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Accessible Travel Guide: Perpignan and the Pyrenées Orientales

On the border with Spain, at a crossroads of cultures and identities, Perpignan was in the 13th century the capital of the kingdom of Majorca, and still bears today some notable architectural buildings and a charming city centre.

There is a lot to do here! A visit to the city is a must, but there is also the possibility to go to the beach and to explore the parks nearby: there are adapted and accessible activities truly for everyone all year round. The best way to start is to go to the Perpignan Tourist Office, perfectly adapted for people with mobility, visual and cognitive special needs.
They have an offer of information and tours for all: an MP3 recorded itinerary that will guide you around town, accompanied by tactile images of the main monuments, a Braille and Large Print guide of the region, and a guided tour for people in wheelchairs through the historic centre.



Nature for all!

The area near Perpignan is perfect for exploring nature: the sea, with accessible beaches, and two natural parks whith adapted activities: the Regional Natural Park of  the Pyrenées Orientales, the Regional Natural Park of the Narbonnaise en Mediterranée, with dry and wet landscapes.

The beaches that are equipped for people with reduced mobility are: Plage du Grand Large, Plage de la jetée, Mar Estang and Plage Centrale Agora. You will find a full description of each beach and the accessible features in the Accessible Perpignan Guide (download from the box on the right hand of this page).

There are more accessible beaches nearby, reviewed by the French association for the paralyzed. The ones mentioned here have accessible parking, toilets, showers and access to the sea, and special chairs for the beach and bathing. Click on the links to read more (in French):  Argeles (Plage des pins, centre plage), Saint CyprienCollioure Saint Vincent, Canet (Plage de la jetée – Plage Centre – here access to the water requires help though).

If you want to explore the parks you can consult the rich calendar of activities – all year round – of the association Nataph, specialized in hiking and nature activities for people with special needs (mobility and sight). They have narrative and sensorial hiking walks for people who are blind or visually impaired and they provide the special hiking chair “joëlette”  for aspiring trekkers in wheelchairs, and they teach you how to carry your friends and family safely!
They also organize tailor-made tours and hikes and activities to discover the local heritage and food (you cannot miss a visit to an artisanal cheese lab!) and take you out birdwatching.

General Accessibility of the area

Tip:To explore Perpignan in a wheelchair or walker, download the accessible Perpignan guide that the Tourist Office has created (in French) – DOWNLOAD

The level of accessibility in Perpignan and neighboring areas is rather good, as the local administrations have made an effort to comply to the national laws to eliminate architectural barriers, but also to provide information in many formats for people with different special needs.

Most of the information you will find is however in French, so if you have mobility needs you might want to do a quick language crash course. If you want to go the beach, two words that will be useful to you are “tiralo” and “hippocampe”, which mean respectively amphibious wheelchair and aquatic wheelchair. If you want to go hiking, you’ll ask for a “joëlette”, a special chair for hiking with some help from your friends and family.

The Tourist Office is fully accessible and is a good starting point to ask all the questions you might have on the accessible offer and on how to better enjoy the area and the many events that take place all year round.

Airport Accessibility

Perpignan has a relatively small airport equipped with ramps and accessible toilets, you can find some basic information and the telephone number for assistance in the page dedicated to passengers with mobility needs section.

Perpignan Rivesaltes Airport – Information on accessibility and special assistance

Photo credit: the imagine in the header is by Jorge Franganillo 

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