Visit Pyrenees-Orientales, France
The coast of Pyrenees-Orientales has great long sandy beaches and traditional fishing towns so why explore elsewhere? Because inland you will find the mythical Mont Canigou, picturesque river valleys, and Ceret, the town where Picasso lived and there is now a fine art museum!
Selected places to visit in Pyrenees-Orientales
Highlights in the Pyrenees-Orientales, Languedoc
Pyrenees-Orientales (eastern Pyrenees) is one of the departments of France that forms part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France - it is the most southern in the Languedoc region and forms part of the border with Spain
The region has two distinctive characters - the coastal section and the inland section. Both are within reach during a visit to the department.
The spiritual but not really very high Mount Canigou dominates much of the interior of the Pyrenees-Orientales. The region that lies between Mount Canigou and the coast to the south of Perpignan is known as the Albères. This mountainous region runs along the frontier between France and Spain.
Other highlights of the region include Madeloc and Massanne towers, and the castle at Ultrère, plus of course the scenery itself, the main attraction of the region.
The two main routes to explore the interior of the region are the Valleys of the Tech and Tet, both passing through much beautiful scenery:
- The Tet Valley runs from Perpignan to Prades and beyond, passing Villefranche de Conflent and Eus to reach Mosset - all three classified as 'most beautiful villages of France'. On the way to Mosset is the lovely spa village of Molitg les Bains. Take a detour from Prades to see the monastery at St-Michel-de Cuxa. Quite close to Perpignan are the wonderful rock formations at Ille sur Tet.
See also our guide to 'visiting the Tet Valley'
- The Tech Valley, a little further to the south, passes through Ceret, an attractive town where Picasso lived and with a very good art museum. Continue on to see Arles-sur-Tech and then don your hard hats and entertain the children at the Gorges de la Fou. Continue on to the lovely medieval town of Prats de Mollo.
Another classified villages here in southern Langudoc is Castelnou.
The coastal section of the Pyrenees-Orientales is based to the north and south of Perpignan and known as the Cote Vermeille. Much of the coast is over-developed but there are some pretty towns to discover and plenty of long sandy beaches.
Towns along the Cote Vermeille between Perpignan and Spain include Canet Plage, Saint-Cyprien, Collioure (our favourite town in the Pyrenees-Orientales department) , Port-Vendres, le Barcares, Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cerbère and Argeles-sur-Mer.
Be sure to also visit Elne for its cathedral and cloister. It is found on the route from Perpignan to these southern coastal towns.
The Fort de Salses is another popular tourist attraction north of Perpignan
Visitors to the Pyrenees-Orientales often arrive at Perpignan airport.
See a list of all Pyrenees-Orientales communes
Map of Pyrenees-Orientales
French version: Pyrenees-Orientales (Francais)