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The Celebrated of Prades


Prades, cradle and land of hospitality for celebrities.



Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was born in El Vendrell. A famous cellist, he founded the trio Cortot-Casals-Thibaut and his reputation led him to play all around the world.

An ardent defender of the spanish republic, he refused to perform in Hitler's Germany and after the spanish Civil War which was raging in his country, he went into exile in Prades, where he composed the oratorio "El Pessebre”. He decided not to play in public any longer, as the democratic countries would not change their attitude towards the Franco government.

The bicentennial of Bach's death in 1950 led him to return to the instrument and to create the Prades Festival. Invited to the United Nations and the White House, he became a representative of World Peace.

In 1966 he participated for the last time in the Prades Festival, before leaving for Puerto Rico, the birthplace of his mother and last wife, Martita. On October 22nd, 1973 after a final concert in Israel, Pablo Casals suffered a heart attack and died in Puerto Rico. A few years later his body was repatriated to his birthplace, El Vendrell.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was born in 1915 at No. 1, rue du 4 Septembre, a modest house with a long garden, and in its centre, the largest plane tree in France. Raised in the United States, in 1942 Thomas became a trappist monk. Since 1965 he studied religions from Asia and the thoughts of Gandhi.

In 1968, Thomas Merton was invited to a World Congress in Bangkok. After his speech, he returnedto his room and took a shower. The monk was later found dead, lying on the floor. His body was repatriated to the U.S. and buried in Gethsemane Cemetery.

Charles Renouvier (1815-1903) was born in Montpellier, he studied at the Ecole Polytechnique and participated in the republican socialist movement. In 1849, he developed his philosophy of neocriticism and written works. At 80, he moved to Perpignan, with his disciple Louis Prat and, later, they moved together to Prades at "the little red house", at No. 1 Route Nationale. In September 1903, Charles Renouvier died in Prades.

Pompeu Fabra (1868-1948) was born in Gracia. He applied himself to the correction, and to the dissemination of the catalan language. His main work "Grammar of the Llengua Catalana" has been adopted as the official book. We also owe to him the "Diccionari General de la Llengua Catalana”.Pompeu Fabra exiled in Prades in 1939 fleeing to Franco regime, and continued to work on the catalan language. In 1948, he died in Prades.

Gustave Violet (1873-1952) was born in Thuir. Son of prosperous wine growers, he lived an "artist's life" and died poor in Perpignan in 1952. Poet, writer, architect (Ecoiffier house, Place Arago in Perpignan), ceramicist and sculptor, he renewed the art of the war memorial.

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de Prades-Conflent
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66 500 Prades - France
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