Day Trips in the South of France: Visit Perpignan

Day Trips in the South of France: Visit Perpignan

Share it

You might not have been familiar with Perpignan until you found a great deal on a campsite in the south of France. And now you’re wondering, where and what is Perpignan all about. So, should you visit Perpignan on your two-week break? Absolutely.

Perhaps your calendar is full of pool days squeezed in between trips to the beach, but take a day to visit Perpignan before you hop on that plane back home.

Scroll on to find out 5 things to see in Perpignan.

Perpignan: A Hidden Gem in the South of France

Before we get started on things to do in Perpignan, I just want to say that you make have unlocked a secret you’ll want keep to yourself…

Flying into Perpignan airport is the way every holiday should start. It’s the quietest airport I’ve ever flown into. So quiet, you whizz through baggage claim and can be out within 10 minutes of landing. Now isn’t that the perfect start to a holiday in the south of France?!

View of Perpignan Cathedral from Campo Santo

An Afternoon in Perpignan: 5 Things to Do in Perpignan

If the weather’s hot you’ll want to take it steady, so here’s just a handful of things you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting Perpignan. Starting off with a spot to eat at Les Halles Vauban.

Les Halles Vauban.

Found in the centre of Perpignan beside a small river called La Bassa. This is the perfect place to stop for lunch. Especially if there’s a group of you.

Les Halles Vauban is a covered market built in the 17th. It’s a popular lunch spot with locals. You’ll find pizza, cheese, pastries, charcuterie, burgers, sandwiches and seafood. The hard part is choosing what to eat. The easy part is finding something that everyone with like.

One word of caution, it is closed between 13:30 and 16:00.

Address: 1 Rue des Halles, Perpignan

Opening hours:

Mon – Sat 7am – 1:30pm and 4pm – 7pm

Sunday 7am – 1:30pm

After lunch take a short wander along the river to the next sight, Le Castillet.

Like what you see? Get the latest posts and more straight to your inbox. Sign up today!

Le Castillet.

A famous landmark in Perpignan. It’s a medieval fortress built in 1368. Over the centuries it has been a prison, a customs house, and a museum.

It’s now used as the Casa Pairal Museum, a place to discover the local history. It costs €2 to enter which gives you access to the top of Le Castillet, with a good view of the city. Just make sure you’re fit to climb the stairs!

From Le Castillet take your time exploring the streets to find the Cathedral and Campo Santo.

A view of the iconic Le Castillet in Perpignan with its turrets and red brick facade.

Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste & Campo Santo

Full disclosure here, it’s not the most impressive cathedral, but the square it’s set on is beautifully French. Perfect for a coffee and spot of people watching. 

Perpignan’s Gothic cathedral was built in the 13th century. It has ornate stained glass windows and a decorative treasury.

It’s worth popping your head in to have a quick look, but I was a bigger fan of the impressive Campo Santo next to the cathedral. It’s a vast space which was used as a crematorium. It now hosts events but is open to the public when not in use.

Basilique-Cathédrale de Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Perpignan

Address: 1 Rue de l’Horloge, Perpignan

Opening hours:

Monday – Sunday   8am – 5pm

Palais des Rois de Majorque

This was the Kings of Majorca residence in the 13th and 14th centuries. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is considered one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in southern France.

Entrance is relatively cheap, roughly €8. Look at taking part in a guided tour as this will bring the palace to life in a way you otherwise wouldn’t experience.

Front view of the Palace of the Kings of Majorca

Palais des Rois de Majorque

Address: Rue des Archers, Perpignan

Opening hours:

Monday – Sunday   9:30am – 6:30pm

Musée Hyacinthe-Rigaud

1400 square metres dedicated to art right in the heart of Perpignan. Named after the local influential artist Hyacinthe Rigaud. The gallery brings together Modern, Contemporary, Baroque and Gothic art. 

The museum hosts two temporary exhibitions per year. During exhibitions entrance prices are higher by 2€, otherwise tickets are €10 per adult.

Musée Hyacinthe-Rigaud

Address: 21 Rue Mailly, Perpignan

Opening hours:

1st June – 30th September 

Monday – Sunday   10:30am – 7:00pm

1st October – 31st May

Monday – Sunday   11am – 17:30pm

Visit Perpignan - is it worth it?

If you’re staying at a campsite near Perpignan for a couple of weeks, it’s worth visiting Perpignan for an afternoon. It has all the charm of a large French town – particularly in the streets around the cathedral. 

That being said, if you’re holidaying with young children, you might want to give Perpignan a miss. Especially if the weather is hot. 

Perpignan is a city of history and culture. You won’t regret spending an afternoon in France’s sunniest town.

A view of a small bridge over the River Bassa in the centre of Perpignan.

Our Top Travel Guides

0 Comments on “Day Trips in the South of France: Visit Perpignan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *