I did not expect it, but Perpignan was a very good surprise. Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, the prefecture of Pyrénées-Orientales has many tourist attractions. This is not just the gateway to discover the pearls of the coast as Collioure or the inescapable hinterland as Céret or Villefranche-de-Conflent. With its historical heritage and charming old center, Perpignan is worth a stop for a day or two, to enjoy its pleasant atmosphere in the shade of plane trees and palm trees.
The many red and gold flags hanging from the colorful facades of the city highlight its strong Catalan identity: here we are in French Catalonia and the cultural change is at the rendezvous. Here are the must-see sites to visit in Perpignan and all the good addresses (12 in total !!) that I could find there.
What to see and visit in Perpignan
The Castillet is the emblem of Perpignan. This 14th century fortified gate marks the entrance to the old city center. You can climb to the top of the keep and its 142 steps to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, but we still have a better view from the terrace of Galeries Lafayettes, just in front of the Castillet (plus it’s free and we can take the elevator …).
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
Southern Gothic style, the Cathedral Saint-Jean-Baptiste was built between the fourt and seventeenth century. Longer than 70m, the nave is quite impressive. The visit not to be missed is that of Campo Santo, just behind the cathedral, passing on the right. It is the only cloister-cemetery in France. The immense, very bare courtyard surrounded by white marble gothic arches is a real haven of peace in the city center.
The Sea Lodge and the Town Hall
The Place de la Loge is the historic heart of the old town. The Sea Lodge, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, built in the 14th century in flamboyant Gothic style, was once the maritime court. When I went to Perpignan, the building was in full work because this is where will be installed the new tourist office of the city. Next door is the Town Hall, a beautiful building dating from the 13th century. The major asset is the patio with a sculpture by Aristide Maillol, The Mediterranean, in its center.
Iceland is a fabulous country to discover. But the downside, it is also a very expensive country and it is not easy to travel without spending too much money. Average budgets are usually 80 to 100 euros per day per person. I went there three times: in August 2006, November 2015 and July to September 2016. For my part, I was rather on an average of 50 euros per day. We can even spend a lot less if we have the adventurous spirit and we are not at all looking at its comfort … From this experience, here is a series of tips for traveling cheaper in Iceland.
1 / Enjoy cheap airline tickets
This is one of the reasons for the tourism boom in Iceland in recent years: the marketing of Icelandic companies Icelandair and Wow Air are engaged in a real price war on the transatlantic flight market. As a result, flights to Iceland have never been cheaper. These two companies propose the “stop-over” formula, which makes it possible to make a stopover of several days in Iceland during a transatlantic flight, without additional cost for the price of the ticket. This provides a first glimpse of the country. The third company that offers really good prices is Transavia, a low-cost subsidiary of the Air-France KLM group.
The best way to find a plane ticket at the best price is first to do a simulation on Google’s comparatorMatrix ita : you can not buy a ticket, but it gives you an idea about the good rates and the good dates. Then, we can compare with what we find on Skyscanner , which I really like the search function “over the whole month”. Excluding promotions, the average prices for a Paris-Reykjavik AR are between 150 and 300 euros. For the promo, you should aim for a trip in autumn, from October to December.
2 / Book in advance
Whether for airfare, car rental or hotel night, no need to hope for last-minute prices. The tourist success of Iceland makes everything fast enough and last-minute promotions practically non-existent. The only case where I found interesting prices at the last minute was in November, which is the trough of tourist activity in Iceland. If you are planning a trip to Iceland, it may be a good calculation to make reservations in case on Booking , a hotel booking site where most of the time the cancellation is free (to be checked on a case by case basis on each reservation)