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Destination Perpignan Centre du Monde

Dali set the Centre of the World at the Perpignan railway station:

"I had a kind of cosmogonic ecstasy at Perpignan station, stronger than any I'd experienced before. I had an exact vision of the constitution of the universe".

Salvador Dali

Discover a city with a unique history!

Perpignan Centre du Monde has a rich history and an exceptional cultural heritage. From the fossils of the Serrat d'en Vaquer to 20th-century architecture, the Ruscino oppidum, the Kingdom of Majorca and the Treaty of the Pyrenees, Perpignan is a city that has been around for two millennia and has had an eventful history.
Although there are Neolithic settlements and remains from Roman times, the history of the city of Perpignan only began in the 10th century!

In fact, the first mention of the town dates back to May 20, 927!

Then came the Middle Ages and the Kingdom of Majorca. During this period, the town experienced exceptional industrial and commercial growth.

Did you know? 

Perpignan has twice been a capital city! First, as the capital of the County of Roussillon in 1162, then of the Kingdom of Majorca from 1276 to 1344. Perpignan then became part of the kingdom of France following the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. 

Destination Perpignan Centre du Monde

Discover our wonderful traditions!

La sanch :

Every year, people come from far and wide to attend this event, with an average attendance of 15,000. Every Good Friday, the Confrérie de la Sanch commemorates the Passion of Christ through its procession. The procession follows a set itinerary through the streets of the historic center. Dressed in large black robes, the "caparutxos", to atone for their sins, march to the sound of the iron bell of the red-clad penitent at the head of the procession, called the Regidor. So thisIt's a cultural and intangible heritage not to be missed.

La Sant Jordi:

The tradition of Sant Jordi is a Catalan celebration that takes place every year on April 23. According to legend, in Montblanc, Catalonia, Sant Jordi saved the princess by slaying the dragon. A rosebush sprang from the dragon's blood. Since then, tradition has it that men give roses to women, who give them a book in return.

St. John's Day:

The tradition of St. John's Day in Perpignan is deeply rooted in Catalan culture, celebrating the summer solstice with singular fervor. Lit in 1964 at the Castillet with a magnifying glass that ignited the pyre on Canigó at midnight on June 22, the Saint John's Day flame has since been kept at the Castillet, where it shines throughout the year. The Sunday before, a delegation sets off for the summit of Canigó. From the top of the sacred Catalan mountain, a bundle of wood is placed around the Canigó cross and the flame is regenerated. Each flame-bearer brings back the spark that heralds summer. The descent thus gives rise to the convivial feast we all know and love.

La Sardane :

Not only is it a traditional dance, it is also a symbol of Catalan cultural identity and is often associated with festive and cultural events. It is danced in a circle, with dancers holding hands. Participants move in a clockwise circle, alternately raising and lowering their arms. 

The dance is often accompanied by a group of musicians playing traditional Catalan instruments such as the cobla, a wind and percussion ensemble. Last but not least, you can discover this tradition in Perpignan on Mondays every summer in the Place de la Loge.

Destination Perpignan Centre du Monde
Destination Perpignan Centre du Monde

A few anecdotes about Perpignan Centre du Monde ...

Do you know what Claude Simon, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Raoul Dufy and John Gardner, the creator of James Bond 007, have in common ?

They've all written about Perpignan.

At the foot of the Castillet

Le Castillet

Its crystal-clear chimes have set the pace of downtown life for decades. The Ducommun jewelry store opened its doors in 1840. But how did this family arrive in Perpignan?

Pierre Joseph Henri Ducommun, a Swiss-born watchmaker from Toulouse, is called to Perpignan when a famous general "de Castellane" breaks his most precious watch. Considered the best worker, the general gave him so much work that Ducommun eventually settled in Perpignan, in a workshop at the foot of the Castillet. Not being able to speak Catalan, he hired Lucie Rigaud, niece of Hyacinthe Rigaud, and the collaboration ended in marriage. This was the beginning of the Ducommun dynasty in Perpignan, still famous today.

Destination Perpignan Centre du Monde

Le Carillon

Did you know: the Perpignan carillon was used at the 1878 Paris World Fair. Once the exhibition was over, it was shipped back to Perpignan in 1879, then permanently installed in the Saint-Jean-le-Vieux bell tower in 1885.

Destination Perpignan Centre du Monde