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Visiting Downtown Perpignan, France at the Basse river: tranquillity by a tree-lined, fluvial artery

Updated on February 21, 2013
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Basse river bridge, Perpignan, France
Basse river bridge, Perpignan, France | Source
Map location of Perpignan, France
Map location of Perpignan, France | Source

Plane trees adding a sense of leafy maturity

One of the main rivers of Perpignan, France, is the Basse, which flows near the Downtown area, and is a tributary of the Têt river.

The Basse river has been planted with now mature plane trees (1), and lawns and flowerbeds adjacent to the river channel are maintained in a well-manicured condition. The effect of the care with which the greened environment around the Basse river is preserved gives the Downtown part of the city a sense of peace and even serenity.

At its confluence with the Têt river, the Basse has undergone a program of canalization.

The Basse is somewhat susceptible to flooding and the reinforcement of its banks, along the length of which its sizable gardens have been planted, is thus maintained for practical engineering purposes.

A new suburb development of the city has been named Gardens of the Basse (French: Les Jardins de la Basse ) (2) in tribute to this central feature of the city, and which doubtless adds to sense of attraction to would be residents.

The city of Perpignan is typical of the South of France, while it has been part of France since 1659, by the terms of the — for the city — aptly named Treaty of the Pyrenees (French: Traité des Pyrenées ). In turn, its environment of plane trees alongside the Basse River and its historical and architectural heritage contribute to giving it also a special character of its own. My visit to the city was all too short, but even the time spent there has given me a real sense awakening the interest to visit this herbaceous, metropolitan centre again.

Perpignan is situated in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, itself located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in the south of France.

February 20, 2013


(1) Indeed, plane tree (French: platane ) are very well established the Downtown area of Perpignan. Plane trees in an already mature state feature in postcards of the city dating from a century ago; local streets and other topgraphical features bear reference to this species of tree.

(2) This is also the name of a park area alongside the Basse.

Also worth seeing

Among the many noted buildings in Perpignan itself are the Castillet tower, the Palace of the Kings of Majorca (French: Palais des rois de Majorque ), examples of Medieval ecclesiastical architecture, and many others.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ) (Paris-Perpignan distance: 849 kilometres), from where there are air links to Perpignan . The French railroad company SNCF maintains services from Paris (station: Gare de Lyon ) to Perpignan . For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, Ryanair flies from London Stansted Airport to Perpignan Airport (Aéroport International Perpignan-Rivesaltes ), from where car rental is available. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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