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Perpignan is situated on the Tet river, in the central southern part of France, 8 miles from the Mediterranean Sea and just 19 miles from the border with Spain. It is the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The city has about 120,000 inhabitants, but the bigger metropolitan area has over 300,000 living within its boundaries.
Perpignan was the capital of the old province of Roussillen. It was heavily fortified during the struggle between France and Spain for the province of Roussillon. It was ceded to the French in 1659 by the Treaty of Pyrenees. Again in the 20th century it became the city of refuge for refugees from the Spanish Civil war.
Perpignan is a hub for processing and transporting of wines, fruits and vegetables that are grown in its hinterland. A large distribution centre is located in the Saint-Charles district, just southwest of the city centre.
International Festival of Photojournalism is held each year during early September. It is unique event where visitors can view the greatest photojournalist work from across the world in exhibitions around the city. Evening screenings are held in an open air enclosure in the city. The exhibitions showcase the photographer's work reporting on war, nature, environment, people, religious and social issues. The event also gives an opportunity to professionals from all parts of the world to discuss their problems and debate various issues relevant to photojournalism.
Perpignan, like much of the wider region, has a typical Mediterranean climate. This means that summers are usually dry, sunny and warm, averaging around 28 degrees Celcius during July and August. Nights are pleasantly warm, around 18 degrees. Sometimes temperatures can hit 40 degrees though during these months.
Winters last from December to February and are around 10 to 12 degrees Celcius during the day and still well above zero at night. This is also the wetter time of year with most rain falling from October onwards.
Perpignan - Rivesaltes Airport is the main airport with a growing number of flights. Air France flies to Paris-Orly, BMI to Manchester, Flybe to Southampton and Ryanair serves Brussels, Birmingham, Bristol and London-Stansted.
Trains go to Barcelona directly or (half price) with a change in Cerbère/Portbou. They go three times daily and can take up to three hours. There are frequent services to Montpellier taking two hours via Narbonne (45 minutes) and Béziers (70 minutes).
Nine TGV's (high speed trains) run daily to Paris, Gare de Lyon (five hours). For Carcassonne you will have to change in Narbonne.
The nearest you can get to Andorra by train is La Tour de Carol taking four hours, from where buses go to Andorra.
Trains also go to regional places like Cerbère/Portbou on the Spanish border taking around 40 minutes, stopping in Collioure, Port-Vendres and Banyuls.
Bus company Courriers Catalans has connections to coastal resorts. Two to five buses a day go to and from Collioure and Port-Vendres and on to Banyuls.
Five buses daily travel to Vernet-les-Bains via Prades and Villefranche and even more buses go to Céret.
Eurolines has long-distance buses and its office is just east of the train station.
CPTM is the local bus company with tickets costing €1.10 or roughly €5 for a day pass.
A minibus travel for free around the city centre.
|Hotel de la Loge||1 Rue des Fabriques d'en Nabot||Hotel||67|
|Hotel Mar I Sol||Rue Rodin St. Cyprien Plage||Hotel||-|
|Le Neoulous||Route de Ceret Le Boulou||Hotel||-|
|Mas Camps||RN 117 Route de Maury, Maury||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Porte d'Espagne||Lieu-Dit le Bon Secours||Hotel||-|
France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.
See also: International Telephone Calls
To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.
Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.
France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.
La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).
Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.
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