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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 region is home to just under 500,000 people and the population has grown steadily since the 1960's as it welcomes many people from Northern Europe who buy holiday homes and retire in this sunny part of France.

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

perpignan france


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 

perpihnan1Collioure, Pyrenees-Orientales


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.



Accommodation Pyrenees-Orientales

Go Languedoc has some wonderful Pyrennes villas and gites for rent. Here is a selection of our most popular holiday accommodation in Pyrenees-Orientales:



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.


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Le Vallespir holiday apartment with pool Pyrenees France (Ref: 964)

Holiday apartment South France 2023


Le Vallespir holiday apartment is the perfect place for a relaxing break in the South of France. The apartment is just 20 mins from Perpignan airport and the Mediterranean beaches are a short drive away.

The apartment is located within a 15th Century farmhouse, just 3 kms from the popular market town of Ceret. Ceret, was frequented by famous artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Georges Braque and Marc Chagall and there is a Modern Art Museum in the centre of the town. The local village of Reynes is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the South of France and provides easy access for walks and mountain biking.

The apartment is located on the top floor of the farmhouse and comes with 2 bedrooms, air conditioning and a private terrace with lovely views.


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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. 


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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, Wi-Fi 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.


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Where to next . . . ?

iain pink smallI 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:



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 mountainsPerpignan tourism information

Perpignan has a distinct Catalan atmosphere. Our Perpignan tourism guide helps shed some light on the best things to do and see in Perpignan if you are visiting the South of France during 2024.


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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