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Tourist Sites in and around Perpignan

Tourist sites and attractions within a radius of km* from the city center

* The distances are point to point and not driving distances!

At around: 2 km

Perpignan Citadel Perpignan citadel is one of the largest surviving citadels in France. It contains in one of its "demi-lunes" built by Vauban the Palace of the Kings of Majorca who were the first to build a stronghold on this site.
The palace - a gothic style structure - was built in the last part of the 13th century by the king Jacques II of Majorca.
In 1349 the kingdom of Majorca becomes a part of the kingdom of Aragon under King Pedro IV of Aragon.
Between 1538 and 1587 Emperor Charles V and his son Philippe II surrounded Perpignan by strong red bricks walls.
After the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 Vauban fortifies further the place by adding 6 "demi- lunes" (from which only...

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At around: 2.05 km

Perpignan City Monuments Among the Perpignan’s many monuments a must see is the Saint Jean Baptiste Cathedral.
It is a massive edifice built on the site of the oldest church of Perpignan from which only few elements are still standing.
The first church was built in the 11th century and was consecrated on the 16th of May 1025. According to the legend it was in the Saint Michel chapel of this church that Saint Dominique met Saint Francis d’Assisi in 1211.
The new church was built during the time when Perpignan was the continental capital of the Kingdom of Majorca, more precisely its first stone was laid in 1324.
Due to political and social events that followed the construction continued slowly during in the 14th and...

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At around: 5.2 km

Cabestany Art Center The Cabestany Art Center is dedicated to the anonymous sculptor - he did not sign any of his works and no documents about this person were ever found - who in the 12th century during the Romanesque art period, traveled and left, maybe together with his disciples, incomparable masterpieces in South West of France, North of Spain and North of Italy.
His art can be also admired in France at the Lagrasse, St. Papoul and St. Hilaire Abbeys....

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At around: 11.84 km

Elne Cathedral The Sainte-Julie-et-Sainte-Eulalie Cathedral of Elne is one of the finest examples of religious Romanesque art in the southwest of France. The elegance of its cloister sculptures is comparable to the UNESCO Listed Moissac Abbey ones.
The cathedral that sits on the location of an older church built during the times when the whole southwest of France region was a Visigoth kingdom was built in successive stages between 11th - was consecrated in 1069 - and the 14th century with major re-furbishing operations taking place during the 18th and the 19th century. The construction of the cloister lasted 3 centuries from the 12th century to the 14th century.
The cloister known for its Romanesque and Gothic sculptures is also the resting place of...

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At around: 16.99 km

Fort Salses Salses Fortress situated in the little village from which it took its name is a splendid example of the « transition » military architecture - that is the transition between the medieval fortress and the bastioned fortifications of the later centuries. It was build on the order of the Catholic Kings Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile starting in 1497 for the protection against French invasions. In 1503 the fortress resisted its first siege despite being unfinished. Its building continued in the first part of the 16th century.
The fortress has a rectangular plan (115 meters long and 90 meters wide) with round towers placed at each corner. It was built deep in the ground in order to evade...

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Plus Beaux Villages de France At around: 17.07 km

Castelnou The village of Castelnou situated some 20km southwest of Perpignan, in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of the south west France, is an authentic Catalan village, listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France.
Built on a rocky outcrop Castelnou is surrounded by the luxuriant nature of two plateaus: Thuir and Roc de Majorque.
The village was founded in the 10th century by the viscounts of Vallespir who built between 988 and 990 AD on the top of the hill their castle and established here their capital. The village formed around the castle flourishes afterwards for more than 300 years until the death of the last viscount of Vallespir, Jasper V, in 1321.
During the following centuries the Castelnou area became a...

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At around: 21.46 km

Les Orgues Situated in the Valley of Têt River, at the foothills of the Pyrenees, the "Orgues" ("Pipe Organs") is geological site unique in its way in France. Since 5 million years the nature has been carving in the sand and the clay, brought by the river from the nearby mountains, astonishing natural sculptures, creating a surreal landscape that brings to mind the description "chimneys of the fairies".
The site of around 1 ha can be visited in one hour after a relatively easy 1 km hike. ...

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Cathar Castle At around: 23.75 km

Aguilar Castle One of the "five sons" of Carcassonne the castle was build at the beginning of 13th century.
During the cruisade was owned by the family de Termes - cathar defenders and vassals of the counts of Carcassonne.
It fell to the crusaders army lead by Simon de Montfort in 1210 and after that it became one of the royal fortresses guarding the frontier with Aragon....

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 23.96 km

Collioure Castle And Village The Royal Fort of Collioure was built initially by the earls of Roussillon starting in the 11th century.
Between 1276 and 1344 the castle was the residence of the Kings of Majorca. During this period the castle was extended and enhanced. In 1345 the castle was taken over by the king of Aragon Pedro IV. Starting from that time and until 1642 when the Spanish occupation ended the castle was little by little changed from a royal residence into a fortress.
In 1642 the Collioure fortress along with Salses and Perpignan surrendered to the French armies (their surrender makes possible the signing in 1659 of the Treaty of Pyrenees that ended the Franco-Spanish wars when the Roussillon province became...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 24.4 km

Fort Bellegarde Bellegarde Fortress was built by Vauban starting from 1668. It sits on top of a hill overlooking the pass of Perthus an ancient communication route between France and Spain.
The strategic location was used since 1285 when the King of Majorca built here a fortified tower to protect himself from his powerful neighbor the King of Aragon, who managed however to conquer the region in the 14th century.
Like the rest of the Roussillon the Perthus area became French at the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 and its strategic importance increased so much that in 1668 Vauban decided to built a stronghold in the place of the old tower.
The building process lasted 3 decades. To build it Vauban lowered the hill...

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At around: 28.21 km

Paulilles Cove The Paulilles Cove is natural "site classé". It contains three of the most beautiful Mediterranean Sea coves at the foothills of the Eastern Pyrenean Mountains, on the Vermilion Coast - Côte Vermeille.
The site has an interesting history in the sense that during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870- 1871 the then Minister of Interior, Leon Gambetta, was searching for a location "as far away as possible from the border with Germany" for a dynamite factory.
The location was found at Paulilles Cove that had also the advantage of being near the water - needed in case of fire due to explosions - and near the railway - for dynamite transportation.
A dynamite factory was therefore built here rapidly with the help of...

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Cathar Castle At around: 29.5 km

Queribus Castle - A Cathar Fortress Queribus Castle is considered the last stonghold of the cathare resistence.
Its fall in 1255 marks the end of the Crusade against the cathars.
The castle is situated on a 729 meter high rock above the picturesque village of Cucugnan.
From this isolated pointy promontory the castle surveys the Languedoc plains, the Alberes massif and further the Mediterranean sea.It is considered to be one of the "Five Sons of Carcassone" along with Termes, Puilaurens, Peyrepertuse and Aguilar the famous line of five strategically placed castles that was protecting the french border with Spain - until 1659 when the border was moved after the "Treaty of the Pyrenees" more south.
The castle still preserves many vestiges of the times when it...

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At around: 29.97 km

Banyuls-Cerbère Marine Natural Reserve Founded in 1974 and located on the littoral of the Vermilion Coast at the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Natural Reserve of Banyuls-Cerbère extends between the Big Island near the port of Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cap Peyrefite close to Cerberus. It stretches on over 6.5 km of shoreline and extends for about 2 km in the Mediterranean Sea, covering a total area of 650 ha.
It is considered one of the best preserved marine ecosystem in the world.
On the south of the commune of Banyuls-sur-Mer is located the Cape of Abeille - cap l'Abeille. Its name is a reminder of the Celtic roots of French being the (little!) distorted name of the god Abellio the Celtic solar deity....

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Mysterious At around: 32.34 km

Arles-sur-Tech Holy Tomb Arles-sur-Tech is a small town at the feet of Canigou Mountain in the Pyrenees-Orientales department of southwest France.
The town's Benedictine Sainte-Marie Abbey was founded by Charlemagne in the late 8th century after he chased away the Moors to the other side of the Pyrenean Mountains - in nowadays Spain. It is one of the oldest abbeys of Catalonia and one of the most important in the medieval times.
In the 11th century the abbey was reconstructed and stone vaults were added in the 12th century.
The abbey is a beautiful example of the artistic style changes over the centuries including pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque elements.
But what brought an international fame to the Sainte-Marie...

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Cathar Castle At around: 32.72 km

Peyrepertuse Castle - A Cathar Fortress After Carcassonne the most important fortress Cathar and one of the five "sons" of Carcassonne fortress - along with Queribus, Puilaurens, Termes and Aguilar.
It is situated on a 800m high rocky promontory above the village of Duilhac - population 90 ! - and only around 5 Km from another cathar fortress - Queribuss. On a clear day from its highest point you can see the Mediterranean see. It is easily accessible.
During the crusade the castle is owned by the heretic sympathizer Guillaume de Peyrepertuse. The castle falls into the crusaders hands on the 16th of November 1240 and becomes a border protection stronghold....

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Plus Beaux Villages de France At around: 35.15 km

Eus The little town of Eus – 411 inhabitants called “Lliciens” (!) - is situated at the eastern boundary of the “National park of the Pyrenees Orientales” some 42km (26mi) west of Perpignan.
It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France (“Plus Beaux Village de France”).
The village, built on a steep hill, overlooks the Conflent valley and was at its outset a stronghold of the counts of Cerdagne, the local lords, who built in the 13th century their castle here.
Nowadays cone-shaped village is capped by the Saint Vincent church – built between 1726 and 1743 on the very place of the ancient castle.
The second church of the village – also dedicated to Saint Vincent but bearing the more...

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Cathar Castle At around: 41.51 km

Villerouge-Termenés Castle Situated in the heart of the village of Villerouge Termenès the castle that bears the same name is a wonderful example of the medieval military architecture of the Corbiére region. The castle was probably built in the middle of the 13th century on the site of an older one. From its foundation until the French Revolution the castle belonged to the powerful Archbishop of Narbonne.
The castle now presents an very interesting audio visual exhibition that traces the life of the village in the 14th century.
The castle is intimately related with the history of the Catharism. It is in its central court that one of the last "Perfecti", Guilhelm Bélibaste, was burnt at stake on the 24th of August 1321.

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 43.62 km

Villefranche-de-Conflent Villefranche-de-Conflent town is a member of the « Les Plus Beaux Villages de France » organization.
The place was inhabited since prehistoric times as attested by the drawings found in the nearby caves of En Gorner, des Canalettes and Cova Bastera - which Vauban transforms into a casemate.
The town, fortified, was founded in 1095 by Guillaume-Raymond earl of Cerdagne as a barrier against the moors invasions. It is also the time when Saint Jacques church is built.
During the next 6 centuries Villefranche-de-Conflent belongs successively to the earls of Barcellone, kings of Aragon and finally to the kings of Spain being all along more fortified.
In 1654 the town surrenders to the French armies and after the Treaty of the Pyrenees...

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At around: 43.64 km

Vernet les Bains and Saint Martin du Canigou Abbey Vernet les Bains is located in the Pyrénées Orientales department in the south west of France. Vernet les Bains and its near town of Casteil are the starting points of jouneys to two major north Catalan sites: the Saint Martin du Canigou Abbey and the peak of Canigou - the sacred mountain - and the departure of the "Course du Canigou" - a famous running race that takes place each summer.
Vernet les Bains is - as its name says - a hot springs resort recognized for its thermal water medical treatment and spa facilities.
The town's booming time was however the so called "Belle Epoque" - the 4 decades time stretch before the break out of the first world war...

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Cathar Castle At around: 43.93 km

Termes Castle The Termes Castle was the place of the longest siege during the Crusade against the Cathars. The siege that was lead by Simon de Montfort lasted from August until 23rd of November 1210 and was documented in detail by Pierre des Vaux de Cernay, who wrote "Historia Albigensis" in 1212.
After the Crusade the castle becomes a French frontier fortification, one of the so called "5 sons of Carcassonne", guarding the Spanish border.
The Castle is situated on top of a hill overlooking the Termes village, a beautiful tiny - population 54 - community. The walk from the village to the castle takes around 15 minutes and is easier then it looks!...

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 45.38 km

Fort Lagarde After the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 Louis XIV decides to reinforce his kingdom new border with the Spain.
In this context in 1674 Louis XIV decides to build in Prats-de-Mollo, a little border village on the left bank of the river Tech, a new fortress.
The construction work is undertaken by Vauban who builds Fort Lagarde (or Fort De La Garde) between 1677 and 1682 - on the place of the watch tower of the old medieval castle.
It is typical example of a bastioned fortification, adapted to the relief with terraced layers of fire walls. It has on the southern side, two successive lines of defense in front of a dungeon. The northern and eastern fronts are bordered by...

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At around: 47.96 km

La Clape The little massif of La Clape, just outside of Narbonne, is a renowned wine growing area.
Its wines fall under the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôle) of Coteaux de Languedoc.
La Clape name means "pile of stones" in the local Occitan language.
The region, with around 3000 hours of sunshine per year, is one of the sunniest of France.
The quality and uniqueness of La Clape wines are due to the microclimate of the area and the good combination of sun, soil and wind - there are 13 winds with names like Lebech, Gregou, Medjournaous, etc. that sweep the little calcareous massif!
The wine growing on La Clape began during the roman occupation of the South of France in the first century before Christ....

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Mysterious At around: 48.49 km

Bugarach - The Sacred Mountain Bugarach is a quiet charming little village - population 180 - at the feet of the peak with the same name, in heart of the Corbières region.
The Bugarach Mountain – that with its 1231 meters height dominates the region – is an “upside down” mountain meaning a mountain where upper layers of rock - dating from the Jurassic age 135 million years ago - are older than the lower ones - dating from the Cretacic age 75 million years ago. One explanation is that millions of years ago, at the time of the Pyreneean chain creation, a powerful explosion propelled the mountain's tip that landed afterwards upside down. Because of this geological anomaly the magnetic poles of the site...

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Cathar Castle At around: 49.14 km

Puilaurens Castle - A Cathar Fortress Puilaurens Castle is perched on a 700 meter high rock above the villages of Lapradelle and Puilaurens at the border between Aude and Pyrenees-Orientales departments.
It is France's most southern fortified castle.
After the fall of Monsegur many cathars sought refuge in other castles among them Puilaurens. The castle was one of the last to fall into cathare cruisaders hands. After the cuisade when Languedoc became a part of the French kingdom the castle became a fortification that ensured the protection of the border with the neighboring Spain.
After the treaty of 1679 when Rousillon - the region in which it is situated - was anexed to the French Crown, the castle lost its strategic importance....

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UNESCO Heritage List At around: 49.21 km

Fort Liberia Fort Libéria was built between 1681 and 1683 for the protection of Villefranche-de-Conflent, town that the fort overlooks from a steep hill. It was a part of the plan of King Louis XIV to reinforce his border with Spain after the Treaty of the Pyrenees.
The little fort was meant to accommodate up to 100 soldiers and artillery of 10 cannons.
Being on a steep hill the fort takes advantage of the relief and is built on 3 levels separated by thick wall, that were meant to provide a tight compartmentalization in case of enemy occupying on of the levels.
The first level contains the remains of the old officers’ barrack and a watchtower.
The second level accessible via two portals from the...

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At around: 49.39 km

Fontfroide Abbey Fontfroide Abbey is situated in the beautiful masif with the same name - small rolling hills not higher then 300 meters covered by meditereanan vegetation - close to the city of Narbonne.
The abbey initially founded in 1093 joined the Cistercian religious order in 1145 and kept on being expanded until the 14the century.
During the cruisade The Albigensian Crusade of the 13th century it was one of the headquarters of the Papal forces, under the leadership of the abbot Arnaud Amalric.
The abbey it is a wonderfully preserved monasic residence and is listed as Historic Monument by the French Ministry of Culture.
Finish your visit with a very nice easy hike to the Cross of Fontfroide...

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