Perpignan, the Catalan City in the South of France


Occitanie Cultural HeritageCities

Bertrand Pichène
© Bertrand Pichène

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 4 January 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

Perpignan, The Capital of French Catalonia

Perpignan, the last big city before the Spanish border in the South of France, is the capital of the Pyrenees Orientales department in the L'Occitanie region (previously Languedoc-Roussillon). Located at the foot of the Pyrenees and but a few kilometres from the sea, it boasts a long list of assets and acts as a bridge between Barcelona and the south of France.

This Catalan-flavoured city is set in a picture-perfect natural environment: next to the Mediterranean coast with renowned holiday destinations like Collioure, mountain ranges including the imposing Canigou massif, the vineyards and orchards of the Roussillon plain...

A university town rich in art and history, Perpignan seduces with its contrasts, with its oft-exuberant vitality and relaxed hospitality. You'll be charmed by its Mediterranean architecture, its winding medieval streets and the lively squares lined with palm trees. The ever-present sunshine inspires simplicity and strolling about, or shopping in the many boutiques and sweetly scented Southern markets.

For centuries now, Perpignan has been a land of refuge, welcoming people of different backgrounds that have today permeated the city's culture and lifestyle.

What to see in Perpignan

The city of Perpignan has kept many of the cultural treasures accumulated over the past centuries, particularly from its Golden Age as the Kingdom of Majorca. The following major sites clearly testify to this:

  • The Palace of the Kings of Majorca, a 14th-century palace-fortress ;
  • The Loge de la Mer, once the city's commercial and maritime jurisdiction ;
  • The splendidly Gothic City Hall and Palace of the Deputation ;
  • The Castillet, in turn a castle, city gate and prison, is today's emblem of Perpignan ;
  • The Saint-Jean-Le-Baptiste Cathedral and Campo Santo, the largest cloister cemetery in France ;
  • Saint-Jacques Church, departure point for the solemn Sanch Procession every Good Friday ;
  • The Hyacinthe Rigaud Museum, with a notable Catalan Gothic art collection and modern paintings by Maillol, Picasso...

Modern architecture has also made a place for itself, as can be seen with the new TGV train station and, along the Tech River, the Théatre de l’Archipel complex designed by Jean Nouvel.

Gastronomy and cuisine in Perpignan

For a veritable taste of Catalan culture, try to remember some of these names: boles de Picoulat, bullinada, vegetable escalivada, snails à la catalane, bougnettes, ollada, brazo de gitano...

Wine lovers also have much to get excited about! The area is famous for its muscat and grenache grapes, for its red, white and rosé wines from vineyards with melodic names like Côtes du Roussillon, Rivesaltes, Collioure, Banyuls…

Events and festivals all year round in Perpignan

  • Tilt Festival, the place-to-be for electronic music fans (March)
  • Confrontation Film and History Festival (Spring)
  • Fête de la Saint Jean celebrations (June)
  • Les Jeudis de Perpignan, or Perpignan Thursdays, filling the streets with music, theatre and animations (every summer Thursday)
  • Guitares au Palais Festival, held at the Palace of Majorca (last weekend of August)
  • Visa pour l'image Festival, the biggest international photojournalism event (beginning of September)
  • Jazzèbre Festival, a three-week musical journey through the sounds of jazz and world music (September-October)
  • Festival de la Voix, reuniting musicians, singers and speech pathologists for a music-filled weekend (October)


  • By plane : the Perpignan-Rivesaltes airport operates national and international flights - some flying only during certain periods -, from Paris-Orly, Nantes, Palma-de-Majorca, Birmingham, London, Southampton, Dublin and Brussels ;
  • By car : the A9 motorway is a link to Narbonne in the north and Barcelona in the south ;
  • By train : the Perpignan station is serviced by high-speed TGV trains, intercity routes and the TER Languedoc-Roussillon/ Occitanie regional network.


Perpignan Tourist Office Palais des Congrès Place Armand Lanoux - BP 40215 Perpignan Cedex, 66002 Tel : + 33 (0)4 68 66 30 30 Mail :


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