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Tourist spots in France: Perpignan tourism information 2024


 

The Perpignan region in South France has a real Catalan feel to it. Partly, this is due to its proximity to Spain (25 kms away) and partly due to its history as part of the old King of Majorca's province. I really like the old town of Perpignan. It is a real pleasure to walk around, especially the narrow maze of street towards the Palais des Rois de Majorque. Perpignan has a couple of buildings worth searching out. It is also a great town to shop in and quite pleasant to look at along the grassy esplanades of the river that runs through it. In short, ther are plenty of things to do in Perpignan to occupy an afternoon or evening. 

Our Perpignan tourism guide helps shed some light on the best things to do in Perpignan and the surrounding region in 2024.

 

Tourist spots in France: Perpignan tourism 2024
Perpignan tourism office [Photo courtesy of https://www.instagram.com/perpignancentredumonde/]

 

Perpignan is the capital of Roussillon. As I have said above, the people from Perpignan have a real identity as being Catalans. I am all for people adopting a primary and secondary identity - like the French Bretons - but Catalan is a bit of a strange one because there has never been an independent country called Catalonia. There was a Count of Barcelona who was created by the Franks under the leadership of Charlemagne, but his territory never extended much beyond the province of Barcelona and certainly, never extended up to the Pyrenees and into the area around Perpignan. In fact, much of modern day Catalonia was divided up by the Frank rulers into separate principalities, each with their own local ruler.

In fact the nearest and most closest association with Spain came from two distinct periods of history. The Kingdom of Majorca ruled over the Balearic Islands, the county of Roussillon (in modern day France) and interestingly, the County of Aumelas in France (which is today the city of Montpellier). In fact, Montpellier could have just as much claim to be Catalan (or Majorcan) than Perpignan. The Majorcan Kingdom lasted from 1231 to 1349.

The Kings of Mallorca made Perpignan their mainland capital and brought prosperity to the town from cloth-making. They built an impressive palace in the town, the Palais des Rois de Majorque. Following the Hundred Years War between the English and French thrones, the Kingdom of Majorca was eventually absorbed into the Kingdom of Aragon. Perpignan only finally became part of modern day France in 1659.

 

perpignan france

 

The second and probably more long-lasting Spanish influence, came from the 40-50,000 refugees that fled Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The refugees were housed in enormous refugee camps near to Argeles-sur-Mer and in Rivesaltes (close to Perpignan airport). The Spanish refugees did not have a great time of it. They faced the continual threat and persecution from Franco, the Spanish dictato. They then enlisted in the French army at the start of the Second World War to fight the Nazis. They then faced the threat of being deported into Labour camps in France and Germany or escape and join the French resistance (and formed a distinct fighting force called The Maquis). But a lot of the Spanish remained in France after WW2 and had families and eventually found work. A lot of our French friends around Pezenas have Spanish heritage and are usually bi-lingual.

 

 

Where is Perpignan?

x perpignan1

 

Perpignan is located in the very south of France, close to the Spanish border. It is on the Mediterranean coast, with beaches just a few kilometres away. From the centre of Perpignan you can see the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain and this gives the city a very eye-pleasing back-drop. Perpignan is on the mainline TGV route between Paris and Barcelona. It also has it's own airport, which regular flights to London Stansted.

 

 

Perpignan tourism - Palace of the Kings of Majorca Perpignan

perpignan castle south france

 

The Palais des Rois (or Palace of the Kings of Majorca Perpignan to give it it's full English translation) has come to symbolise Perpignan. It is a massive palace sitting on a hill to the south of the city centre. Some of the original building still remains, but the impressive outer defences were constructed by Louis XIII and Richelieu after they successfully took Perpignan from the Catalans in 1659. The Palace of the Kings of Majorca is a great spot to take in the city of Perpignan and provides views out towards the Mediterranean.

 

 

Perpignan things to do - Perpignan old town

perpignan streets

 

In the centre of Perpignan's old town you will find the 15th century Palais de la Deputation (where the Count of Aragon once convened the Roussillon parliament); the 16th century Hotel de Ville; and the 14th Century Loge de Mer, which served as the regions stock exchange. The square outside these buildings once served as a base for executions during the 15th-16th centuries. At the end of the place de Loge, you will also find Perpignan's iconic building, Le Castillet, a red brick tower that was once the main gate of the old town walls and also served as a gaol.

 

 

Things to do in Perpignan - Musee Rigaud

musee rigaud perpignan

 

This old 17th century Palace, was originally the workshop of the artist Hyacinthe Rigaud, a favourite of the court of Louis XIV. But it later served as a studio for a range of famous artists such as Picasso, Dufy, Maillol and Cocteau. If you have time it is well worth popping in to see the collection of paintings from its former residents. Musee Rigaud is on rue Ange, close to place Arago (see Musee Rigaud for more information).

 

 

 

Things to see in Perpignan - Perpignan train station

dali en levitation perpignanSalvador Dali art installation, Perpignan [Photo courtesy of https://madeinperpignan.com/]

 

The train station itself is a relatively plain old building, but it has been adorned on top with a statue of Salavador Dali who immortalised it in a couple of his paintings ("Le Gare de Perpignan" 1963). The Perpignan railway station held special significance for Dalí, who once remarked that it was the "centre of the world". Indeed there was once an old milestone erected that simply read "Centre du Monde 0.0km".He claimed to have experience a vision whilst passing through the station. Dali indeed decorated part of Perpignan train station during refurbishment work.

 

 

 

Tourist spots in France: Perpignan beaches

perpignan beachesPerpignan itself is a good base from which to explore the rest of Roussillon. Either by car or train you can reach Ceret, Thuir, Ille-sur-Tet, Sales or the coast at Collioure and Argeles-sur-Mer. The outskirts of Perpignan are pretty scruffy.

Near to Perpignan you will find some excellent beaches, especially at Argeles-sur-Mer, St Cyprien Plage and Le Franqui.

The beaches closest to Perpignan are a bit overdeveloped (Canet Plage), but Torreiles beach is probably the best bet. It is less crowded in the summer months. But all in all Perpignan is a good town and worth a visit.

 

 

Water Parks near Perpignan

teleskiTeleski Wakepark [Photo courtesy of Laurent Lacombe]

 

If you are planning a trip to Perpignan and you are travelling with kids or grandchildren, then there is plenty to do and see to keep them amused. As we have seen above, there are plenty of good beaches around Perpignan, but there are also some excellent water parks and activity centres as well. 

The Teleski Centre, is a water sports centre located near to Perpignan at St Jean Pla de Courts. It offers 4 different activities including wake-boarding on a zip wire, water skiing, water skating (I suppose the nearest equivalent is snowboarding on water) and Water jumping. There is an excellent website for the centre (in multiple languages) at Teleski.

The centre offers a Discovery introductory package at 27 € (29 € July and August) where you can try out individual activities. The prices for individual activities range from €30 - €42 for a half day pass.

 

Teleski St Jean Pla de Courts

Address: Chemin du Mas Chambon, 66490 Saint-Jean-Pla-de-Corts, France.

Phone: +33 (0) 6 67 83 56 62

Website: Teleski Perpignan

 

 

The Paradise Aventure is located on the outskirts of Argeles-sur-Mer has developed a reputation as one of the best extreme water sports centres in the South of France. But Paradise Activity is really 6 adventure parks in one: 

 

canyoning

 

The Canyon Park is situated in a disused quarry where you can jump off cliffs into 14 different clear water plunge pools. The jumps vary from 3 meters to 7 meters in height. The park also provides for an Abseiling route under the waterfalls, a Climbing net and Rope Ladder, a 100 meter zipline ends with you plunging into a water pool and a guided tour through an Underground river

There is also an Extreme Sports centre which features, among other things, a 30 metre high tower which you can abseil down (or jump using a specially designed Flight Line), 150m Tyrolene zip wire which drops you into another plunge pool, an Air Bag jump - which basically involves you launching yourself off the tower 8 metres up and you land on a cushioned air bag. This is mainly aimed at older kids.

There is a Tree-Climbing centre featuring 19 different courses to cater for all ages and levels. The highlight of the centre is a 100 meter fast zip line.

The Golf Centre features two 18 hole crazy golf courses, set within a large Mediterranean park. It sounds a bit tame, but if you think of your usual crazy-golf course on steroids, then that is what you will experience here. It is primarily aimed at younger kids.

 

water jump centre argeles sur mer

 

The Water Jump park is as it is is described. Think of a 6 storey high Ski Jump which is designed as a water slide into a lake and you have the Water Jump Park. Plus if you add into the mix your usual band of teenage nutters in safety hats, all egging each other on, you can imagine the sort of experience. 

Finally, there is an Adventure course aimed at 5 to 9 years old. It is basically an obstacle course containing climbing nets, suspended rope courses, climbing walls and ball pits. The children are timed to complete the course.
You will find all of the parks (except the Golf Centre), next to the Luna Park on the outskirts of Argeles sur Mer in the direction of St Cyprien. The Golf centre is located next to Plage Nord in Argeles sur Mer. For more information about all the parks, please visit Paradise Aventure Parks. The parks are open from February until November. The parks are just open from 14.00 to 18.00 during the low season (February, March, September and October). During April to early July, the parks are open from 10.00 to 19.00. During high season (July & August) the parks are open from 10.00 to 20.00.

The daily ticket prices vary according to which park you visit. The Canyon Park is the most expensive

Adult (12 years +) : 33 €
Child (8 to 11 years) : 29 € 
Family (1 adult and 1 child) : 58 €

 

Paradise Aventure Argelès sur Mer

Address: Espace de Loisirs, 7 Impasse Copernic, 66700 Argelès-sur-Mer, France

Phone: +33 04 68 95 41 66

Website: Paradise Adventure

 

Finally in St Cyprien, close to Perpignan, you will find a large water park run by Aqualand. The park is open from 15 June to 8 September each year. The entry price ranges from 26€-28€ for adults and 19.50€-21.50€ for children. A family ticket can be bought for €85. Purchasing the the fast-pass is definitely worth the money because this water park can get very busy in the summer. The pass allows you to skip to the front of the queues to collect rings to go on the slides.

 

aqualand

 

As with all Aqualand water parks, there are plenty of grasses area set aside for picnics and lockers are readily available (so you don't have to carry everything around with you). This park features the main Aqualand attractions, such as the Niagra, the Snake Canyon, the Twister which features a 20 metre descent, Total-Zebra and the The Wave - a giant wing shaped ride where you slide up and down from side to side. The Anaconda is a twin water slide where your kids can race each other down to the pool at the bottom. Big Bob is a fast, twisting flume ride and the Black Hole is a ride where you largely twist down the slide in pitch darkness. The Space Navigator is a mixture of open slides and enclosed for the lower stretch.

Aqualand Saint-Cyprien will be open from 19 June to 8 September 2024 and ticket prices will be €32 euros for Adults & Teenagers (over 11 years) and €25 euros for children (4 to 11 years).

 

Aqualand Saint Cyprien

Address: Avenue des Champs de Neptune, 66750 Saint-Cyprien, France

Phone: +33 04 68 21 49 49

Website: Aqualand Saint Cyprien

 

 

 

 

Cheap flights to Perpignan airport France during 2024

perpignan airport france

 

Perpignan airport is the Southern most airport in mainland France. Although it has some regular flights to Paris and other cities in France (Nantes, Lille and Bastia), Perpignan airport is mainly a seasonal airport, with a summer schedule of flights from Birmingham and Stansted airports with Ryanair and Southampton airport with Flybe (June-August only).

Although, with the recently reported financial troubles of Flybe, there is some doubt that this route will continue to run. At nearly €590 return, it is doubtful that many passengers really regard this route as a low cost alternative to Ryanair.

During the summer months (May to mid-September), Aer Lingus runs 4 flights per week from Dublin airport to Perpignan airport. The flight prices are currently quite reasonable, at around €200 each way.

Ryanair are currently advertising flights to Perpignan airport from London Stansted for just €40 return - which is an incredible price. The prices do pick up quite a lot for weekend flights, especially on a Saturday. So if you are looking to fly to Perpignan for a family holiday this summer, you might be advised to look for a villa to rent with flexible changeover dates. In fact, when you weigh up the costs, it may be worth paying slightly more for the villa (if you can arrive on a different day than Saturday), because you will then save quite a bit money on the flights.

 

Check the latest Ryanair flight costs and availability: FLIGHTS TO PERPIGNAN AIRPORT

 

Perpignan has its own airport with flights to the following destinations:

  • Marrakech, Morocco (Ryanair)
  • Agadir, Morocco (Ryanair)
  • Paris Orly (Transavia)
  • Nantes, France (Volotea)
  • Lille, France (Volotea)
  • Brussels-Charleroi, Belgium (with Ryanair)
  • London Stansted, UK (with Ryanair) 
  • Birmingham, UK (with Ryanair) 
  • Leeds-Bradford, UK (Ryanair)
  • Dublin, Ireland (Aer Lingus)

You can catch flights to Perpignan airport from a number of European countries (all flights with Ryanair, unless otherwise stated):

 

 Perpignan airport flights 2024  Mon  Tues  Wed  Thurs  Fri  Sat  Sun
 London Stansted, UK    April-Oct  June-Sept  June-Sept  June-Sept  April-Oct  
 Leeds-Bradford airport, UK    May-Sept        May-Sept  
 Birmingham airport, UK      May-Sept        May-Sept
 Dublin, Ireland (Aer Lingus)  June-August    May-Aug      May-Aug  May-Aug
 Agadir, Morocco  April-Oct      April-Oct      
 Marrakech, Morocco  April-Oct      April-Oct      
 Bruxelles-Charleroi, Belgium    April-Oct  April-Oct  April-Oct  Annual  April-Oct  April-August
 Paris Orly (Transvia)  Annual  Annual  Annual  Annual  Annual  Annual  Annual
 Oran, Algeria (ASL airlines)    Jun-Oct    Jun-Oct      

 

Perpignan also has a TGV train station with fast services up to Paris (5 hours 50 mins) and down to Barcelona (2 hours 35 mins). The A9 autoroute also passes close to Perpignan. So if you are looking for a convenient base for a long stay in France, then Perpignan is a great spot to choose.

 

 

 

 

Accommodation Perpignan region summer 2024

If you are looking to come to the Perpignan region this summer, then Go Languedoc has a range of accommodation options close to Perpignan and the beaches of the Languedoc coast. The full selection of Perpignan apartments and villas to rent in France can be found here Perpignan region accommodation. 

 

Here are 3 of our most popular villas to rent in the Perpignan area during summer 2024:

 

1. Villa Vell-Roure, South of France holiday home, sleeps 10 (Ref: 225)

Mas Vell Roure villa South France 2023

 

Villa Vell-Roure is a spacious 5 bedroom holiday villa in South of France. The villa is located on the edge of the small village of Villelongue-dels-Monts, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, just 15 km from the Mediterranean coast.

The villa enjoys splendid views over the nearby village and on towards the Mediterranean coastline in the distance. The villa features 5 double bedrooms, all of which come with their own bathroom and air conditioning. The villa sleeps 10 guests in comfort and comes with a large private pool (with a security fence). The villa is located up a private lane in a quiet residential area. The villa is situated on a substantial plot and there is ample parking for a number of vehicles. 

This South of France holiday villa is the perfect retreat for a large family group or crowd of friends looking for a very special property in a rural location. 

 

Check prices & availability

 

 

 

 

 

2. Argeles sur Mer villa for South of France beach holidays, pool (Ref: 1327)

Villa to rent South France 2023

 

If you are looking for a nice villa for South of France beach holidays with the family, then this property in Argeles-sur-Mer is ideal. This villa comes with a private pool and is situated close to the beach in Argeles sur Mer.

The house has been updated to a very high standard and provides very comfortable accommodation. There are 3 double bedrooms, a spacious living room, WiFi and lovely views over the town and to the hills behind. The house benefits from modern appliances and refurbished bathrooms. This villa is perfect for South of France beach holidays with the family.  The villa has a garden and provides comfortable accommodation for up to 6 people. 

Argeles-sur-mer has 7km of beach, a marina and a host of restaurants and shops. Perpignan is 20kms to the North and the Spanish border is 25 kms to the South.

 .

Check prices & availability

 

 

 

 

3. Casa Baléares - 5 bed coastal holiday villa private pool South France (Ref: 2029)

cheap beach holidays to France 2023

 

Casa Baléares is a lovely 5 bedroom villa with private pool in Southern France that can sleep 12 people. The villa is set in the foothills of the Pyrenees, just 15 minutes drive to the Mediterranean coast and the beaches at Argeles-sur-Mer, Saint Cyprien and Collioure. A short walk takes you into the centre of the sought-after village of Laroque des Alberes, with all the shops and restaurants that you will need. Perpignan is just 20kms to the North and the Spanish border is just 15 mins away.

The villa is located in a quiet residential on a large plot of 2,800m2 plot. This holiday rental villa comes with 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, spacious lounge, games room and lovely views. This large holiday rental villa in Laroque-des-Alberes is the perfect accommodation for a large family or a couple of families holidaying together.

Laroque is a great village to be based in, providing easy access to the Mediterranean beaches and the sites of the Languedoc and Northern Spain. The village comes with a popular bar and a couple of restaurants. A great location for a family holiday in Southern France.

Available for weekly rentals in July and August from €3500.

 

Check prices & availability

 

 

 

 

 


 

Where to next . . .?

If you are planning a trip to the Perpignan in Southern France in 2024, then there is a wealth of things to do and see. In addition to the Mediterranean beaches along the beautiful Cote Vermeille and the Catalan atmosphere of Perpignan itself, there are also some of the most beautiful towns and villages in France, including Collioure, Laroque-des-Alberes, Ceret and Ille-sur-Têt. You can also visit the local Cathar monuments, such as the castles at QuéribusChâteau de PeyrepertuseChâteaux de Lastours and Château de Montségur. From a tourism perspective, there is plenty to see and do around Perpignan.

 

 

Pyrenees-Orientales department South France

Read all about the beautiful Pyrenees-Orientales department in Southern France. This area of the eastern Pyrenees is a popular holiday destination in France and perfect for a family vacation in 2024.

 

pyrenees mountainsPyrenees mountains between France and Spain

The stunning Pyrenees mountains which separate France and Spain, is a beautiful part of Southern France to visit. Discover the key highlights along the 430km route of the Pyrenees.

 

Cathars in LanguedocPerpignan art museum: Musee Rigaud

Musee Rigaud art museum in Perpignan hosts a artworks from a variety of Artists with a strong connection to Perpignan, from Picasso, to Dali, to Raoul Dufy, Maillol and Jean Cocteau.

 

beziers riverPerpignan airport - cheap flights to South of France in 2024

Check out the latest schedule of cheap flights to Perpignan airport in South France. We have compiled a handy guide of the 10 airports across Europe that fly to Perpignan and which days they fly in 2024 

 

beziers airport south france8 Best Perpignan beaches South France

Discover the 8 best beaches near Perpignan to visit in 2024. These beaches vary from small fishing coves to wide open golden sandy beaches.

 

Cathars in LanguedocHoliday accommodation in Perpignan South France

Discover our range of holiday villas and gites in the Perpignan area of Southern France. With beautiful Mediterranean beaches and views of the Pyrenees, Perpignan is a great holiday destination in France.

 

 

Contact Iain by Email if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about visiting the South of France. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France. 

 

Go Languedoc
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