By Matt May
Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees at the south-eastern tip of the Languedoc Roussillon coastline of France, Perpignan and the surrounding area offers a perfect holiday escape at any time of year. With a climate to match the Cote D'azur, but with lower prices, Perpignan offers a taste of authentic France with a distinctively Spanish look and feel.
Perpignan is located a few kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, and is a busy working French city which caters for tourism, rather than a resort which relies on tourism. There are some excellent beaches located around 15 minutes by car to the south of Perpignan at the resorts of Argeles sur Mer and St Cyprien, so if you are looking for a beach holiday you may prefer to base yourself at one of the coastal resorts than in Perpignan city itself.
Perpignan Cathedral has been the focus of an extensive restoration project over the last 10 years, and is worth taking time to visit of you are in the city centre.
Entry to the cathedral is free, so it is a great place to visit if you are travelling on a budget.
Laze away the warm summer days with croissants and a French coffee at a cafe overlooking the River Tet which runs through the heart of the city.
Cross the border into Spain and visit the Dali Museum in Figueres (around an hours drive).
If you want an environmentally-friendly and economical way to see the city of Perpignan, hire a bicycle from one of the many BIP! (Bicycle in Perpignan) outlets located around the city centre streets.
The Perpignan cuisine is a mixture of French and Catalan, mostly cooked in local olive oil which is one of the major products of the region. Being so close to the Mediterranean there are plenty of local fish restaurants. Le 17 Restaurant offers excellent quality fish at very reasonable prices.
Perpignan's proximity to the Mediterranean means that it has a warm year-round climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The daytime temperatures in winter are usually 10-15 degrees Celcius maximum, although nights can be cold with occasional frosts.
Perpignan-Riversaltes Airport is a small airport located just to the north of the city. Ryanair fly to Perpignan from London Stansted. Alternatively, it is possible to fly with Ryanair to Girona Airport which is around 1 hour by car to the south.
There are plenty of hotels in and around Perpignan, both in the city centre and close to the Perpignan Sud (South) motorway exit.
If you are driving into Perpignan then a GPS is the best way to find hotels such as the Campanile Sud and Kyriad which are notoriously difficult to find.
If you require a larger vehicle, Blue Valley Car Hire provide 9 seat self-drive minibus rental at airports throughout Europe.