In order to reach Baillestavy, you must take the D13 up from the Vinça plain and climb into the Massif of Canigou following the valley of the River Lentilla. This road, carved out of the shale rock, snakes above the river and overlooks the narrow gorges.
After fifteen minutes of travelling through an austere landscape, the valley widens gradually giving way to grasslands, where the village was born. First of all it is the Romanesque church and its bell tower with two arches that welcomes you, standing beside the river on a site of ancient iron-workings. Further, on a spur, stands the village church and bell tower, a converted old castle keep. Below, under its protection, the brown shale houses of "La Torre" step down the hill in steep terraces. A medieval bridge spans the river to access "La Farga" where once flourished two mills and a catalan forge.
The heart of the village is here, where its two distinctive parts bear witness to an evolving past, one protective and perched high, the other industrious alongside the water.
The road, after a short passage through the houses, runs alongside a few more open spaces before sinking back into a narrow valley towards Valmanya.
But there is more to Baillestavy than just this inviting valley floor. The sides of the valley, culminating at 1700 meters, are dotted with old farmhouses where farming still takes place. Moreover, the old mule tracks, marked out in the rocks, on the low walls and through the woods, invite you to hike to beauty spots or to see the remains of the area’s mining heritage.
A small village of a hundred souls, Baillestavy is a haven of peace where the locals extend a warm welcome and where three local clubs put on multiple traditional and cultural events throughout the year.