Perpignan city guide 2023: Best things to do

Perpignan has hogged the limelight for hundreds of years. First because the mainland capital of the kings of Mallorca till 1349, then as Catalonia’s second city (after Barcelona) till the area was annexed to France in 1659. By the early twentieth century, it was attracting probably the most notable artists of the time, together with Picasso, Lurçat and Dalí. After a fall from grace within the concrete, post-war years, the previous city has been re-pedestrianised and is reclaiming its creative heritage.

Not fairly French, nor Spanish, however totally Catalan, this city is as shiny and vibrant because the purple and yellow striped flags that adorn the colorful buildings.

What to do

The Artwork Deco mansion that’s L’Hôtel Pams is among the city’s primary points of interest


There’s an undisputed spotlight in Perpignan and that’s L’Hôtel Pams. The Artwork Deco mansion was the residence of Pierre Bardou, who made his fortune producing JOB cigarette papers, and was redesigned by his daughter Jeanne and her politician husband, Jules Pams. Eccentric, opulent and embellished with wall frescoes from head to toe, Hôtel Pams is sort of a mash-up between London’s Leighton Home and the Sistine Chapel. It’s sufficiently small to go to in 20 minutes, but when the climate is okay (and it typically is in Perpignan), take a e-book and camp out within the courtyard backyard on the primary ground.

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From right here, journey proper again to Perpignan’s heyday because the continental seat of the Mallorcan monarchy. Le Palais des Rois de Majorque could seem naked at first look (it was used as military barracks for many years) however the authentic wall work which have been uncovered, relationship from as early because the thirteenth century, are exceptional. If visiting in July or August, keep watch over their occasions schedule; there are common open-air concert events, and the palace will probably be internet hosting the two-day Catalan music pageant, Festa Majorque.

Winding your manner again into the previous city, it’s a brief hop to Cathédrale-Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The stained-glass home windows catch the attention, however don’t miss the organ with its cartoonish (and never terribly politically appropriate) Moorish head, whose mouth opens and closes because the organ is performed.

End up with a journey by means of Perpignan’s creative heritage at Musée Hyacinthe-Rigaud. There’s every thing from classical portraits of Louis XIV to Impressionism to picture exhibitions of Picasso’s many visits to the city, and infrequently the museum hosts yoga classes among the many displays.

The Musée Hyacinthe-Rigaud has every thing from classical portraits to pictures

(P. Marchesan Ville de Perpignan)

Received sufficient time for a day journey? Hire bicycles from Bouticycle (€30 a day, a bus journey from the city centre) and observe designated bike lanes alongside the River Têt for 10km (6.2 miles) to attain the golden sands and dunes of Sainte-Marie-la-Mer. Summer season guests, think about coinciding your journey for one of many wonderful festivals within the space. Electrobeach (14–16 July; Eric Prydz is headlining in 2023) and Les Déferlantes, (6–9 July; fronted by David Guetta, Rosalia and Sting this 12 months) are each in Le Barcarès, 20 kilometres from Perpignan.

The place to keep

Dalí Hôtel is the lavish brainchild of Laurence Delmotte and her husband, who started their journey in hospitality at luxurious resort Abbaye des Capucins in Montauban. A lockdown venture, it’s a unusual mixture of Artwork Deco stained-glass home windows and ornaments and picture exhibitions of Dalí himself. Rooms are spacious and loos come geared up with each rain showers and removable bathe heads. The situation (10 minutes on foot from Perpignan’s primary points of interest), intensive wine cellar and superior customer support seal the deal.

The resort is a unusual mixture of Artwork Deco stained-glass home windows and exhibitions of Dalí

(Dalí Resort)

Price range travellers and festival-goers not afraid of slightly noise ought to examine into the Auberge de Jeunesse conveniently situated simply throughout the ringroad from the previous city. It’s lately undergone a facelift and is supplied with a large backyard.

For a fly and flop, La Villa Duflot, two kilometres from the city centre, has a beneficiant swimming pool, spa and superbly manicured gardens.

The place to eat

Perpignan is proud to be Catalan and this reveals within the city’s unfold of eating places, largely dominated by Catalan specialities served alongside tapas or French gastro menus. Guapo serves up belly-fillers at affordable costs (the pan tomate,costing simply €5.50, is giant sufficient to be a meal by itself), and a different collection of regional wines. For Catalan delicacies served with old-world aptitude below whitewashed arches in an previous city backstreet, Le Figuier has a pleasingly compact menu and dishes up specialities from the turf and the surf, together with cuttlefish, cod and prawns. Vegetarian choices, nonetheless, are restricted.

All-day eating is a rarity in France, however Café Vienne attracts worldwide clientèle by serving up rib-stickers all day throughout their opening hours between 10am and 10.30pm. The Artwork Deco design sits someplace between an arboretum and Gatsby’s mansion and proprietor Camille Otero (who has been within the restaurant recreation since age 23) mills among the many tables to chat to regulars and newbies alike. Their potato gratin is melt-in-the-mouth.

Rue Paratilla is a brief pedestrian road filled with meals outlets and eating places

(Workplace de Tourisme)

Ready to journey? Restaurant Nikkei by Ruben Gomez (three kilometres from the city centre) is bowling over purchasers with sushi-heavy Japanese-Venezuelan fusion delicacies worthy of the shiny pages of a meals journal.

The place to drink

Positively encircled by vineyards and with a thirsty scholar inhabitants to boot, it’s little shock that Perpignan’s wine bar choice is different and cheap. New child on the block, Lady Jaja, is among the greatest, with each worldwide wines and vintages from the proprietor’s personal winery. They recurrently host stay music occasions and exhibitions, and are open till 2am from Tuesday–Saturday. TET, in an up-and-coming residential quartier, could look unassuming from the skin, however their beer choice and Catalan DJ nights assure good vibes.

Best of the bunch is Les Halles Vauban, a lined market full with a big, atmospheric beer backyard lit with fairy lights. Eat right here too and also you gained’t be upset: there’s every thing from pastel de nata to Moroccan tagines.

The place to store

Artisan crafts are the secret, with every thing from handmade jewelry utilizing domestically mined garnets to violin makers. For an expertise that may tempt even probably the most reluctant shopper, go to Sant Vicens, run by Claire Bauby Gasparian. An previous mas (Catalan smallholding), it was began by her nice uncle Firmin Bauby, who rubbed shoulders with Picasso and Dalí. With works by each, plus ceramics and tapestries by Jean Lurçat, artfully displayed in previous wine barrels, it’s a feast for the eyes. Bauby Gasparian sells her personal hand-painted, hand-fired ceramics and runs small group workshops.

Whereas the area is greatest identified for its wine, La Cidrerie produces some scrumptious cider


Languedoc-Roussillon could also be greatest identified for wine, however enterprising younger couple Gabriel Juilland and Agnès Dechanteloup have arrange the city’s first cider distillery, La Cidrerie, from the storage of their townhouse. Utilizing apples equipped by an orchard simply exterior city, they’ve produced two scrumptious, completely sugar-free blends. However observe, visits are by appointment solely.

Architectural spotlight

The inimitable Hôtel Pams; specifically, its marble staircase.


What foreign money do I want?


What language do they converse?


Ought to I tip?

Tipping isn’t required in France, however is appreciated.

How ought to I get round?

On foot, the city centre is compact and largely pedestrianised. The city’s bus community is complete and cheap at €1.30 per journey, or a move for 10 journeys prices €9.10.

What’s the most effective view?

From the tower of the Palais des Rois de Majorque. It takes within the Mediterranean, Mount Canigou within the Pyrenees (standing at over 2,700m) and the Pic de Bugarach, a mountain peak made well-known by a Mayan prophecy that claimed that when the world ended it will be the only place saved (worry not, as this was due to occur in December 2012).

Insider tip?

On Monday evenings through the summer season, a cobla (Catalan orchestra) performs exterior the Resort de Ville and locals and guests alike dance La Sardane (a standard dance in a circle) within the sq.. Free participation, all welcome.

Getting there

Making an attempt to fly much less?

Excessive-speed TGV rail hyperlinks from Paris Gare de Lyon take 5 hours.

Superb with flying?

Perpignan’s airport has direct hyperlinks with London Stansted, Birmingham, Dublin and Leeds Bradford.

Learn extra on the most effective Paris resorts

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