Tucked away in the foothills of the Pyrenées, just 30 miles from the Spanish border, lies the city of Perpignan. From the charming streets of its old town to the sprawling suburbs, you'll find plenty to amuse you in this provincial French town. It may be part of France but it has a distinctly Catalan vibe that sets it apart from many of France's rural cities, with narrow alleyways and paint long faded by the sun splashed haphazardly on its buildings. Language, cuisine and festivals all come together to make Perpignan Catalonia's second city behind Barcelona. Visitors have plenty of sights to discover in the old town, including the Castillet tower which sits at the edge of the district as what was once a 14th-century gateway to the city. Perpignan's cathedral and Palais des Rois de Majorca (Palace of the Kings of Majorca) are also worth visiting and give a flavour of the rich cultural heritage of this frontier city. The city's other districts stretch from modern business and shopping centres to multi-ethnic areas with Arab and Romany influence. Expect to eat extremely well and buy every spice under the Catalan sun before you return home!
Perpignan Airport is served by Ryanair in the summer months, so a cheap flight is usually easy to find. If you got outside of the summer, the best option is often to look for connecting Air France flights out of Paris. The airport at Perpignan is situated very close to the heart of the city, around 4km. Buses and trains operate regular and cheap services between the airport and the city centre, whilst taxis cost much more for the same distance. You won't need to use anything but your own two feet to transport yourself around Perpignan itself. The city centre is compact and easily laid out, making walking or biking with the city's cycle hire scheme a pleasure, especially when the mediterranean sun is shining. Venturing out of the small city is relatively easy, with a well-connected train station to other French and Spanish cities. Renting a car will also give you more scope to be able to visit surrounding towns and cities.