Perpignan is a great town in a great location in the Eastern Pyrénées. Beyond has visited here a few times, but in our pre-photographic days.
The current town of Perpignon is divided into three historical parts: the citadelle (13th century), the vieille ville ("old town", 14th century), and the vieille ville ("new town", 19th century).
Altitude: 30 m
Argelès-sur-Mer 25 km |
Avignon 260 km (3h00) |
Canet-en-Roussillon 11 km |
Canet-Plage 13 km |
Carcassonne 115 km |
Couiza 90 km |
Marseille 320 km (2h50) |
Maury 35 km |
Montpellier 154 km |
Nice 475 km (4h30) |
Nîmes 210 km |
Prades 105 km (2h10) |
Toulouse 210 km (1h50) |
Hotels near Perpignan: |
11 km Canet-en-Roussillon |
13 km Canet-Plage |
25 km Argeles-sur-Mer |
90 km Couiza |
105 km (2h10) Prades |
115 km Carcassonne |
The Citadelle. Construction was started in the time of Jacques the Conquerer, and included the palais of the kings of Majorque. The complex was completed by Louis XI, Charles-Quint, Philippe II and Vauban (our builder of forts). Today you can see the 13th-14th century Palais of the Kings of Majorque, built of the round "galets" from the nearby river, and with its corner towers built of brick and marble.
The two-story chapel, built in 1300, includes the lower Chapelle Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, reserved for the Queen, and the upper Chapelle Sainte-Croix, reserved for theKing.
The Vieille Ville (old town). Grouped around the cathedral, the "Castillet" was built by the King of Aragon in 1368 to protect and to control the town. You can still see the arched, pink-brick donjon, the corner towers, and the 15th century hexagonal watchtower. The church, église Saint-Jean-le-Vieux, consacrated  in 1025 by the Bishop d'Elne.
The Cathedral Saint-Jean-Baptiste became the colegial in 1324, has 11th and 12th century chapels and an interesting coupola  and clock tower.
The Ville Neuve (new town). In the 19th century the fortifications were demantled, new development was begun, and the town expanded out beyond the old walls. The town and some of its suburbs are interesting for a wandering visit. Check out the 1859 Palais de Justice.
- Some of the more interesting historical sites to see in Perpignan, in addition to those mentioned in the three "centers" of town (above), include
- The Loge de Mer, started in 1388 and completed in 1540, was designed to model the Italian municipal "palais".
- The old caserne Saint-Jacques and the "Saint-Jacques fortifications.
- The 16th-17th century Hôtel de ville (town hall), and especially the ceiling of the 17th-c salle des mariages.
- The 15th century Palais de Justice, with its doors and windows.
- The 14th-c Cloître Saint-Jean.
- The 13th-c church, Eglise Saint-Marie-de-la-Réal.
- The 14th-c convent, Couvent des Carmes.
- The 13th/14th-c church, Eglise Saint-Dominique.
- The 13th-c church, Eglise des Cordeliers and the remains of the Franciscian Convent.
- Other streets and places to look for while wandering through the old streets of the town inclde
- Rue des Marchands.
- Nr 7 rue du Théâtre: Renaissance facade.
- Nr 3 rue de la Fabrique-Nabot: maison Julia with a sculpted doorway.
- Nr 8 rue de la Main-de-Fer: house built about 1515.
- Nr 12 rue Fontaine-Neuve: the 16th/18th-c maison Cagarriga and museum.
- The Aqueduc des Arcades.
- The Cinema Castillet with its entrance marquee.
- The ancient store, magasin "Aux Dames de France at the Place de Catalogne.
Ancient name: Ruscino (Celtic oppidum); Julia Ruscion colony in the Roman Province of Narbonensis I. The modern name is Castel Roussillion.
Ruscino to Ruscion to Roussillion is the origin of the name of this region of France, and the present-day department of Languedoc-Roussillon [map, southwest]
The original inhabitants around the 6th century BC were a tribe that traded with the Greeks and the nomadic Champs d'Urnes civilisation. By the 2nd century BC the area was dominated by the Celts.
In the time of Auguste, the Roman Domitienne Way (voie Domitienne) crossed through here on it's way between Italy and Spain. An oppidum including a forum and a temple was built, where the route crossed the Têt river, in the time of Augustus.
The site expanded into a proper village, prospering until around the 5th century when the barbarian invasions devistated the area. it wasn't until the 10th century that the domain Villa Perpiniana was established overlooking the river.
The Counts of Roussillon resided and ruled here in the 11th century. The last Count of Roussillon died in 1172 and [leaged] the domain to the King of Aragon. In 1262, Jacques le Conquérant (Jacques the Conquerer) left Perpignan and his French domains to the eldest son Majorque, and the future King moved into Perpignan.
The Kingdom of Majorque disappeared in 1344, and the Perpignan was ruled by an administrator until the wars between Louis XI and Aragon in the 15th century.
A spanish garrison  surrendered the site to French troups in the 17th century, and it became officially French in 1659 by the Treaty of the Pyrénées.
The archeological site of Ruscino, now Castel Roussillion, is about 5 km east of the town center on the south side of the Têt river, out the Route de Canet (D617a), then north at the round-about on the Chemin du Charlemagne (C17); 3 km southeast of Bompas.
Finds here include Celtic, Iberique and Greek pottery and urns of the Champs d'Urnes. Roman finds include pottery, mosaic , ceramic and money, not to mention a forum, ovens, and houses.
Cycling Tour de France
On the route of the 2009 Tour de France, stage 5 finish, Cap d'Agde to Perpignan.
Lodging - Hotels