Perpignan is the last major town in the Languedoc region before you reach the Spanish border. As a consequence, the flavour of Perpignan is essentially Catalan. There's a fascinating mix of cultures in this corner of the region: Catalan, Romany and North African all co-exist in this sunny city of palm-lined squares.
A 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. Perpignan was always too far from the coast to become a port; consequently, the town developed into a cloth-making centre by the early Middle Ages.
In more recent times, Perpignan became home to countless "pieds noirs" or French citizens who fled the uprisings of the '50s and '60s in North Africa. The town is now also home to sizeable communities of people from Morocco and Algeria who moved to France to escape repression in their home countries.