The aquarium was opened in 1885 making it the oldest public aquarium on the Mediterranean. While the aquarium is quite small it does house a considerable amount of information in its tanks. The exhibits are creatively displayed starting with marine life closest to the shore and working their way to the deep sea. Visitors can view numerous varieties of fish, eels, octopus, coral and beautiful marine plants that are all found in the waters along the French coast.
If you are a little more adventurous you can visit the underwater trail or le sentier sous-marin. Within the bay, located at Peyrefite beach, you can discover with your own equipment or rent a mask, snorkel and fins to explore this fabulous underwater reserve. The reserve opened in 1974 and covers 650 hectares of sea between Banyuls and Cerbère. This is a protected area with over 12,000 species of fish and shellfish and 500 sea plants that are native to the area.
The trail is 250m long with buoys at several points along the way. There are underwater signs with lists of the different species that can be seen in that specific area. They also offer, for an extra charge, the ability to rent an audio guide & musical interlude of sorts that gives you a running commentary during your swim/snorkel along the surface. The reserve offers a wonderful way to learn about and experience firsthand, underwater sea life in its natural form.
Along the shore is a lovely beach (bring your water shoes for the pebbles) and shaded areas for picnic lunch. Definitely a place worth visiting if you are looking for an authentic underwater experience.
Enjoy this video that shows the large numbers of fish that are viewable in the reserve.