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The Pyrénées-Orientales department, France
The Pyrénées-Orientales department is located in the South of the Languedoc region of France bordering Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. The Pyrénées-Orientales department is a beautiful area of France, with stunning mountain ranges, a golden coastal area and in between, many vineyards. The regional Capital, Perpignan, is a fascinating town with a real Catalan spirit. The Spanish border to the south of Pyrénées-Orientales, has influenced the culture, language, cuisine and at times the allegiance of this southern-most department in France.
The Pyrénées-Orientales department
Prior to the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, most of the present department was part of the former Principality of Catalonia, within the Kingdom of Spain, so the majority of it has historically been Catalan-speaking.
The modern department of Pyrenees-Orientales was created during the French Revolution under the name of Roussillon. The department was invaded by Spain in April 1793, but recaptured thirteen months later during the War of the Roussillon. The name of the department was then changed to Pyrénées-Orientales. Today you can still hear a mixture of French, Catalan and Occitan spoken in the region.
The Pyrénées-Orientales department consists of three river valleys: Agly, Têt and Tech – all of which descend from the Pyrenees to the eastern Plain of Roussillon. The area is famous for its sweet wines such as the Muscat de Rivesaltes and Banyuls.
French Pyrenees holidays
The capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales department is Perpignan, a city which has a clear Catalan heritage. Its Spanish influence predominantly comes from the thousands of refugees that fled Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War. But it has also been part of the Catalan-Aragonese Crown, before it was brought under French control in 1659.
The most important building here though is the Palais des Rois. The Kings of Mallorca made Perpignan their mainland capital and brought with it prosperity from cloth-making.
Other important towns in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, include:
- Banyuls-sur-Mer: famous for its Banyuls wine and the birthplace of sculptor Aristide Maillol.
- Céret: considered to be one of the birthplaces of cubism, an art form that is displayed very effectively at Musée d'Art Moderne in the town.
- Collioure: a beautiful coastal town inhabited by many famous painters.
- Prades: site of the Catalan Summer University.
- Prats de Mollo and Salses: both of which contain impressive castles.
Along the Mediterranean coastline of the Pyrénées-Orientales department, you will also find important resort towns at Argeles-sur-Mer, St Cyprien and Leucate.
Go Languedoc has some wonderful Pyrennes villas and gites for rent. Here is a selection of our most popular holiday accommodation in Pyrenees-Orientales:
Villa Vell-Roure, South of France holiday home (Ref: 225)
Villa Vell-Roure, is a fantastic holiday villa on the edge of the small village of Villelongue-dels-Monts, close to the Mediterranean coast and the Spanish border. The villa enjoys splendid views over the nearby village and on towards the foothills of the Pyrénees and the Mediterranean coastline in the distance. All the bedrooms are air conditioned and come with their own bathroom.
Villa Vell-Roure has a fantastic swimming pool and large garden, perfect for a family holiday away from the hustle and bustle. The large villa sleeps 12 very comfortably and is very well equipped to create a home from home experience.
More information on Villa Vell-Roure, South of France holiday home
Villa Fleurie, Ceret holiday villa South of France with private pool sleeps 6 (Ref: 1456)
This holiday villa in Ceret, South of France, is located on a hillside and comes with pretty mountain views. Ceret is a popular town, located 20 mins from the beaches and 20kms from Perpignan. The Spanish border is just a short drive away. This lovely holiday villa features a large heated swimming pool (10m x 5m), 3 double bedrooms, 2 luxury bathrooms and a substantial garden. The villa is located in a very quiet and peaceful spot, but is only 10 minutes walk to the centre of Ceret.
Ceret is a well-known town in the South of France on account of its award-winning Modern Art Museum, which celebrates the town´s long association with famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. Ceret is also a large producer of Cherries (hence the name Ceret, from the French cerise) and to this day, Ceret sends the first crate of harvested cherries to the President of France. Ceret features a host of cafes, restaurants and shops, as well as beautiful squares and tree-lined avenues.
More information on Villa Fleurie, Ceret holiday villa South of France
Les Chartreuses Southern France villa rentals with pool (Ref: 1663)
If you are looking for holiday rental villas in Southern France for a family holiday this summer, then this lovely 3 bedroom property in Les-Chartreuses-du-Boulou is ideal. The villa is located on an elevated position and provides wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.
The Mediterranean beaches are just 15 mins away and the villa is just 20 mins drive to Perpignan airport. Inside the villa has a well-equipped kitchen, spacious living room, WiFI, Satellite TV and 2 bathrooms. Outside there is a swimming pool, large balcony and private parking for several cars.
More information on Les Chartreuses Southern France villa rentals
Where to next . . . ?
I hope that this article has provided you with some useful information about this beautiful region of Southern France. We live in the South of France all year around and we absolutely love being here. We are always out and about visiting new villa rental properties and researching tourism articles about the South of France. We have a great collection of articles with more ideas about things to do and places to visit in Pyrenees-Orientals, including:
- 8 Best Perpignan beaches to visit in 2022
- Weather in South France
- Cheap flights to Perpignan airport South of France during 2022
- Find some great holiday deals to Perpignan France in 2022 with last minute offers
If you would like some more detailed information or if you have any questions, then just drop us a quick message and we will come straight back to you. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France.
Contact Iain by Email or by phone +33 6 95 00 28 44