Welcome to Perpignan

Travail réalisé par nos deux étudiantes Italiennes Maria et Chiara dans le cadre de leur stage Leonardo da Vinci à ALFMED. En partenatriat avec l’Université de Firenze (Italie).
Perpignan le 8 Janvier 2007

Placed between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea, in the centre of the triangle Barcelona/Toulouse/Montpellier, for a long time the city was torn between Spain and France, today it is the capital of the county of Roussillon and of French Catalonia.

It’s placed in the south of metropolitan France with a superficies of 68, 07 Km² and a population of 116 700 inhabitants.

Flowered city, it offers to the walkers the shade of its plane palm trees, the freshness of its fountains, small narrow lanes, Catalan arcades, improvised Sardanes (traditional dance) in the middle of the summer… which will give you that French sensation of being there.

Magnificent monuments, such as the Palais des Rois de Majorque, the Castillet, the Loge de Mer or the Campo Santo, remind us that Perpignan has been coveted by Spain and France.

Catalan at heart, Perpignan expresses its differences in every way.Castillet

Immortalised by Dali to make its train station the centre of the world, Perpignan will seduce you by its extreme diversity.

Perpignan is at the meeting point of all routes which lead to the seaside, the mountains, and all the other cultural environments such as churches, abbeys, Citadels, treasures of art, representations of 10 centuries of history which make this city a proof of the richness and the creativity of Mediterranean Civilization.


  • Placed at 5 km in the North-West of the town, there is the Perpignan-Rivesaltes Airport with direct flights to Paris, London and Birmingham.
  • The A9 Motorway called “the Catalan” has 2 exits: Perpignan Nord for the airport and Perpignan Sud that is the best way for central Perpignan.
  • The TGV circulates daily between Perpignan and Paris, and there are also direct trains linking Perpignan to Montpellier, Lille, Strasbourg, Barcelona Sants.In addition, to the Perpignan railway station, it is possible to reach Villefranche de Conflent, starting point of the famous “yellow train” which runs the marvellous landscapes of Cerdagne near the Spanish frontier and Andorra.
  • Bus timetable and destinations


  • The city is full of night bars where young people can enjoy themselves, especially in the centre of the town.The restaurants satisfy all the tastes, indeed here you can taste local food but also Catalan, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and Indian ones.Furthermore you can find many bars/breweries, Latin bars, wine bars (where all the wines of the region can be tasted), coffee and teas, Irish pubs… and after a glass of wine or beer, the discos offer all types of music especially on Thursday evening in the summer when the streets are full with music and spectacles
  • Excursions on the surrounding mountains are possible such as for example on the Canigou, or the Peak Carlit, the highest peak of the Pyrénées.But some precautions should be taken: wearing climbing boots, always taking something to drink, to eat, to protect from the cold and from rain, and look at weather forecasts before leaving!!
  • The area faces the littoral where during the summer months, thousands of tourists can sunbathe.This divides into:
    • The sandy beach or Cõte Radieuse (40 km), going from Port-Barcares to Argèles-sur-Mer, is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and safe for toddlers. And there’s plenty for families to do, playgrounds, mini-golf course, trampolines;
    • From Argèles-sur-Mer to Cerbère, the rock coast (20 km) succeeds sand. Named in 1913 Vermilion coast, it shelters in its handles the towns of Collioure (famous for the “Fauve” painters Derain and Matisse), Port-Vendres (fishing port linked to the Balearic Islands), Banyuls (seaoprt and home of the great French sculptor Aristide Maillol and also renewed for its sweet aperitif wines) and finally Cerbère (at the Spanish border).
  • As the city is near both of the sea and the mountains, you can easily move to visit the numerous surrounding cities:
    • Canet, small but pretty village by the seaside at 20 minutes far from Perpignan;
    • Figuères, the small city 100 Km north of Barcelone known all over the world to be Salvador Dali’s home town. The Dali museum is the 2nd more visited museum of Spain besides the Prado museum in Madrid;
    • Rivesaltes famous all over the world for its sweet wine and its Muscat but less famous as home town of the General Joffre, winner of the Marne battle;
    • Port-Bou, on the border with France, in the Costa Brava region, is a small fishing village with an evident sense of hospitality;
    • The picturesque villages of Castelnou and Thuir worth the visit;
    • The Pyrenees are 30 minutes away by car and the ski resorts at 90 minutes.
      You can visit the mountains by train – the “yellow train” runs from Villefranche up Tour de Carole through awe-inspiring landscapes and crossing some breathtaking bridges!
    • Spain is at 20 minutes away by motorway and Andorra at 90-100 minutes;
    • In the north there’s Narbonne-Plage and in the south, Argelès;
    • The medieval city of Carcassonne can also be reached by train (at 45 minutes), as well as Montpellier.
  • For those who love sports, here any sport is possible, the only difficulty is choosing the right one!Indeed in all Pyrénées-Orientales all kinds of water sports are possible – gliding, sailing, water skiing, kite surf and fishing.Other sports to practise are the canyoning, cycling, canoe-kayak and rafting, horse-riding, golf and scuba diving.Indeed, the Pyrénées-Orientales can be proud to have contributed to the creation of the first French marine reserve.Located down the rocky coast, it extends on 6,5 km and covers 650 hectares of sea between Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cerbère, just in the north of the Spanish border.The Natural Marine Reserve of Cerbère-Banyuls is the only exclusively marine natural reserve of France sheltering a profusion of warm-water molluscs and corals along an underwater path.

For those who want to study in Perpignan, foreigners or not, the University of Perpignan welcomes 10 000 students, in a very beautiful green environment, near the sport park.
The university campus is an open campus with:

  • Arts and Humanities School
  • Law and economic Sciences School
  • International Law School for French Africa
  • Sport School, tourism management, international hotels management
  • Catalan French institute
  • Technology university institute
  • Enterprises administration institute

It also offers a university library, language centre, multi-media rooms, university residence, the university restaurant and many cafeterias.

There are also some private schools where foreign students can learn French such as ALFMED, academy of language located between the station and the centre town, which also offers English, Italian, Spanish and Catalan courses.

Here students can obtain some diplomas to certify their own competence in French such as:

  • Diploma in French Language studies (DELF)
    Divided in two degrees: the 1st indicates the ability to communicate in everyday situations; the 2nd indicates the ability to defend one’s opinion, develop a solid argument and self-correct.
  • French Proficiency Exam (DALF)
    It corresponds to an improvement for higher education.
    In France, it makes it possible to enter in a first university cycle, without passing the French tests.These diplomas are addressed to the students who seek an official validation of their linguistic abilities.
    They are national diplomas, delivered by the French Ministry of Education, which certify in an official way the levels of knowledge, practice and mastery of the French language by foreign students, and they are recognized by nearly 130 countries.
  • Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF)
    The test aims at assessing the fluency in the French language of non-native speakers of French and can be useful for university applications, resumes, and also Canadian immigration.