In 1931 a ship ordered by an Australian company was built in Denmark. The Moonta was a cruise ship which could also transport merchandise. But in 1955 the boat was sold and became the Lydia. It was a Greek cruise ship. Since 1967 the liner has been run aground on the beach at Barcares. Since this date the Lydia is the only liner in the world to be run aground. Building on all this publicity, this ship has been a museum, a restaurant and a discotheque as well as a casino. In 2000, the Partouche Group bought the Lydia and planned to put in a casino, a discotheque and a restaurant. It carried out major renovations and opened the casino in 2004. Unfortunately it was forced to sell due to making a loss.

In 2010, the municipality bought the Lydia for more than a million and a half euros. It wants to build a brand new casino which could cope with competition from the surrounding casinos in particular the one at Leucate. For the moment the tenders are still out and there are many ideas about the new owner. One only knows that the gaming complex will include a casino, a restaurant and a small hotel which will only have a maximum of five rooms. This complex wants to play the luxury card so as to differentiate itself from the other establishments.

The opposition isn’t of the same opinion. They are afraid that the town will have to cover the costs of the upkeep. They would have preferred that the Lydia be restored by the local professional secondary schools to reduce the cost estimated at 10 million euros. They would aim to create a theatre, a bar, a restaurant and a discotheque but definitely not a casino.

The Lydia has made Barcares well known and has attracted many tourists but the liner is still at the centre of many disagreements.