Quick guide to Perpignan

Discover a jewel in the south of France with a distinctive Spanish feel to it

I’ve heard that the city feels Spanish. Is that right?

Yes. Capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales département, the town is just 30 kilometres from the border with Spain and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca.

I’m intrigued! What’s there to see?

The attractive medieval centre is filled with narrow alleys and orange and peach-hued buildings. Wander around the central square, Place Péri, which is next to the flower-fringed River Bassa and is full of charming cafés. You then pass Le Castillet (main picture), a small medieval fortress serving as the main entry point to the old city. A must-see is the imposing Palace of the Kings of Majorca, a testament to Perpignan’s rich history, which has beautiful views from its position on a hill to the south of the old town.

I see it’s near to the coast too… any good beaches nearby?

Absolutely! Canet-Plage in the resort of Canet-en-Roussillon is a short drive along the D617; the wide, golden sandy beach stretches for miles along the Mediterranean coast.

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What about places to eat and drink?

There are lots. For a great cup of coffee in a comfy chair head to Le Républic’Café (tel: (Fr) 4 68 51 11 64). in Place de la République. For a spot of people watching, there’s Le Grand Café de la Poste (tel: (Fr) 4 68 51 25 65), in the city centre next to Le Castillet. When it comes to lunch the city doesn’t disappoint; try Lou Grilladou (tel: (Fr) 4 68 34 86 81, www.restaurant-lou-grilladou.fr, menus from €13), which serves classic French and Catalan food, and Les Épicuriens (tel: (Fr) 4 68 67 91 54, menus from €14), another Catalan place, with a menu that changes daily. Enjoy a cocktail or two at Le Zinc bar (tel: (Fr) 4 68 35 08 80), or paint the town red at Le Cosy (tel: (Fr) 4 68 66 02 57), a night-club-style bar with music for dancing.

That all sounds great. Where should I stay?

For a comfortable stay on the edge of the city centre try the Hotel Ibis Perpignan Centre (tel: (Fr) 4 68 35 62 62, www.accorhotels.com), with 102 well-appointed rooms and a restaurant. Doubles from €74.

Get me there quick!

Perpignan-Rivesaltes airport is 8km from the city centre and is served by Ryanair from London Stansted. Return flights from £39.99.

Peter Stewart

For more information visit www.perpignan tourisme.com