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Perpignan is the last major city in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon before the Spanish border meaning it lies in the Northern Catalonia part of France. It is this mix of cultures that attracts so many visitors. Itis also the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales department. Both the Basse and the Tet rivers run through the city and it is situated about 15km from the Mediterranean Sea.
Perpignan was founded in the tenth century. It soon became the capital of the counts of Roussillon before acquiring the institutions of a partly self-governing commune in 1197. When James I founded the Kingdom of Majorca in 1276, Perpignan became the capital of the mainland territories of the new state. The succeeding decades are considered the golden age in the city's history prospering as a centre of cloth manufacture, goldsmiths' work and other luxury crafts. After swapping hands on various occasions Perpignan was eventually captured by the French during the Thirty Years' War in 1642. It was ceded by Spain 17 years later in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, and from then on remained a French possession.