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Perpinyà  (Catalan)
Perpignan banner.jpg
Perpignan - panoramio.jpg
Quai Sebastien Vauban - panoramio.jpg
Castillet in Perpignan.jpg
Perpignan seen from the Palace of the Kings of Majorca
Arms of Perpignan.svg
Coat of arms
Location of Perpignan
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrenees region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 42°41′55″N2°53′44″E / 42.6986°N 2.8956°E / 42.6986; 2.8956 Coordinates: 42°41′55″N2°53′44″E / 42.6986°N 2.8956°E / 42.6986; 2.8956
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Pyrénées-Orientales
Arrondissement Perpignan
Canton Perpignan-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Intercommunality Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole
  Mayor (2014-2020) Jean-Marc Pujol (UMP) (Radical-LR)
68.07 km2 (26.28 sq mi)
 (2016-01-01) [1]
  Density1,800/km2 (4,700/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Perpignanais
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
66136 /66000
Elevation8–95 m (26–312 ft)
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)
Website (in French) (in Catalan)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Perpignan ( /ˈpɜːrpɪnjɒ̃/ , US: /ˌpɛərpˈnjɒn/ , [2] [3] French:  [pɛʁpiɲɑ̃] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Catalan : Perpinyà [pəɾpiˈɲa] ) is the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in Southwest France, and the centre of the metropolitan area Perpignan Mediterranée Métropole. Perpignan was the capital of the former province and County of Roussillon (Rosselló in Catalan) and continental capital of the Kingdom of Majorca in the 13th and 14th centuries.

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

Catalan language Romance language

Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern modern Spain. It is the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia. It also has semi-official status in the Italian comune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the eastern strip of Aragon, in some villages of Region of Murcia called Carche and in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. These territories are often called Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".

Prefectures in France deconcentrated executive authority of the French State, in charge of the administrative control of public services and territorial collectivities operating on its local territory

A prefecture in France may refer to:


In 2016 Perpignan had 121,875 inhabitants (Perpignanais(e) in French, Perpinyanés(a) in Catalan) in the commune proper, and the metropolitan area had a total population of 268,577.



Perpignan is located in the center of the Roussillon plain, 13 km west of the Mediterranean coast. It is the southernmost of the cities of metropolitan France.

Metropolitan France Part of France located in Europe

Metropolitan France, also known as European France or Mainland France, is the part of France in Europe. It comprises mainland France and Corsica, as well as other islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel and the Mediterranean Sea.

Pyrénées-Orientales Department of France

Pyrénées-Orientales, also known as Northern Catalonia, is a department of Occitanie adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It also surrounds the tiny Spanish exclave of Llívia, and thus has two distinct borders with Spain.

In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-five departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.


Perpignan is crossed by the largest river in Roussillon, the Têt, and by one of its tributaries, the Basse. Floods have occurred, as in 1892 when the rising of the Têt in Perpignan destroyed 39 houses, leaving more than 60 families homeless. [4]

Têt (river) river in Roussillon, France

The Têt is the largest river in Pyrénées-Orientales, southwestern France. It is 116 kilometres (72 mi) long. The Têt has its source at the foot of the Pic Carlit in the Pyrenees. It crosses the Pyrénées-Orientales département from West to East and ends in the Mediterranean Sea, near Perpignan.


Perpignan experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) similar to much of the Mediterranean coastline of France.

Mediterranean climate Type of climate

A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typically located along the western sides of continents, between roughly 30 and 45 degrees north and south of the equator. The main cause of Mediterranean, or dry summer climate, is the subtropical ridge which extends northwards during the summer and migrates south during the winter due to increasing north-south temperature differences.

Köppen climate classification climate classification system

The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by the German-Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.

Climate data for Perpignan (1981–2010 averages)
Record high °C (°F)25.0
Average high °C (°F)12.4
Daily mean °C (°F)8.3
Average low °C (°F)4.4
Record low °C (°F)−8.2
Average precipitation mm (inches)65.4
Average precipitation days5.
Average snowy days0.
Average relative humidity (%)70686464666259636873717166.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 141.2160.8209.6218.0235.8268.9298.2267.4222.2167.6149.2126.12,464.9
Source #1: Météo France [5] [6]
Source #2: (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990) [7]



The motorway A9 connects Perpignan with Barcelona and Montpellier.

A9 autoroute French controlled-access highway from Orange to Perthus

The A9 autoroute is a motorway in southern France.


Perpignan is served by the Gare de Perpignan railway station, which offers connections to Paris, Barcelona, Toulouse, and several regional destinations. Salvador Dalí proclaimed it to be the "Cosmic Centre of the Universe" after experiencing a vision of cosmogonic ecstasy there in 1963. [8]


The nearest airport is Perpignan–Rivesaltes Airport.


Attested forms

The name of Perpignan appears in 927 as Perpinianum, followed in 959 by Villa Perpiniano, Pirpinianum in the 11th century, Perpiniani in 1176. Perpenyà, which appears in the 13th century, is the most common form until the 15th century, and was still used in the 17th century. It probably derives from the Roman name Perpennius.


Historical affiliations
Perpignan circa 1780 Perpignan - Ecole militaire (vers 1780).jpg
Perpignan circa 1780

Though settlement in the area goes back to Roman times, the medieval town of Perpignan seems to have been founded around the beginning of the 10th century. Soon Perpignan became the capital of the counts of Roussillon. Historically, it was part of the region known as Septimania. In 1172 Count Girard II bequeathed his lands to the Counts of Barcelona. Perpignan acquired the institutions of a partly self-governing commune in 1197. French feudal rights over Roussillon were given up by Louis IX in the Treaty of Corbeil.

When James I the Conqueror, king of Aragon and count of Barcelona, founded the Kingdom of Majorca in 1276, Perpignan became the capital of the mainland territories of the new state. The succeeding decades are considered the golden age in the history of the city. It prospered as a centre of cloth manufacture, leather work, goldsmiths' work, and other luxury crafts. King Philippe III of France died there in 1285, as he was returning from his unsuccessful crusade against the Aragonese Crown.

Perpignan circa 1905 Perpignan - Avenue de la Gare (vers 1905).jpg
Perpignan circa 1905

In 1344 Peter IV of Aragon annexed the Kingdom of Majorca and Perpignan once more became part of the County of Barcelona. A few years later it lost approximately half of its population to the Black Death. It was attacked and occupied by Louis XI of France in 1463; a violent uprising against French rule in 1473 was harshly put down after a long siege, but in 1493 Charles VIII of France, wishing to conciliate Castile in order to free himself to invade Italy, restored it to Ferdinand II of Aragon.

Again besieged and captured by the French during the Thirty Years' War in September 1642, Perpignan was formally ceded by Spain 17 years later in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, and from then on remained a French possession.

Government and politics


MayorTerm startTerm end
Edmond BenoitJuly 1910May 1911
Léon NérelMay 1911May 1912
Joseph DenisMay 1912May 1929
Victor Dalbiez May 1929May 1935
Jean PayraMay 193529 May 1937 (death)
Laurent BaudruJune 1937December 1940
Antoine CastillonDecember 1940March 1941
Ferdinand CoudrayMarch 1941August 1944
Félix MercaderAugust 194411 March 1949 (death)
Félix DepardonApril 1949March 1959
Paul Alduy March 1959May 1993
Jean-Paul Alduy June 199327 April 2009 (election of 2008 cancelled)
Bernard Bacou (retired magistrate acting as mayor)27 April 20095 July 2009
Jean-Paul Alduy 5 July 200915 October 2009 (resignation)
Jean-Marc Pujol22 October 2009

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Perpignan is twinned with:

Partner towns
  • Flag of Spain.svg Girona, Catalonia, Spain, since 1988
  • Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, since 1994
  • Flag of Spain.svg Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, since 1996

Population and society

Perpignan street name sign in French and Catalan. Straatnaambord-in-Perpignan-trimmed.jpg
Perpignan street name sign in French and Catalan.


Population 1962-2008 Population - Municipality code 66136.svg
Population 1962-2008


The famous "Sanch Procession" folklore, once forbidden by the Church, is still celebrated in Perpignan, Arles-sur-Tech, and Collioure. Sanch perpignan 2007 (18).jpg
The famous "Sanch Procession" folklore, once forbidden by the Church, is still celebrated in Perpignan, Arles-sur-Tech, and Collioure.

Since 2004, the free three-day Guitares au Palais is held each year in the last weekend of August in the Palace of the Kings of Majorca. The festival has a broad mainstream focus with pop-related music as well as traditional acoustic guitar music and alternative music. The festival has attracted international guests like Caetano Veloso (2007), Rumberos Catalans , Pedro Soler, Bernardo Sandoval, Peter Finger, and Aaron and Bryce Dessner (2008).

Each September, Perpignan hosts the internationally-renowned Visa pour l'Image festival of photojournalism. Free exhibitions are mounted in the Couvent des Minimes, Chapelle des Dominicaines and other buildings in the old town. [12]

In 2008, Perpignan became Capital of Catalan Culture. [13] In Perpignan many street name signs are in both French and Catalan.


Rugby side Catalans Dragons' Stade Gilbert Brutus. Gilbert.brutus..jpg
Rugby side Catalans Dragons' Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Like the rest of the south of France, Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USAP Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the global elite Heineken Cup and seven times champion of the French Top 14 (most recently in 2009). A Perpignan-based rugby league club plays in Northern Hemisphere's Super League under the name Catalans Dragons. The Dragons' games in Perpignan against the Northern English-based sides are usually very popular with British rugby fans, with thousands of them descending on the city on the day of the game, including lots of vacationing rugby fans travelling up from the Spanish Costa Brava joining the ones who came directly from home.


Traditional commerce was in wine, olive oil, corks (the cork oak Quercus suber grows in Perpignan's mild climate), wool, leather, and iron. In May 1907 it was a seat of agitation by southern producers for government enforcement of wine quality following a collapse in prices. JOB rolling papers are currently manufactured in Perpignan.

Sites of interest

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was begun in 1324 and finished in 1509. [14]

The 13th century Palace of the Kings of Majorca sits on the high citadel, surrounded by ramparts, reinforced for Louis XI and Charles V, which were updated in the 17th century by Louis XIV's military engineer Vauban.

The walls surrounding the town, which had been designed by Vauban, were razed in 1904 to accommodate urban development. The main city door, the Castillet is a small fortress built in the 14th century, which has been preserved. It had also been used as a prison until the end of the 19th century. [15]

The Hôtel Pams is a lavishly-decorated mansion designed for Jules Pams that illustrates the artistic taste of the wealthy bourgeois at the turn of the 20th century. [16]

Les Halles de Vauban are a new addition to the banks of the city's canal. Opened in November 2017 the indoor markets are privately owned and cost €1.5 million. Split over 2 locations, vendors offer fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, flowers, cheese etc. There is a bar and central eating court with a range of tapas, burgers, omelettes and food from around the world. [17]

Place de la Republique and theatre Place de la Republique Perpignan Panorama.jpg
Place de la République and theatre
Sadi Carnot and Vauban walkways and the river Bassa Perpignan panorama le quai Sadi Carnot et le quai Vauban le long de la riviere la Basse.jpg
Sadi Carnot and Vauban walkways and the river Bassa

Notable people linked to Perpignan


Perpignan has a close connection with the sculptor Aristide Maillol, who attended school there.

Following a visit in 1963, the Catalan surrealist artist Salvador Dalí declared the city's railway station the centre of the Universe, saying that he always got his best ideas sitting in its waiting room. Dalí's painting La Gare de Perpignan commemorates his vision of "cosmogonic ecstasy" there on September 19, 1963. [18] He followed that up some years later by declaring that the Iberian Peninsula rotated precisely at Perpignan station 132 million years ago – an event the artist invoked in his 1983 painting Topological Abduction of Europe – Homage to René Thom . [19] Above the station is a monument in Dali's honour, and across the surface of one of the main platforms is painted, in big letters, «perpignan centre du monde» (French for "perpignan centre of the world"). [20]

Perpignan train station Gare-de-perpignan.jpg
Perpignan train station

See also

Related Research Articles

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Fort Saint-Elme (France)

The Fort Saint-Elme is a military fort built between 1538 and 1552 by Charles V. It is located in the district of Collioure, 30 km south-east of Perpignan, in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales. It is designated as a monument historique of the Côte Vermeille. Since 2008, the fort has been a museum with medieval and Renaissance arms collections, exhibitions and a panorama over the area from the terrace.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Perpignan, France.


  1. "Populations légales 2016". INSEE . Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN   978-1-4058-8118-0.
  3. Jones, Daniel (2011). Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John (eds.). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-15255-6.
  4. Fabricio Cardenas. "Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales: Inondations en novembre 1892". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  5. "Données climatiques de la station de Perpignan" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  6. "Climat Languedoc-Roussillon" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  7. "Normes et records 1961-1990: Perpignan - Rivesaltes (66) - altitude 42m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  8. Coppens, Philip. "Salvador Dalí: painting the fourth dimension" . Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  9. "Hanover – Twin Towns". (in German). Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  10. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  11. "Sarasota Sister Cities Association, Sarasota Florida". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  12. "Visa Pour l'Image". 22 August 2017.
  13. "VilaWeb - Diari escola: Perpinyа, Capital de la Cultura Catalana 2008". 20 April 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  14. "Cathédrale St Jean-Baptiste" [Cathedral of St. John the Baptist]. Histoire du Roussillon. Retrieved 15 November 2011.(in French)
  15. Fabricio Cardenas. "Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales: La prison du Castillet, 1892". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  16. Fiche Pédagogique - Hôtel Pams de Perpignan (PDF) (in French), Association Pédagogique de la Plaine, du Vallespir et de la Côte Vermeille, retrieved 31 December 2015
  17. "Indoor markets bring new life to Perpignan | P-O Life". anglophone-direct. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  18. "Salvador Dali: painting the fourth dimension". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  19. Elliott King in Dawn Adès (ed.), Dalí, Bompiani Arte, Milan, 2004, p. 448
  20. "Picture Gallery - Directory: /pix/fr/electric/emu/TGV/Duplex/misc". Retrieved 17 December 2016.