Perpignan In The Languedoc
Perpignan is the capital of the Pyrenees-Orientales department of the south of France. Only 40km from the Spanish border and 13km from the Mediteranean sea.
Perpignan is a farm trade center, handling wine, fruits, and vegetables. It has distilleries, canneries, and factories making chocolate, clothing, paper, and toys.
Tourism is also important; there is a nearby international airport with regular flights from the UK to Perpignan, and the city is a thoroughfare for motorists going to Spain.
Founded in the 10th century, Perpignan was the fortified capital of the Spanish kingdom of Roussillon . Its architecture shows much Spanish influence. Among its notable buildings are the Loge (14th cent.), built to house the merchants' exchange; the Gothic Cathedral of St. Jean (14th-15th cent.); and the castle of the kings of Majorca (13th-15th cent.), which forms part of the old citadel dominating the city.
Perpignan has a weekly market of food, clothing and flowers on a Sunday.
Perpignan Tourist Information
Perpignan is the capital of Roussillon in the northernmost province of Catalonia in the Pyrenees Orientales. A high percentage of the population is of Spanish origin starting with survivors from the Civil War. There is also a large representation of North Africans, including both Arabs and white French settlers, repatriated after Algerian independence in 1962.
Perpignan is a lively and historic city, with its heyday in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when the kings of Majorca held court there. In fact most of the historic interest stems from this period. With its prime position on the Mediterranean coast, it is an excellent base from which to explore the eastern end of the Pyrenees and the Cathar castles of the Corbières
There are so many things to do and see in Perpignan it is difficult to present a précis. To sample some of the many attractions the city has to offer probably the best way to start is at Le Castillet which was built as a gateway in the fourteenth century and now houses the Casa Pairal which is a fascinating museum illustrating Roussillon's Catalan folk culture with religious art, agricultural and pastoral artifacts, and all sorts of local crafts. From the roof there is a spectacular view of the dominant Canigou mountain peak. In Rue Louis-Blanc is the Place de la Loge, a pedestrianised area full of cafés and brasseries. Probably Perpignan's most interesting building is the Gothic Loge de Mer which is covered with gargoyles and over fussy balustrades and was designed to hold the city's stock exchange and maritime court. Next door are the Hôtel de Ville with Maillol's statue of La Méditerranée in the courtyard behind the magnificent wrought iron gates, and the fifteenth-century Palais de la Députation which was once the parliament of Roussillon.
From the Place de la Loge the Rue St-Jean leads to the fourteenth-century Cathédrale St-Jean on place Gambetta which has an elaborate interior of Catalan altar pieces and a tortured wooden crucifix of the Dévôt Christ. Here is one of France's oldest cemeteries which is over 600 years old.
The Arab and Romany quarter is a maze of narrow streets full of North African shops and cafés and a daily market. The local wines from Estagel and Rivesaltes can be sampled here. At the heart of the quarter is the wide Place du Puig and if you pass through here and head to the top of the street you will discover the elegant Catalan church of St-Jacques which dates back to 1200.
Final mention must be made to the Palais des Rois de Majorque (Palace of the Kings of Majorca) which is a beautiful building located in the city centre and built because of the determination of King James II (first King of Majorca) to have a royal palace in the capital city of his kingdom. It was constructed in 1274 which was two years before the death of King James I. Under the guidance of the master of works, Ramon Pau, the palace became truly magnificent with furniture and décor illustrating a prefect combination of European and Moorish influence. During the summer months theatrical productions are staged in the palace’s main courtyard.