Perpignan Tourist Attractions
Perpignan (Catalan Perpinyà; alt. 24 m/80ft; pop. 105,096), the old capital of Roussillon, from 1278 to 1344 capital of the kingdom of Majorca (which included the Balearics, Roussillon, Cerdagne and the coastal region extending east to Montpellier) and now the chief town of the département of Pyrénées- Orientales and the see of a bishop, lies near the Spanish frontier at the foot of the Pyrenees, at the junction of the rivers Têt and Basse, some 10km/6mi from the Mediterranean.The history of Perpignan was closely bound up with that of the county of Roussillon. Like many other towns, it was surrounded by fortifications designed by Vauban which were pulled down around 1900 to allow the town to expand.The central feature of the old town is the Place de la République, with the Theater. On the north side of the old town is the Castillet, a fortified town gate (1367) built of red brick (fine view from tower) which is the town's principal landmark and emblem. It houses the Casa Pairal, a museum of Catalonian folk art and traditions.
Cathedral of St Jean
The Cathedral of St-Jean, dates mainly from the 14th-15th C. but also incorporates elements from the earlier Romanesque church of St-Jean-le-Vieux (the former entrance to the south aisle, the Portail du Christ and the chapel of Notre-Dame dels Correchs, the entrance to which is under the organ gallery). The interior of St-Jean is splendidly decorated: the most notable features are the 16th and 17th C. reredos, the 17th C. high altar of white marble (by Claude Perret) and the font, which is believed to be pre-Romanesque. Outside St- Jean, by the south doorway, is a chapel containing an expressive carved crucifix known as the "Dévot Christ".
Loge de Mer
South of the Castillet, in the center of Perpignan old town, is the Loge de Mer (14th-15th C.), which formerly housed the Exchange and the Maritime Court. It was given its present form in the 16th C., when extensive alterations were carried out.Diagonally opposite the Loge de Mer is a bronze figure, "Venus", by Aristide Maillol.Adjoining the Loge de Mer is the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall, 13th-17th C.), with fine wrought-iron gates. In the courtyard is another piece of sculpture by Maillol, "La Méditerranée". The Palais de la Députation dates from the 15th century the Maison Julia, a small palace, from the 14th century.
In Perpignan, south of Loge de Mer, is the Musée Hyacinthe Rigaud, with works by the portrait-painter Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659- 1743), paintings by Spanish and Catalan masters of the 14th-16th centuries and pictures by Ingres, Tintoretto and modern artists like Picasso, Maillol, Dufy and Calder.The Musée d'Histoire Naturelle is devoted mainly to the flora and fauna of southern France.
Address: 16 rue de l'Ange, F-66000 Perpignan, France
Opening hours: Jun 15 to Sep 15: 9:30am-12pm, 2:30pm-7pm
Sep 16 to Jun 14: 9am-12pm, 2pm-6pm; Closed: Tue
Sep 16 to Jun 14: 9am-12pm, 2pm-6pm; Closed: Tue
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), 1945 Victory Day (May 8), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Bastille Day - France (Jul 14), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Remembrance Day / 1918 Armistice Day (Nov 11), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday) - Christian, Ascension Thursday - Christian
To the south of the old town of Perpignan is the massive citadel, built in the 17th and 18th centuries on a star- shaped plan. From the outer circuit of walls there is a good view of the town. In the heart of the citadel is the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, a fine example of medieval architecture. Built in 1276 as the residence of King Jaime I, it is laid out round a courtyard with Gothic arcades. From the keep there are fine views. The church of Ste-Marie-la-Réal, which dates from the 14th C., was the parish church of the kings of Majorca. In the first chapel on the right is a fine 15th C. entombment.
Musee d'Avions du Mas Palegry
A variety of aircraft, including a Republic Thunderflash, a Vampire and a full-size Mirage model, are on display at this museum.A wide variety of model aircrafts, over 250, and decent number of gliders and home-built machines are also to be found in the collection.
Perpignan-Roussillon - Mediterranean Festival
Côte des Perpignanais La Salanque
The stretch of coast between the Etang de Leucate in the north and the resort of Argelès-Plage in the south, which is mostly flat, with beaches of fine sand, is known as the Côte des Perpignanais or La Salanque.Port-Leucate and Port-Barcarès, the most northerly places on this stretch of coast, lie on the narrow spit of land which separates the Etang de Leucate (also known as the Etang de Salses) from the sea. These are two of the new and carefully planned holiday centers, laid out round boating marinas and equipped with every conceivable amenity and facility for entertainment and water sports.Southeast of Perpignan extends the Côte Vermeille, with a number of seaside resorts.
East of Perpignan is Canet-Plage, originally a seaside resort frequented by the Perpignanais but now a highly organized holiday and leisure center. South of the town is the Etang de Canet et de St-Nazaire.
St-Cyprien-Plage has undergone an intensive process of modernization. It has an interesting museum with works by Matisse, Cézanne, Braque and Miró. A few kilometers inland is the attractive little town of Elne.
Map of Perpignan Attractions