On the border with Spain, Perpignan is a mild and sunny town that has always mixed the charm of the south of France with Catalan culture and traditions.
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A city with such a strong Spanish identity that it is often called ‘the Catalan’, Perpignan owes its nickname to its location: situated in the Pyrénées Orientales department, it is the last major French city before arriving in Spain.

Perpignan enjoys an ideal location between the sea and the mountains: it is 13 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, 25 kilometres from the Spanish border and 85 kilometres from Espace Cambre d’Aze, a large ski area at 2400 metres. With its idyllic Mediterranean climate and 300 days of sunshine a year, the town captivates with its distinct character, hidden wonders, palaces with sumptuous architecture, first-class museums and a strong Catalan identity.

Things to do in Perpignan

With no fewer than 34 buildings classified as historical monuments and 19 cultural monuments, Perpignan is a veritable open-air museum. To get a taste of Perpignan, we recommend wandering the narrow streets of the city centre among museums, historical monuments, cafés, bars and restaurants, combining cultural visits with immersion in the Catalans’ social life. The historical centre contains a rich architectural heritage dating back to the Middle Ages, dotted with alleyways with well-preserved old houses.

Also not to be missed is Place de la République, one of the city’s main squares, where you will find many restaurants and small cafés, as well as the long river La Têt, a lovely place to stroll and linger on bistro terraces.

If you want to fully immerse yourself in Perpignan’s Franco-Catalan culture, we recommend going to the Loggia del Mar on Monday evenings to watch a performance of sardana, the queen dance of Catalan folk expression, a symbol of unity and fraternity, in which the dancers hold hands.

Also not to be missed are two popular festivals that animate the city on 23 April, Sant Jordi, and 24 June, Sant Joan. The first is a festival that originated in Barcelona and celebrates the Day of the Book and the Rose: it is a festive day with a large number of events, entirely dedicated to books and literature. The second corresponds to the summer solstice and the shortest night of the year: pagan syncretism and religious celebration are thus closely intertwined in this festivity that involves the lighting of a large symbolic fire.


166100 Perpignano, Francia

At the heart of the centre is the citadel of Perpignan, formed by the ancient fortifications built around the royal castle ordered by King James II of Majorca in the early 14th century. The city of Perpignan, theatre of Franco-Spanish struggles, was surrounded by thick fortifications between the 13th and 16th centuries.

Built in the shape of a star, a legacy of the architect Vauban’s military vision, the Citadel is a gigantic fortified enclosure surrounding the Palace of the Kings of Majorca. Dismantled in the early 1900s, some remains are still visible today as you enter through the ancient gates that once allowed entry into the city.

The Citadel of Perpignan is now occupied by the Palace of the Kings of Majorca and a military barracks. As for the medieval fortifications, only the emblematic Castillet and Porte Notre-Dame have survived.

The Castillet

2Pl. de Verdun, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

The Castillet is the ancient main gate of the medieval enclosure that allowed entry to the city. Built in 1368 in brick and Baixas marble, it was converted into a prison between the 17th and 18th centuries and currently houses the Casa Pairal museum of local history and ethnography.

It is possible to climb to the top of the Castillet keep after 142 steps and admire a beautiful view of the city. Directly opposite, the free Galeries Lafayettes terrace overlooks the city from even higher up.

La Loge de Mer

36 Pl. de la Loge, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

Built in Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries, the Loge de Mer has been the heart of public life in Perpignan since the Middle Ages and today houses the Town Hall and the Palace of Justice.

The building is an ornamental complex embellished with ribbed arcades and large carved windows. The town hall and the wedding hall are accessible to the public free of charge.

Palace of the King of Majorca

4Rue des Archers, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

Built in the 13th century, this ancient palace bears witness to the power of the Kingdom of Majorca. Construction was begun before 1274 in the late Romanesque style and completed after 1300 in the Gothic style. Its grandeur clearly indicates that Perpignan was an important economic, political and cultural centre of the Mediterranean in medieval times.

Guided tours are possible and the site is open to the public every day except 1 January, 1 May, 1 November and 25 December.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral

51 Rue de l'Horloge, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

A jewel of southern Gothic art, built between the 14th and 17th centuries, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral will amaze you with its majestic 70-metre-long nave.

Inside, magnificent religious altarpieces are housed, particularly retracing the life of Saint John the Baptist.

Les Halles Vauban

637-39 Quai Sébastien Vauban, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

Located in the city centre, this large covered market brings together some twenty stalls offering local products: sweets, cold meats, Catalan tapas and a host of fresh products that tell the story of the gastronomy of this Spanish-influenced French area.

In addition, it is possible to eat directly inside the market from Tuesday to Sunday.

Campo Santo

76 Rue Amiral Ribeil, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

The Campo Santo is the largest and last surviving medieval cloister-cemetery in France. Consisting of a vast courtyard surrounded by white marble Gothic porticoes, it is one of the must-see places in Perpignan.

During the summer season, it hosts numerous concerts and open-air film screenings as part of the Visa pour l’image festival.

The Hyacinthe-Rigaud Museum

821 Rue Mailly, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

The Hyacinthe-Rigaud Museum brings together a collection of decorative art, a collection of Catalan Gothic art and modern paintings: one can contemplate the works of Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) and Pablo Picasso (1881 -1973). Children’s workshops and temporary exhibitions complete the visit.

The museum is named after Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743), a portrait painter born in Perpignan.

Hôtel Pams

918 Rue Emile Zola, 66000 Perpignan, Francia

Built between 1852 and 1872 by Pierre Bardou, one of the founders of the JOB cigarette paper company, and then transformed in the 1890s into an elegant mansion by his son-in-law Jules Pams, a politician and amateur art enthusiast, this building shows the distinct artistic taste of the rich bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 20th century.

With its monumental staircase, paintings, ceremonial halls, patio-garden and Art Nouveau galleries, it is a hidden gem of great artistic and decorative beauty.


In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Where to stay in Perpignan

Perpignan, geographically, is the last major city before the Spanish border. Consequently, it is an obligatory crossing point between Spain and the south of France and enjoys a mixture of Catalan cultures and influences.

The intellectual, cultural and economic centre of northern Catalonia, you will fall in love with the magnificence of this city. Of course, if you choose to sleep in the city centre, you will enjoy a privileged location to visit the main attractions. Cosmopolitan and lively, the heart of the city is steeped in different origins, following the diverse populations that have lived here since the Middle Ages. This popular district is full of small pedestrian streets where it is nice to stroll unhurriedly.

If you are looking for peace and tranquillity, you might consider staying in Le Vernet, an old residential and dynamic village with many shops and close to the city centre.

Le Moulin à vent, an old district from the 1960s, is now the student district par excellence. In fact, Perpignan’s faculty of 10,000 students is located there. The area is full of small shops, parks and promenades. It is not very convenient for visiting the centre, but it becomes a good alternative in the summer, when the region is taken by storm by tourism and prices rise considerably. In fact, you will find a lot of cheap accommodation in this area.

Finally, St Martin is the residential district, where the city’s most beautiful villas are located. The area is equipped with local shops, a hypermarket and a shopping centre, which makes it quite practical to stay in.

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How to get to Perpignan

The city of Perpignan is located almost on the border with Spain. The nearest airports are Marseille Airport, 317 km away, or Toulouse Airport, 205 km away. From these two arrival points, you will then have to rent a car directly at the airport and drive to Perpignan.

Perpignan Weather

What's the weather at Perpignan? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Perpignan for the next few days.

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Where is located Perpignan

Perpignan is a beautiful city in the south of France, capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in the Occitanie region.

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