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Pyrénées-Orientales
Coat of Arms of Pyrénées-Orientales
Location
Location of Pyrénées-Orientales in France
Administration
Department number: 66
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon
Prefecture: Perpignan
Subprefectures: Céret
Prades
Arrondissements: 3
Cantons: 31
Communes: 226
President of the General Council: Christian Bourquin
Statistics
Population Ranked 57th
 -2005 422,000
Population density: 95/km2
Land area¹: 4116 km2
¹ French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2.

Pyrénées-Orientales (English: Eastern Pyrenees, Catalan: Pirineus Orientals, Occitan: Pirenèus Orientals) is a department of southern France adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It also surrounds the tiny Spanish enclave Llívia, and thus has two distinct borders with Spain.

Contents

History

Prior to the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, most of the present department was part of the former Principality of Catalonia, within the Crown of Aragon, so the majority of it has historically been Catalan-speaking, and it is still sometimes referred to (mainly by Catalans and the Conseil général of Pyrénées-Orientales[1]) as Northern Catalonia. Pyrénées-Orientales also corresponds almost exactly to the pre-Revolutionary province of Roussillon. See also: French Cerdagne.

Invaded by Spain in April 1793, the area was recaptured thirteen months later.

Administration

The département is managed by the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales in Perpignan. The Pyrénées-Orientales is part of the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. The General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales is more and more involved with the European Union to create with the Generalitat of Catalonia, and Andorra, a Catalan Eurodistrict.

Geography

Pyrénées-Orientales has an area of 4,115 km². and a population of 422,000, of whom just over a quarter live in the capital, Perpignan. Other towns include Argelès-sur-Mer, Thuir, Elne (the ancient Illiberis) and Prades, each of 6-10,000 inhabitants.

Pyrénées-Orientales consists of three river valleys in the Pyrenees mountain range –from north to south, those of the Agly, Têt and Tech– and the eastern Plain of Roussillon into which they converge. Most of the population and agricultural production are concentrated in the plain, with only 30% of the area.

The upper Tech valley comprises the departments westernmost third, with just over a tenth of the total population. To the south-east, the Têt valley and the Côte Vermeille contain nearly 100,000 inhabitants. The Agly basin in the north-east has much in common with neighboring areas of Aude. Llívia is a town of Cerdanya, province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain, that forms a Spanish exclave surrounded by French territory.

Economy

Pyrénées-Orientales is a wine-growing area and a tourist destination.

Demographics

French is spoken by almost all the population. Minority languages in the region are Catalan and Occitan, which between them are estimated to be spoken by rather more than a quarter of the population and understood by more than 40%.

On 10 December 2007, the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales recognized Catalan as language of the Department, though French is still the only official language in France, according to the Constitution.[2]

The area is traditionally divided into comarques, of which five (French Cerdagne, Capcir, Conflent, Roussillon and Vallespir) are Catalan speaking and one (Fenouillèdes) is Occitan speaking. The five Catalan speaking comarques were historically part of the Kingdom of Majorca.

Culture

Places of interest include:

References

  1. ^ See the Preamble of the "Charter of the Catalan Language"
  2. ^ See Article 1 of the "Charter of the Catalan Language"

External links


Pays of the Pyrénées-Orientales
Blason 66.svg

Albères | Aspres | Capcir | Cerdagne | Conflent | Corbières catalanes | Fenouillèdes | Ribéral | Roussillon | Salanque | Vallespir | Côte Vermeille

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Pyrénées-Orientales is a Département in Languedoc-Roussillon, France.

  • Vernet-les-Bains - the small village of Casteil is on the road above this and is the nearest access point for the monastery of Saint Martin du Canigou. The even smaller village of Fillols with a beautiful Romanesque church is a pleasing walk away from Vernet-les-Bains.
  • Villefranche-de-Conflent - perfectly walled village and the eastern terminus of Le Petit Train Jaune, a highly scenic stretch of rail with wonderful viaducts.
  • Font Romeu - ski resort with a friendly micro-climate.
  • Mont-Louis A walled town at 1600 metres heavily fortified by Vauban in the late 17th century - still extensively used by the French army. between here and Olette lies perhaps the most scenic section of the route of Le petit train jaune
  • Pic Carlit - though nearly 3,000 metes in height, does not require specialist climbing skills in summer. Fabulous views and a good chance of seeing ibex and chamois.
Over two thirds up Pic Carlit
Over two thirds up Pic Carlit

Get in

Perpignan is easily accessible by train from NE Spain and from Paris and southern France. There is also an airport.

  • The petit train Jaune should be seen as an attraction in its own right rather than merely as a way of getting around. [1]
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Simple English

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