33 Best Places And Things To Do in Perpignan, France

Perpignan, located in the southern region of France known as Occitanie, is a vibrant and culturally rich city with a fascinating mix of French and Catalan influences. From its stunning architecture to its mouthwatering cuisine, Perpignan offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Perpignan:

1. Palace of the Kings of Majorca

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This medieval palace is a must-visit attraction in Perpignan. Built in the 13th century, it offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Explore its beautiful gardens, admire the Gothic architecture, and step back in time as you wander through its halls and chambers.

2. Perpignan Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste)

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Known for its impressive red-brick exterior, the cathedral is a stunning example of Catalan Gothic architecture. Step inside to admire the intricate stained glass windows and the richly decorated altar. Don’t miss the charming cloister, which is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

3. Le Castillet

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This iconic red-brick tower, once part of the city’s defensive walls, now houses the Casa Pairal Museum. Learn about the history and heritage of the region through a collection of art, artifacts, and exhibitions. Climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of Perpignan.

4. Campo Santo

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This unique cloister cemetery dates back to the Middle Ages and is considered one of the most beautiful in France. Admire the ornate tombs, sculptures, and Gothic arches as you stroll through the peaceful courtyard.

5. La Loge de Mer

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Located in the heart of the historic center, La Loge de Mer is a picturesque square surrounded by colorful buildings and bustling cafes. It’s a perfect spot to relax, have a drink, and soak in the lively atmosphere of Perpignan.

6. Le Palais des Congrès

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If you’re interested in modern architecture, don’t miss the Palais des Congrès. Designed by the renowned architect Jean Nouvel, this stunning building is home to a convention center, a theater, and an art gallery. Even if you don’t attend an event, the exterior alone is worth a visit.

7. Taste the Local Cuisine

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Perpignan is known for its exceptional gastronomy. Indulge in the flavors of the region with dishes like bouillabaisse (a fish stew), cargolade (grilled snails), and crème catalane (a creamy custard dessert). Pair your meal with a glass of the local Banyuls wine or a refreshing glass of pastis.

8. Visit the Vineyards

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Perpignan is surrounded by picturesque vineyards and wineries. Take a wine tour and discover the diverse range of wines produced in the region, including red, white, and fortified wines. Many wineries offer tastings and guided tours where you can learn about the winemaking process.

9. Explore the Beaches

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Perpignan is just a short distance from the Mediterranean coast. Take a trip to the nearby beaches such as Canet-en-Roussillon or Collioure, where you can relax on the sandy shores, swim in the turquoise waters, or try water sports like windsurfing or paddleboarding.

10. Experience the Festivals

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Perpignan hosts several lively festivals throughout the year, celebrating its Catalan heritage. The most famous is the Festival de la Sant Joan, held in June, featuring traditional music, dancing, and bonfires. The Visa pour l’Image festival, focusing on photojournalism, also attracts visitors from around the world.

11. Museum of Modern Art (Musée d’Art Moderne)

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Located in a former aircraft hangar, this museum houses an impressive collection of contemporary art, including works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Chagall, and Miró. Explore the various exhibitions and installations that showcase the diversity of modern art.

12. Jardin de la Miranda

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in this charming public garden. With its beautiful floral displays, tranquil ponds, and shaded pathways, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

13. Maison Quinta

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Step into the world of Salvador Dalí at this museum dedicated to the surrealist artist. Located in the nearby town of Céret, about 30 minutes from Perpignan, the museum showcases a vast collection of Dalí’s works, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.

14. Le Petit Train Jaune

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Embark on a scenic train journey through the picturesque landscapes of the Pyrenees. The Yellow Train (Le Petit Train Jaune) takes you on a breathtaking ride, crossing viaducts and winding through valleys, offering panoramic views of the mountains and countryside.

15. Day Trip to Collioure

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Just a short drive from Perpignan, the charming coastal town of Collioure is a must-visit destination. Known for its colorful buildings, charming streets, and scenic waterfront, it has inspired many artists throughout history. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, explore the art galleries, and enjoy a delicious seafood meal at one of the waterfront restaurants.

16. Outdoor Activities

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The region surrounding Perpignan is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking and mountain biking in the Pyrenees to water sports such as sailing and windsurfing on the coast, there are plenty of options for adventure and exploration.

17. Wine Tasting in Roussillon

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Take a short trip to the Roussillon wine region, located near Perpignan, and indulge in wine tasting experiences at local vineyards. Sample the unique wines of the region, including the renowned sweet wine Banyuls, and learn about the winemaking traditions and techniques.

18. Visit the Hyacinthe Rigaud Museum

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This museum is dedicated to the works of Hyacinthe Rigaud, a renowned portrait painter from Perpignan. Admire his masterful portraits, including the famous portrait of Louis XIV, and learn about the artistic heritage of the city.

19. Attend a Traditional Catalan Sardana Dance

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Experience the vibrant Catalan culture by attending a traditional Sardana dance performance. These circular group dances are accompanied by live music and are a symbol of Catalan identity. Check local event listings for performances in Perpignan or nearby towns.

20. Discover the Museums of Perpignan

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In addition to the aforementioned museums, Perpignan is home to several other fascinating museums. Visit the Natural History Museum (Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle) to learn about the region’s flora, fauna, and geological history. The Casa Xanxo Museum offers insights into the city’s history and architecture, while the Rigaud Art Center showcases contemporary art exhibitions.

21. Relax at the Canet-en-Roussillon Marina

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Located just a short distance from Perpignan, Canet-en-Roussillon boasts a beautiful marina with a vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the promenade, indulge in some shopping, or unwind at one of the waterfront cafes while watching the boats go by.

22. Visit the Dali Museum in Figueres (Spain)

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Perpignan is conveniently located near the border with Spain, making it an ideal base for day trips. A highly recommended excursion is a visit to the Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, dedicated to the iconic surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Explore his extraordinary works and immerse yourself in his surreal world.

23. Enjoy Outdoor Dining at Place Arago

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Situated in the heart of the city, Place Arago is a lively square filled with cafes and restaurants. Choose a cozy spot, indulge in delicious Catalan cuisine, and savor the vibrant ambiance of the city center.

24. Take a Boat Trip on the River Têt

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Experience Perpignan from a different perspective by taking a boat trip along the River Têt. Enjoy the scenic views of the city’s landmarks, such as the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, while cruising along the tranquil waters.

25. Shop at the Marché de la Place de la République

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On Saturdays, head to the Place de la République to explore the vibrant open-air market. Browse through stalls selling fresh produce, local delicacies, clothing, crafts, and more. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and pick up some souvenirs.

26. Explore the Museum of Catalan Folk Arts (Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires Catalans)

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This museum showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Catalan region. Learn about traditional crafts, costumes, and customs through a collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits.

27. Attend a Concert or Performance at the Théâtre de l’Archipel

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Immerse yourself in the vibrant performing arts scene of Perpignan by catching a show at the Théâtre de l’Archipel. This contemporary theater hosts a diverse range of performances, including theater, dance, music, and more.

28. Take a Day Trip to the Côte Vermeille

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Just a short drive from Perpignan lies the stunning Côte Vermeille, a stretch of coastline renowned for its rugged cliffs, picturesque villages, and crystal-clear waters. Visit charming coastal towns like Banyuls-sur-Mer and Port-Vendres, explore hidden coves, and indulge in fresh seafood at seaside restaurants.

29. Explore the Fortified Town of Villefranche-de-Conflent

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Venture slightly further afield to Villefranche-de-Conflent, a fortified town nestled in the Pyrenees. Explore its medieval walls, charming streets, and the impressive Fort Liberia, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

30. Attend the Visa pour l’Image International Photojournalism Festival

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If you’re visiting Perpignan in September, don’t miss the renowned Visa pour l’Image festival. This annual event showcases the best in international photojournalism and offers exhibitions, conferences, and screenings of impactful photo documentaries.

31. Take a Wine Tour of the Roussillon Wine Region

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Embark on a wine tour through the scenic vineyards of the Roussillon region. Visit local wineries, learn about the winemaking process, and sample the diverse range of wines produced in this area, including the unique fortified wines of Maury and Rivesaltes.

32. Enjoy a Sunset Walk along the Promenade des Platanes

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Take a leisurely stroll along the Promenade des Platanes, a tree-lined avenue that stretches alongside the river. Enjoy the picturesque views, especially during sunset when the golden light casts a magical glow over the city.

33. Attend the Procession of the Sanch

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If you’re visiting Perpignan during Easter, witness the solemn and poignant Procession of the Sanch. This religious procession involves participants dressed in traditional attire, carrying religious statues through the streets of the city.