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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 42°41′55″N 2°53′44″E / 42.69861°N 2.89556°E / 42.69861; 2.89556

Commune of Perpignan

Flag of {{{common_name}}}
Coat of arms of {{{common_name}}}
The official city logo. The city's coat of arms
Perpignan is located in France
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Pyrénées-Orientales
Arrondissement Perpignan
Intercommunality Têt Méditerranée
Mayor Jean-Paul Alduy (Radical-UMP)
Elevation 8–95 m (26–312 ft)
(avg. 30 m/98 ft)
Land area1 68.07 km2 (26.28 sq mi)
Population2 118,221  (2007)
 - Density 1,737 /km2 (4,500 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 66136/ 66000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Perpignan (French: Perpignan [pɛʁpiɲɑ̃]; Catalan Perpinyà [pəɾpiˈɲa]) is a commune and the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France. Perpignan was the capital of the former province and county of Roussillon (Rosselló in Catalan) and continental capital of the Kingdom of Mallorca back in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Population (2007): 118,221 (Perpignanais, Perpinyanés) in the city proper. The metropolitan area has a total population of 300,000 in 2010.



Though settlement in the area goes back to Roman times, the medieval town of Perpignan seems to have been founded around the beginning of the 10th century (first mentioned in a document as villa Perpiniarum in 927). Soon Perpignan became the capital of the counts of Roussillon. In 1172 Count Girard II bequeathed his lands to the Counts of Barcelona. Perpignan acquired the institutions of a partly self-governing commune in 1197. French feudal rights over Roussillon were given up by Louis IX in the Treaty of Corbeil (1258).

Location within the Pyrénées-Orientales département

When James I, the Conqueror, king of Aragon and count of Barcelona, erected the Kingdom of Majorca in 1276, Perpignan became the capital of the mainland territories of the new state. The succeeding decades are considered the golden age in the history of the city. It prospered as a centre of cloth manufacture, leather work, goldsmiths' work, and other luxury crafts. King Philip III of France died there in 1285, as he was returning from his unsuccessful crusade against the Aragonese Crown.

In 1344 Peter IV of Aragon annexed the Kingdom of Majorca and Perpignan once more became part of the County of Barcelona. A few years later it lost approximatively half of its population owing to the Black Death. It was attacked and occupied by Louis XI of France in 1463; a violent uprising against French rule in 1473 was harshly put down after a long siege, but in 1493 Charles VIII of France, wishing to conciliate Castile in order to free himself to invade Italy, restored it to Ferdinand II of Aragon.

Again besieged and captured by the French during the Thirty Years' War in September 1642, Perpignan was formally ceded by Spain 17 years later in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, and began then to form part of the Kingdom of France.

Main sights

The cathedral of St. John the Baptist was begun in 1324 and finished in 1509.[1]

The 13th century Palace of the Kings of Majorca sits on the high citadel, surrounded by ramparts, reinforced for Louis XI and Charles V, which were updated in the 17th century by Louis XIV's military engineer Vauban.

The walls surrounding the town, which had been designed by Vauban, were razed in 1904 to accommodate urban development.


Traditional commerce was in wine and olive oil, corks (the cork oak Quercus suber grows in Perpignan's mild climate), wool and leather, and iron. In May 1907 it was a seat of agitation by southern producers for government enforcement of wine quality following a collapse in prices. JOB rolling papers are currently manufactured in Perpignan.


Perpignan experiences a warm Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), similar to much of southern France.

Climate data for Perpignan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.3
Average low °C (°F) 4.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 50.6
Sunshine hours 147.5 153.2 206.2 214.2 240.1 270.6 313.9 270.7 217.7 182.3 147.7 141.9 2,506.0
Avg. rainy days 5.2 4.7 4.5 5.9 5.5 4.1 3.0 3.9 4.2 5.1 5.1 5.3 56.5
Source: Météo France [2] 2010-01-16


Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USA Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup and current champion of the Top 14, while their rugby league side plays in the engage Super League under the name Catalans Dragons.


Since 2004, every year in the last weekend of August in the Palace of the Kings of Majorca the free 3 day Guitares au Palais takes place. The festival has a broad main stream focus with pop related music as well as traditional acoustic guitar music and alternative music with international guests like Caetano Veloso (2007), Rumberos Catalans, Pedro Soler, Bernardo Sandoval, Peter Finger, Aaron and Bryce Dessner (2008).

The famous "Sanch Procession" folklore, once forbidden, is still celebrated in Perpignan, Arles-sur-Tech and Collioure.

Perpignan has a close connection with the sculptor Aristide Maillol, who attended school there.

Following a visit in 1963, the Catalan (Spain) surrealist artist Salvador Dalí declared the city's railway station the centre of the Universe, saying that he always got his best ideas sitting in the waiting room. He followed that up some years later by declaring that the Iberian Peninsula rotated precisely at Perpignan station 132 million years ago - an event the artist invoked in his 1983 painting Topological Abduction of Europe - Homage to Rene Thom.[3] Above the station is a monument in Dali's honour, and across the surface of one of the main platforms is painted, in big letters, «perpignan centre du monde» (French for "perpignan centre of the world").[4]

Perpignan street name sign in French and Catalan.

In 2008, Perpignan became Capital of Catalan Culture.[5]

In Perpignan many street name signs are in both French and Catalan.

Notable people born in Perpignan

  • Louise Labé (1524–1566), a female Lyon poet of the Renaissance which at the siege of Perpignan, or in a tournament there, is said to have dressed in male clothing and fought on horseback in the ranks of the Dauphin, afterwards Henry II
  • Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743), who painted the definitive portraits of Louis XIV
  • François Arago (1786–1853), the physicist, astronomer and liberal politician, who secured the abolition of slavery in the French colonies in 1853, was born in the nearby village of Estagel (Estagell) and is memorialized in the eponymous Place Arago that bears his statue in the centre of the town.
  • Robert Brasillach (1909–1945), fascist author and journalist, executed for advocating collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II.
  • Frédérick Bousquet (born 1981), French freestyle and butterfly swimmer who competed at three consecutive Summer Olympics (2000, 2004, and 2008)
  • Sandrine Erdely-Sayo (born 1968) pianist - Youngest recipient of the French Minister of Culture Prize at 13 years old. She lives in Philadelphia where she became National Interest for the United States

Plane crash

On 27 November 2008 an Air New Zealand Airbus A320 leased to XL Airways Germany with seven people on board crashed into the sea 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Perpignan during a test flight.


Sister cities:

Partner towns:

Perpignan train station

See also


  • Alícia Marcet, Histoire de Perpignan, la fidelíssima (1995)
  1. ^ [1],[2],[3]
  2. ^ "Perpignan" (in French). Météo France. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  3. ^ Elliott King in Dawn Ades (ed.), Dalí, Bompiani Arte, Milan, 2004, p. 448
  4. ^ "Picture Gallery - Directory: /pix/fr/electric/emu/TGV/Duplex/misc". Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  5. ^ Perpinyà, Capital de la Cultura Catalana
  6. ^ "Hanover - Twin Towns" (in German). © 2007-2009 - Offizielles Portal der Landeshauptstadt und der Region Hannover in Zusammenarbeit mit Retrieved 2009-07-17. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Perpignan (Perpinyà in catalan) is the capital of the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, the Northern Catalonia part of France.

  • Autoroute A9, from north (France) and south (Spain)
  • D 914 (ex RN114)
  • From Andorra, N116.
  • Regular line from Paris (Paris - Orly Sud): 5 planes/ day. (Air France)
  • From Manchester, England, use BMIbaby [1] for cheap flights
  • From London Stansted airport - daily flights, use Ryanair ( for cheap flights
  • From Charleroi/Brussels (3 flights a week), use Ryanair ( for cheap flights
  • From Birmingham (3 flights a week) with Ryanair
  • From Southampton (2 flights a week), use Flybe ( for cheap flights
  • From Bristol (2 flights a week) - about €44- use Ryanair (

- Shuttle Airport/Perpignan downtown (4,50 euros) : 04 68 52 60 70

  • Perpignan is served by the TGV and the IdTGV. Perpignan-Paris: 5h. soon: Perpignan-Barcelona: 1h.

From Girona, Spain, use [3] for express bus service from Girona airport to Perpignan From Girona, Spain, use Renfe [4] for trains to Cerbere. From Cerbere to Perpignan use sncf [5]

  • Eurolines : 04 68 34 11 46 - 10, avenue du Général de Gaulle (close to the railway station);
  • The cathedral of St Jean was begun in 1324 and finished in 1509.
  • The 13th century castle of the kings of Majorca sits on the high citadel, surrounded by ramparts, reinforced for Louis XI and Charles V, which were updated in the 17th century by Louis XIV's military engineer Vauban.


Musée de l'aviation - created in 1976 by Mr NOETTINGER , this museum located at "Mas Palégry" gathers planes , models and hundreds of original pieces. Open from Monday afternoon to Saturday from April 1st to October 31st.

Spectator sports: Perpignan is one of France's rugby hotbeds, and boasts professional teams in both rugby codes:

  • USA Perpignan — Plays rugby union (15 a side) in France's Top 14 competition, where it is frequently one of the strongest teams. Home ground is Stade Aimé Giral.
  • Dragons Catalans — Plays rugby league (13 a side) in Super League, where it is joined by 12 teams from England and one from Wales. Home ground is Stade Gilbert Brutus.
  • Premiere Classe Perpignan, Chemin Du Mas Palegry Rn9, 0 892 707 134 (fax: 33 (0)4 68 54 24 24), [6]. checkin: 13:30-0:00; checkout: 11:00-11:30. EUR 34-47.  edit
  • Best Hotel Perpignan, 900, Avenue D'espagne, [7]. checkin: 15:00-22:00; checkout: 7:00-12:00. EUR 45-60.  edit
  • Mas Camps, D117, Maury (2km after you leave Estagel directly on the D117), 04 68 29 10 77 (, fax: 00 44 870 123 1690), [8]. checkin: 15:00-22:00; checkout: 8:00-11:00. EUR 34-70.  edit
  • Tropic, Route D'Opoul. checkin: 0:00-0:00; checkout: 11:00-0:00. EUR 35-51.  edit
  • Victoria, 57 Avenue Maréchal Joffre. checkin: 16:00-20:00; checkout: 11:00-11:00. EUR 44-62.  edit
  • Hotel Aragon, 17 Avenue Gilbert Brutus, [9]. checkin: 14:00-0:00; checkout: 0:00-11:00. EUR 45-64.  edit
  • Comfort Inn Perpignan Aéroport, Avenue Du Languedoc Espace Polygone.. checkin: 12:00-0:00; checkout: 0:00-12:00. EUR 48-84.  edit
  • Campanile Perpignan, 12 Rue Alphonse Laveran, Lot. Porte D'espagne. checkin: 16:00-23:00; checkout: 0:00-11:00. EUR 49-70.  edit
  • Arcantis Hotel Mondial, 40 boulevard Clémenceau, 33 (0)4 68 34 23 45 (fax: 33 (0)4 68 34 55 07), [10]. checkin: 14:00-0:00; checkout: 0:00-12:00. EUR 53-80.  edit
  • Hotel De France, 26 Quai Sadi Carnot. checkin: 14:00-0:00; checkout: 11:00-12:00. EUR 45-70.  edit
  • Hôtel New Christina, 51 Cours Lassus. checkin: 17:00-0:00; checkout: 0:00-12:00. EUR 60-100.  edit
  • Kyriad Perpignan Centre, 8, Boulevard Wilson. checkin: 16:00-23:00; checkout: 0:00-11:00. EUR 69-95.  edit
  • PV-Holidays Port La Nouvelle [11] +33 1 58 21 55 84, Located between Narbonne and Perpignan and just a matter of minutes from the Spanish border. Also a car-free residence. Has at least 15km of sandy beaches (1.2km). On-site activities, include two large swimming pools, three tennis courts, table tennis, a multi-sports area, sailing, cycling and a children's playground.
  • P&V Résidence Maeva Port Argelès [12] +33 1 58 21 55 84, Argelès-sur-Mer is one of the major seaside resorts in the south of France (300 days of sunshine per year). The old and lively Catalan village is built around its church, and museum.Has private swimming pool, near the yachting marina, between sea and mountain, in the Port Argelès district. Located between two sand beaches
  • Villa Duflot, Rond Point Albert Donnezan, Serrat Den Vaquer, +33 (0)4 68 56 67 67 (, fax: 33 (0)4 68 56 54 05), [13]. checkin: 15:00-0:00; checkout: 12:00-12:00. You'll need a car since it's on the edge of the city among local highways. EUR 120-160.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PERPIGNAN, a town of south-western France, capital of the department of Pyrenees-Orientales, on the right bank of the Tet, 7 m. from the Mediterranean and 42 m. S. by W. of Narbonne by rail. Pop. (1906), town, 32,683; commune, 38,898. The north-west quarter of the town is traversed by the Basse, a tributary of the Tét, while to the south it is overlooked by a citadel enclosing a castle (13th century) of the kings of Majorca. The chapel is remarkable as being a mixture of the Romanesque, Pointed and Moorish styles. The ramparts surrounding the citadel are the work of Louis XI., Charles V. and Vauban. The sculptures and caryatides still to be seen on the gateway of the citadel were placed there by the duke of Alva. The cathedral of St Jean was begun in 1324 and finished in 1509. The most noteworthy feature in the building is an immense reredos of white marble (early 17th century) by Bartholomew Soler of Barcelona.

In the north of the town commanding the gateway of NotreDame (1481) there stands a curious machicolated stronghold known as the Castillet (14th and 15th centuries), now used as a prison. The buildings of the old university (18th century) contain the library and the museum, the latter possessing the first photographic proofs executed by Daguerre and a collection of sculptures and paintings. Statues of Francois Arago, the astronomer, and Hyacinthe Rigoud, the painter, stand in the squares named after them.

Perpignan is a fortified place of the first class, and seat of a prefect, a bishop and a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France, a communal college for boys, a school of music and training colleges for both sexes. The higher tribunal of Andovic sits at Perpignan. Trade is in wine, iron, wool, oil, corks and leather.

Missing image

Perpignan dates at least from the 10th century. In the 11th and 12th centuries it was a capital of the counts of Roussillon, from whom it passed in 1172 to the kings of Aragon. Philip the Bold, king of France, died there in 1285, as he was returning from an unsuccessful expedition into Aragon. At that time it belonged to the kingdom of Majorca, and its sovereigns resided there until, in 1344, that small state reverted to the possession of the FIG. 4.

Missing image

G L FIG. 5.

kings of Aragon, who in 1349 founded a university at Perpignan. When Louis XI. occupied Roussillon as security for money advanced by him to the king of Aragon, Perpignan resisted the French arms for a considerable time, and only yielded through stress of famine (March 1 5, 1 475). Roussillon was restored to Aragon by Charles VIII. and Perpignan was again besieged in 1542 under Francis I., but without success. Later on, however, the inhabitants, angered by the tyranny and cruelty of the Spanish governor, surrendered the town to Louis XIII. The citadel held out until the 9th of September 1642, and the place has ever since belonged to France, to which it was formally ceded by the treaty of the Pyrenees (1659). In 1602 the bishopric of Elne was transferred to Perpignan.

See P. Vibal, Perpignan depuis les origines jusqu' a nos jours (Paris, 1898).

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Simple English


Perpignan is a town in the south of France of about 106,000 people (1999). It is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and is the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales orientales department.



Historians think that Perpignan was founded around the beginning of the 10th century (first mentioned in a document as villa Perpiniarum in 927). Soon, Perpignan became the capital of Roussillon.

Twinned and partner towns

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