Seniors Find ‘Another South’ Of France

1024px-Gare-de-perpignanI just had to do this blog sooner or later.  When I was a graduate student at the Sorbonne, as my wife would say “150 yrs. ago”, I was told that I had a French accent like I was from Perpignan. That was a complement to this senior. I remember passing through the city with Jack and our motor scooter… we traveled all over the country. So where is Perpignan?

Perpignan is a commune and the capital of what is called the Pyrénées-Orientales (Eastern Pyrenees) department in southern France with a population of 120,000.  Perpignan is located in the center of the Roussillon plain, 13 km west of the Mediterranean coast, with a Mediterranean climate like most of southern France.

Although essentially Mediterranean, it represents “another South”, different from the world of Provence, the Languedoc country or the French Riviera. Perpignan marks its geographical and cultural identity with Spanish Catalonia.

 Seniors Enjoy A Medieval Town


The ancient settlement goes back to Roman times, however as I discovered, the medieval town of Perpignan seems to have been founded around the beginning of the 10th century. Soon after, Perpignan became the capital of the counts of Roussillon. And for you senior historians, it was part of the region known as Septimania (you will just have to Google that one!).

Perpignan is the bridge between the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and the South of France. Today Perpignan is the intellectual, cultural, political and economic capital of the southern region of France and northern Catalonia.

Lonely Planet notes that.. “ in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in many way Perpignan feels as much Spanish as French.” It’s known as the “Crème de Languedoc” and loaded with tourist attractions.


As the former capital of the Kings of Majorca and the Counts of Roussillon, Perpignan changed hands repeatedly during the medieval period until finally becoming French territory with the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659. Always too far from the coast to become a port, the town developed into a cloth-making center by the early middle ages.

 Seniors Find Wine, Corks and Rugby

Traditional commerce has been wine and olive oil, corks (the coal oak Quercus suber grows in Perpignan’s mild climate), wool and leather, and iron. The major sport in town is rugby. Seven times champion of the Top 14 in a Super League, they go by the name Catalans Dragons. Senior visitors will keep well occupied in Perpignan with an awesome castle, cathedral, palace and city hall (Hôtel de Ville).

Check out this “one stop” link that provides information on the city. Be sure to bring up the Christmas in Perpignan portion of the link. Enjoy Perpignan. -jeb


  1. Carl says:

    Great article. I will share it with others and thank you for taking the time to share your views knowledge of Perpignan. It’s most helpful

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