Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 side, USA Perpignan
USA Perpignan
Union Sportive des Arlequins Perpignanais or Unió eSportiva Arlequins de Perpinyà , generally abbreviated as USAP in both languages, is a French rugby union club that plays in the city of Perpignan in Pyrénées-Orientales. The club currently competes in the Top 14, the top level of the French...

, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup
Heineken Cup
The Heineken Cup is one of two annual rugby union competitions organised by European Rugby Cup involving leading club, regional and provincial teams from the six International Rugby Board countries in Europe whose national teams compete in the Six Nations Championship: England, France, Ireland,...

 and seven times champion of the Top 14 (most recently in 2009), while their rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 side plays in the engage Super League
Super League
Super League is the top-level professional rugby league football club competition in Europe. As a result of sponsorship from engage Mutual Assurance the competition is currently officially known as the engage Super League. The League features fourteen teams: thirteen from England and one from...

 under the name Catalans Dragons
Catalans Dragons
The Catalans Dragons are a French professional rugby league club based in Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales. They currently play in the Super League, and are the only team in the competition from outside of the United Kingdom...



Since 2004, every year in the last weekend of August in the Palace of the Kings of Majorca
Palace of the Kings of Majorca
The Palace of the Kings of Majorca, or Palais des Rois de Majorque in French, is a palace and a fortress with gardens overlooking the city of Perpignan in Pyrenees-Orientales, Languedoc-Roussillon, France.- The Kingdom of Majorca :...

 the free 3 day Guitares au Palais
Guitares au Palais
The Guitares au Palais is an annual guitar-oriented music festival in the Palace of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, which began in 2004. The festival focuses on folk, gypsy music, jazz, and flamenco. On the third day there is an additional program with a focus on indie rock...

takes place. The festival has a broad main stream focus with pop related music as well as traditional acoustic guitar music and alternative music with international guests like Caetano Veloso
Caetano Veloso
Caetano Emanuel Viana Teles Veloso , better known as Caetano Veloso, is a Brazilian composer, singer, guitarist, writer, and political activist. Veloso first became known for his participation in the Brazilian musical movement Tropicalismo which encompassed theatre, poetry and music in the 1960s,...

 (2007), Rumberos Catalans, Pedro Soler, Bernardo Sandoval, Peter Finger, Aaron and Bryce Dessner
Aaron and Bryce Dessner
Aaron and Bryce Dessner are twin brothers and members of the rock band The National. Aaron Dessnerwrites the majority of the music for The National. The brothers are co-founders, alongside Alec Hanley Bemis, of Brassland, a label that is home to artists including The National, the Clogs, catalog...


Perpignan has a close connection with the sculptor Aristide Maillol
Aristide Maillol
Aristide Maillol or Aristides Maillol was a French Catalan sculptor and painter.-Biography:...

, who attended school there.

Following a visit in 1963, the Catalan
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 surrealist artist Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

 declared the city's railway station the centre of the Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

, saying that he always got his best ideas sitting in the waiting room. He followed that up some years later by declaring that the Iberian Peninsula rotated precisely at Perpignan station 132 million years ago – an event the artist invoked in his 1983 painting Topological Abduction of Europe – Homage to Rene Thom
René Thom
René Frédéric Thom was a French mathematician. He made his reputation as a topologist, moving on to aspects of what would be called singularity theory; he became world-famous among the wider academic community and the educated general public for one aspect of this latter interest, his work as...

. Above the station is a monument in Dali's honour, and across the surface of one of the main platforms is painted, in big letters, «perpignan centre du monde» (French for "perpignan centre of the world").

In 2008, Perpignan became Capital of Catalan Culture.

In Perpignan many street name signs are in both French and Catalan.

Notable people born in Perpignan

  • Menachem Meiri
    Menachem Meiri
    Rabbi Menachem Meiri was a famous Catalan rabbi, Talmudist and Maimonidean.-Early life:Menachem Meiri was born in 1249 in Perpignan, which then formed part of the County of Barcelona...

     (1249–c. 1310), a famous Catalan rabbi, Talmudist and Maimonidean.
  • Louise Labé
    Louise Labé
    Louise Labé, , also identified as La Belle Cordière, , was a female French poet of the Renaissance, born at Lyon, the daughter of a rich ropemaker, Pierre Charly, and his second wife, Etiennette Roybet...

     (1524–1566), a female Lyons poet of the Renaissance
    The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

     which at the siege of Perpignan, or in a tournament there, is said to have dressed in male clothing and fought on horseback in the ranks of the Dauphin, afterwards Henry II
  • Hyacinthe Rigaud
    Hyacinthe Rigaud
    Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was based in Paris.He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period...

     (1659–1743), who painted the definitive portraits of Louis XIV
  • François Arago
    François Arago
    François Jean Dominique Arago , known simply as François Arago , was a French mathematician, physicist, astronomer and politician.-Early life and work:...

     (1786–1853), the physicist, astronomer and liberal politician, who secured the abolition of slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

     in the French colonies
    French Colonies
    "French Colonies" is the name used by philatelists to refer to the postage stamps issued by France for use in the parts of the French colonial empire that did not have stamps of their own...

     in 1853, was born in the nearby village of Estagel
    Estagel is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.-References:*...

     (Estagell) and is memorialized in the eponymous Place Arago that bears his statue in the centre of the town.
  • Aristide Maillol
    Aristide Maillol
    Aristide Maillol or Aristides Maillol was a French Catalan sculptor and painter.-Biography:...

     (1861–1944). French Catalan sculptor and painter. Bronzes in the Garden of Tuileries, Paris and at the Metropolitan, NYC.
  • Robert Brasillach
    Robert Brasillach
    Robert Brasillach was a French author and journalist. Brasillach is best known as the editor of Je suis partout, a nationalist newspaper which came to advocate various fascist movements and supported Jacques Doriot...

     (1909–1945), fascist author and journalist, executed for advocating collaboration with Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

     during World War II.
  • Frédérick Bousquet
    Frédérick Bousquet
    Frédérick Bousquet is a freestyle and butterfly swimmer from France. He was the holder of the world record in the 50 m freestyle in a time of 20.94 in long course, set on April 26, 2009 at the final of the French Championships...

     (born 1981), French freestyle and butterfly swimmer who competed at three consecutive Summer Olympics (2000
    Swimming at the 2000 Summer Olympics
    At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, 32 swimming events were contested, between September 15–23, 2000. There was a total of 954 participants from 150 countries competing.-Medal table:-Men:...

    , 2004
    Swimming at the 2004 Summer Olympics
    Swimming at the 2004 Summer Olympics took place in the Olympic Aquatic Centre with the athletes competing in 32 events. There was a total of 937 participants from 152 countries competing.-Medal table:-Men's events:...

    , and 2008
    Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics
    Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics was held over a thirteen day period from August 9 to August 21, with the conventional events ending on August 17 and the new marathon 10 km events being held on August 20 and 21...

  • Sandrine Erdely-Sayo
    Sandrine Erdely-Sayo
    Sandrine Erdely-Sayo, born October 11, 1968, in Perpignan, France, is a Jewish French-American pianist. She was a child prodigy who could play Bach and read music before knowing how to read a book.- Biography :...

     (born 1968) pianist – Youngest recipient of the French Minister of Culture Prize at 13 years old. She lives in Philadelphia where she became National Interest for the United States

Twin towns — sister cities

Perpignan is twinned with:
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, Germany, since 1960 Lancaster, United Kingdom, since 1962 Lake Charles
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Lake Charles is the fifth-largest incorporated city in the U.S. state of Louisiana, located on Lake Charles, Prien Lake, and the Calcasieu River. Located in Calcasieu Parish, a major cultural, industrial, and educational center in the southwest region of the state, and one of the most important in...

, United States, since 1993
Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota is a city located in Sarasota County on the southwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. It is south of the Tampa Bay Area and north of Fort Myers...

, United States, from 1994 Tyre, Lebanon, since 1997 Lleida
Lleida is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. It is the capital city of the province of Lleida, as well as the largest city in the province and it had 137,387 inhabitants , including the contiguous municipalities of Raimat and Sucs. The metro area has about 250,000 inhabitants...

, Spain since 2005

Partner towns

Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

, Spain, since 1988 Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Spain, since 1994 Figueres
Figueres is the capital of the comarca of Alt Empordà, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.The town is the birthplace of artist Salvador Dalí, and houses the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí, a large museum designed by Dalí himself which attracts many visitors...

, Spain, since 1996
Ma'alot-Tarshiha is a mixed city in the North District in Israel, some 20 km east of Nahariya, about 600 meter above sea level. The city was established in 1963 through a municipal merger of the Arab town of Tarshiha and the Jewish town of Ma'alot...

, Israel, since 1998 Tavira
Tavira is a Portuguese city, situated at 37°07' north, 7°39' west in the east of the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal. It is 30 km east of Faro and 160 km west of Seville in Spain. The Gilão River meets the Atlantic Ocean in Tavira....

, Portugal, since 2001

External links

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