra
Specialities: Escudella (pot au feu), trinxat (cabbage, potatoes and bacon), mountain meats, Andorran-style river trout, cold meats, cheeses, wines and craft beers.
Personalities: Albert Llovera (rally driver), Vicky Jimenez (tennis), Mònica Dòria (kayaking).
Culture: Museu etnogràfic Casa Cristo, Museu Art Sacre, Museu Nacional de l'Automòbil, Museu de l'Electricitat d'Andorra.
Sport: cycling, skiing, Andros Trophy and G Series (ice driving), Pas de la Case motor racing circuit, ranked the highest in the world.
Economy: tourism, skiing in Grandvalira, shopping
Websites: www.comuencamp.ad / www.visitandorra.com
PAS DE LA CASA, A STORY
Pas de la Casa, skiing and commerce
The town of Pas de la Casa belongs to the parish (municipality) of Encamp. The beginnings of the commercial fabric of Pas de la Casa date back to the end of the Second World War, a time of great economic and commercial crisis in France. The village was known as the place to find products that were not available anywhere else at that time.
In 1957, the construction of the Sud Radio station, at an altitude of 2,500 metres, received a visit from the President of the French Republic, Charles de Gaulle, in 1967. In 1958, the telephone line also reached the Pas de la Casa. It was at this point that the real transformation of Pas de la Casa began. It was also thanks to Francesc Viladomat, with the construction of a ski slope, that the development of this area grew considerably in the following years. In the winter of 1956-57, the first ski lift was installed to link the town of Pas de la Casa with the summit of Pic Blanc, at an altitude of 2,500 metres.
The development of the skiing activity and the commercial offer of the town positioned Pas de la Casa as a village with not only a commercial fabric, but also with a large offer of hotels and restaurants. This was the birth of a real tourist village.
PAS DE LA CASA AND CYCLING
Pas de la Casa is best known to cyclists for its immediate proximity to the Port d'Envalira, the highest pass in the Pyrenees (2,409 m), which the Tour de France will ride for the 10th time during the previous stage between Céret and Andorra la Vella. The greatest climbers in the history of the Tour (Federico Bahamontes in 1964 or Richard Virenque twice in 1997), reached it in the lead. The legend of Port d'Envalira began in 1964 when Jacques Anquetil, badly recovered from a mechoui/sangria the day before, was dropped by Poulidor and Bahamontes. Reassured by a bottle of champagne handed to him by his sporting director Raphaël Geminiani, Master Jacques came back on the descent to finally win the Tour. The pass has also been on the Vuelta programme twice. Pas de la Casa is located in the parish of Encamp, about 30 kilometres from the Alto els Cortals d'Encamp where, in 2019, Tadej Pogacar made his mark by winning the first stage of the Vuelta ahead of Nairo Quintana and Primoz Roglic.
Above Pas de la Casa is the ski resort of Grandvalira, which in 2009 gave its name to the short-lived Andorra-Grandvalira cycling team, led by Melchior Mauri.
Once the border and customs have been crossed, Pas de la Casa is the first town to welcome tourists so that they can go shopping in style. The shops offer a wide range of products: jewellery, multimedia, fashion, perfume, cosmetics, sports equipment, music, not forgetting tobacco and alcohol, so that you can come back from your stay in Andorra with a mountain of bargains. The shops are open 361 days a year, even on Sundays. The 4 public holidays to avoid when shopping in Pas de La Case are 8 September (Meritxell, National Day), 25 December (Christmas), 1 January (New Year) and 14 March (Constitution)
Grandvalira ski resort
With the very famous Grandvalira, Pas de la Casa has the most important ski resort in the Pyrenees. Its skiable area of almost 2,000 hectares offers more than 200 kilometres of interconnected ski runs for all levels. The landscapes stand out in all the areas covered by the resort: Pas-de-la-Casa, Grau-Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo, Encamp. Andorra is a privileged place in the Pyrenean mountain range with more sunshine than the rest of the massif. Skiing on abundant and homogeneous snow, under the caress of the gentle rays of the sun, is commonplace at Pas de la Casa.
Sud Radio station
In May 1964, the huge Sud Radio structure was inaugurated, a large building made of cement, concrete and steel that stands at the top of the Pic Blanc (2,650 metres above sea level), near the head of the Port of Envalira (2,408 metres above sea level). Radio Andorra and Sud Radio were two of the best-known radio stations in the world.
Lake of the Abelletes
Situated at the top of the Pas de la Casa river basin and 800 metres long, it is full of trout and salmon, making it a delight for fishermen. Families will also find it interesting to walk along the river on an easily accessible forest track. The circuit starts at the foot of the Isards pass chairlift in Grandvalira.
The Envalira tunnel is open to light vehicles. This tunnel, which is located in Andorran territory and on which work began in the summer of 1999, connects Pas de la Casa to the southern slope of the Envalira at Grau Roig. The Envalira tunnel is 2.9 kilometres long and has the advantage of being usable in all weathers, providing a permanent link between Pas de la Casa and the south of the Principality. Access to Andorra la Vella is thus easier and the chronic traffic jams at Pas de la Casa no longer disrupt the road. A viaduct, built by the Principality, links the French RN 22 directly to the tunnel and saves additional time. The French and Andorran customs posts have been transferred to French territory, 3 km from the tunnel exit. An exchange of territories between France and Andorra allowed this viaduct to be built entirely in Andorra.
Mountain sausages are one of the specialities of Andorran cuisine.
In Andorra, we distinguish between:
La bringuera, which is added to Escudella, a traditional dish that is similar to a stew made with seasonal vegetables and pork.
Donja, a type of mountain bacon, which is added to trinxat, a traditional Pyrenean stew made with cabbage, potatoes, garlic and bacon.
These sausages were so emblematic and important that families were judged on their quality; they were even a letter of presentation for the heiresses to show that they belonged to a good family.
The dry sausages to be kept all year round, at a time when refrigerators did not exist. They dry for 2 to 3 months, and some, like fuet, are ready for consumption one month after drying.
From llonganissa (a type of sausage) to secallona (a type of gourmet salami), bulls de fetge (duck livers), carnetes, lingua and rim, botifarra (a type of black pudding), all products made with high quality raw materials, according to artisanal processes, without preservatives or chemical colouring agents, and seasoned only with salt and pepper, so as not to lose the characteristic flavour of traditional products.