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Overview

France’s Catalan province, Roussillon has as much in common with neighboring Spain’s Catalonia region as it does with much of France. Officially joined with Languedoc into one region, it maintains a separate identity in part because of its Catalan roots and partly because of its geographical setting at the southernmost corner of the department. Set at the eastern end of the Pyrénées, where the mountains meet the Mediterranean, Roussillon provides the link between Spain’s Costa Brava and the Languedoc purpose-built resort towns. Perpignan is its largest city, a fun-loving place that James I of Aragon chose as the capital of the kingdom he set ...

France’s Catalan province, Roussillon has as much in common with neighboring Spain’s Catalonia region as it does with much of France. Officially joined with Languedoc into one region, it maintains a separate identity in part because of its Catalan roots and partly because of its geographical setting at the southernmost corner of the department. Set at the eastern end of the Pyrénées, where the mountains meet the Mediterranean, Roussillon provides the link between Spain’s Costa Brava and the Languedoc purpose-built resort towns. Perpignan is its largest city, a fun-loving place that James I of Aragon chose as the capital of the kingdom he set up for his son. See the palace, and don’t miss the royal apartments or the frescoes in the Queen’s Chapel. North of Perpignan, the dramatic Chateau de Peyrepertuse – two castles really – commands from a lofty height. Between Perpignan and the Spanish border, the Pyrénées drop precipitously into the sea to form a coastline of cliffs and tiny ports set in coves between them. The ragged coast and its villages were a favorite haven for the Fauve painters in the early 20th century, and still attract artists. The Plain of Roussillon is a great agricultural area that supplies vegetables and fruit to markets all over France. So close is the region to the border that it may be easier to fly into Gerona, Spain.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winters along the coast are mild, summers hot.