Hiring a car in Perpignan

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Hiring a car in Perpignan

Pick up your hire car at Perpignan airport and prepare to unwind with a bottle of red and some hearty French fare.

60-second guide to Perpignan

in its own head

"France and Spain have fought over us for centuries, basically because we're gorgeous. France won, but we've managed to keep the best bits of both nations."

but more realistically

Yes, there's enough history to keep any budding Simon Schamas happy, but there are also mountains one way, beaches the other and great food whichever way you turn.

the vibe

This is the south of France - slow down. Why rush when there's a bottle of red pleading with you to keep it company at a street side cafe?

the natives

'Frantic' isn't in their vocabulary. The phrase 'take it easy' is, though. Except when they're playing rugby, which is big in these parts, when they'll happily eat you alive.

the weather

It's colder than you'd think during winter, but days are usually of the crisp and bright variety. In summer you can expect lots of hot, hot sun.

the local speciality

They like their food earthy here - that's simple and robust, not covered in mud. So expect to gorge on generous hunks of meat or fish and hearty stews.

the celebrity

They've only got the best rugby player in the world pulling on the local team's shirt. Quite a few of you may prefer to see Dan Carter taking it off on the beach, though.

did you know?

Francois Arago, the physicist and politician who played an integral part in France's abolition of slavery, was born just outside Perpignan in a village called Estagel.

they say

"I had an example of a cosmogonic ecstasy, more powerful than the preceding ones. I had a precise vision of the constitution of the universe." - artist Salvador Dali, who believed that Perpignan station was the centre of the universe after he had a vision there

5 to see in town...

1. Le Castilletl

This fortress used to keep invaders out of Perpignan. These days they'll let anyone in, even you. Once you've breached the walls, there's a museum of Catalan culture to explore.

where to park?

The nearest car park is the Parking Parcoville Castillet in Boulevard Wilson. They charge a minimum of €0.70 for the first 30 minutes and a maximum of €17 for a 24-hour stay.

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2. Square Bir-Hakeim

You'll feel very French strolling through the broad tree-lined avenues of this garden, which boasts beautiful plants such as the vast and attractive Gingko Biloba and lovely palms. A great way to kick back and relax when you tire of sightseeing.

where to park?

The nearest car park is Wilson Parking in Boulevard Wilson. They charge €0.70 for the first 30 minutes, which rises to €8.90 for 9 hours and €17 for a 24-hour stay.

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3. Palais des Rois de Majorque

This 13th-century Spanish fort is a reminder of the days when those folk from the south ruled the roost. You can see why they built it here, too - there are some lovely views of the Pyrenees.

where to park?

Park your hire car for free in the palace's own car park.

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4. Musee de l'Aviation

If winged machines rev your engine, make sure you cruise into Perpignan's Aviation Museum, which is home to a vast array of flying contraptions.

where to park?

You can park for free onsite.

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5. The Cathedral of St Jean

Stub out your Gauloise, step out of the sun and take some time to ponder life in the elaborate surrounds of this fine cathedral.

where to park?

You can either park at Parking Parcoville Castillet in Boulevard Wilson or the Parking Republic in Place de la Republique, which charges €1.60 for the first hour and a maximum of €10.60 for a 44-hour stay.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. Montpellier

Montpellier is home to one of the world's oldest universities, founded in the 12th century, so there's plenty of history to get your teeth into and lots of students to philosophise with.

how to get there?

Head north-east on the A9/E15. The drive will take around an hour and a half.

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2. Argeles-sur-Mer

Just 15 miles south of Perpignan there are four miles of wide, sandy beach on the Mediterranean - and not a Brit-abroad in sight. No, you're not dreaming, you're at Argeles-sur-Mer.

how to get there?

Head south on the D914. It's about a half-hour drive.

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3. Ceret

This town in the foothills of the Pyrenees has a fine Museum of Modern Art and is home to painters and poets - and they rarely choose to live anywhere that isn't pretty spectacular.

how to get there?

Head south on the A9/E15 and the D115. It'll take around 40 minutes to drive there.

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4. Banyuls-sur-Mer

It's a pretty coastal village, but never mind about that - it's the local wine that draws the crowds. Buy yourself a bottle for when you get home.

how to get there?

Head south-east on the D914. It's about a 50-minute drive.

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