Perpignan (French: [pɛʁpiɲɑ̃]; Catalan: Perpinyà [pəɾpiˈɲa]) is the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in Northern Catalonia, Southern France. 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.
|Prefecture and commune|
Perpignan seen from the Palace of the Kings of Majorca
|Canton||Perpignan-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6|
|Intercommunality||Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole|
|• Mayor (2009–2014)||Jean-Marc Pujol (UMP) (Radical-UMP)|
|Area1||68.07 km2 (26.28 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|INSEE/Postal code||66136 /66000|
8–95 m (26–312 ft) |
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)
www.mairie-perpignan.fr (in French)www.ajuntament-perpinya.cat (in Catalan)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
In 2013 Perpignan had 118,238 inhabitants (Perpignanais(e) in French, Perpinyanés(a) in Catalan) in the commune proper. The metropolitan area had a total population of 305,837 in 2010.
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.
Perpignan is crossed by the largest river in Roussillon, the Têt, and by one of its tributaries, the Basse. Floods often occur, as in 1892 when the rising of the Têt in Perpignan destroyed 39 houses, leaving more than 60 families homeless.
|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 days||5.4||4.3||4.2||6.0||5.5||3.8||2.3||3.5||4.4||4.8||4.5||5.3||54.0|
|Average snowy days||0.9||0.6||0.4||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.2||0.4||2.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||68||64||64||66||62||59||63||68||73||71||71||66.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||141.2||160.8||209.6||218.0||235.8||268.9||298.2||267.4||222.2||167.6||149.2||126.1||2,464.9|
|Source #1: Météo France|
|Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)|
The motorway A9 connects Perpignan with Barcelona and Montpellier.
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 "Center of the Universe" after experiencing a vision of cosmogonic ecstasy there in 1963.
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.
County of Roussillon 927–1172
Kingdom of Aragon 1172–1276
Kingdom of Majorca ( Crown of Aragon) 1276–1344
Kingdom of Aragon 1344–1463
Kingdom of France 1463–1493
Kingdom of Aragon ( Spanish Empire) 1493–1659
Kingdom of France 1659–1792
French Republic 1792–1804
French Empire 1804–1815
Kingdom of France 1815–1848
French Republic 1848–1852
French Empire 1852–1870
French Republic 1870–1940
French State 1940–1944
French Republic 1944–present
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.
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 politicsEdit
|Mayor||Term start||Term end|
|Edmond Benoit||July 1910||May 1911|
|Léon Nérel||May 1911||May 1912|
|Joseph Denis||May 1912||May 1929|
|Victor Dalbiez||May 1929||May 1935|
|Jean Payra||May 1935||29 May 1937 (death)|
|Laurent Baudru||June 1937||December 1940|
|Antoine Castillon||December 1940||March 1941|
|Ferdinand Coudray||March 1941||August 1944|
|Félix Mercader||August 1944||11 March 1949 (death)|
|Félix Depardon||April 1949||March 1959|
|Paul Alduy||March 1959||May 1993|
|Jean-Paul Alduy||June 1993||27 April 2009 (election of 2008 cancelled)|
|Bernard Bacou (retired magistrate acting as mayor)||27 April 2009||5 July 2009|
|Jean-Paul Alduy||5 July 2009||15 October 2009 (resignation)|
|Jean-Marc Pujol||22 October 2009|
- Twin towns – sister cities
Perpignan is twinned with:
- Partner towns
Population and societyEdit
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.
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 thousand 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 interestEdit
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.
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.
- Anna Maria Antigó (1602-1676), abbess
- Menachem Meiri (1249–c. 1310), Catalan rabbi, Talmudist, and Maimonidean.
- Louise Labé (1524–1566), Lyons poet of the Renaissance who, at the siege of Perpignan, or in a tournament there, is said to have dressed in male clothing and fought on horseback in the ranks of the Dauphin, afterwards Henry II.
- Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743), painted the definitive portraits of Louis XIV.
- François de Fossa (1775–1849), classical guitarist and composer.
- François Arago (1786–1853), physicist, astronomer, and liberal politician who secured the abolition of slavery in the French colonies in 1853, was born in the nearby village of Estagel and is memorialized in the eponymous Place Arago that bears his statue in the centre of the town.
- Amédée Artus (1815–1892), composer and conductor.
- Alexandre Artus (1821–1911), brother of Amédée, also a composer and conductor.
- Eugène Collache (1847–1883), French Navy officer who fought in Japan for the shōgun during the Boshin War
- Aristide Maillol (1861–1944), French Catalan sculptor and painter. Bronzes in the Garden of Tuileries, Paris and at the Metropolitan Museum, NYC.
- André Marty (1886–1956), communist leader.
- Mary Elmes (1908-2002), Irish aid worker that was honoured as Righteous Among the Nations for saving the lives of more than 200 Jewish children during the Second World War.
- Robert Brasillach (1909–1945), fascist author and journalist, executed for advocating collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II.
- Philippe Georget (born 1962), novelist
- Isabelle Pasco (born 1966), actress
- Frédérick Bousquet (born 1981), French freestyle and butterfly swimmer who competed at three consecutive Summer Olympics (2000, 2004, and 2008).
- Sandrine Erdely-Sayo (born 1968) pianist – youngest recipient of the French Minister of Culture Prize at 13 years old. She lives in Philadelphia where she became National Interest for the United States.
Perpignan has a close connection with the sculptor Aristide Maillol, who attended school there.
Following a visit in 1963, the Spanish 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. 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. 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").
- Fabricio Cardenas. "Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales: Inondations en novembre 1892". Vieuxpapierspo.blogspot.fr. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
- "Données climatiques de la station de Perpignan" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- "Climat Languedoc-Roussillon" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- "Normes et records 1961-1990: Perpignan - Rivesaltes (66) - altitude 42m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- Coppens, Philip. "Salvador Dalí: painting the fourth dimension". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "Hanover – Twin Towns". Hanover.de (in German). Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
- "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
- "Sarasota Sister Cities Association, Sarasota Florida". Sarasotasistercities.org. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
- "Visa Pour l'Image". www.anglophone-direct.com. 22 August 2017.
- "VilaWeb - Diari escola: Perpinyа, Capital de la Cultura Catalana 2008". Vilaweb.cat. 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
- "Cathédrale St Jean-Baptiste" [Cathedral of St. John the Baptist]. Histoire du Roussillon. Retrieved 15 November 2011. (in French)
- Fabricio Cardenas. "Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales: La prison du Castillet, 1892". Vieuxpapierspo.blogspot.fr. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
- Fiche Pédagogique - Hôtel Pams de Perpignan (PDF) (in French), Association Pédagogique de la Plaine, du Vallespir et de la Côte Vermeille, retrieved 2015-12-31
- "Indoor markets bring new life to Perpignan | P-O Life". anglophone-direct. 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
- "Salvador Dali: painting the fourth dimension". Philipcoppens.com. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
- Elliott King in Dawn Adès (ed.), Dalí, Bompiani Arte, Milan, 2004, p. 448
- "Picture Gallery - Directory: /pix/fr/electric/emu/TGV/Duplex/misc". Railfaneurope.net. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Perpignan.|