Happily, it's become a place of family pilgrimage, at least twice a year: in the howling winds of March, when the railings sing and everything is pretty much shut except the 'Cafe de la plage', and usually at the end of summer; a last chance to bathe in the Med, eat a special meal on the seafront and wander at night in the soft breezes listening to the squeaking train wheels.
Even the journey there has become sacred: the stop at Marie's dodgy looking truck café after the spectacular drive through the valley, the first glimpse of the sea as the car reaches the hill top coming past Port Vendres; and the ritual stopping and letting runty dog out before he throws up on the winding bends of the coast road.
This time I got a room at the wonderful 'Dorade' hotel on the seafront. Friendly and with a (by my reckoning) an excellent restaurant. We were given room number nine on the top floor. The 'patron' smiled, handed us a chunky key fob and informed us that it is the room he was born in.
One and a half days passed in tracing our previous steps, swimming, walking and idly looking in the estate agent's window to see what has sold.
Not much has changed: A few more boats bob in the newly salvaged marina (ripped up in a major storm three years ago) the 1920s concrete hotel has lost a few more bits, and someone has taken over the wasteland near the railway signal box and made a pretty garden.
See you again in the winter, Cerbère.