Although Perpignan is technically French, its culture owes as much to the Catalan region of Spain. Having been passed backwards and forwards between the two countries for centuries, it finally became a French city in 1659. In the mid-20th century refugees from North Africa started arriving, fleeing the troubles at home; to learn more about Perpignan’s history visit the Museum of French Algeria or the Museum of North Catalonia History, which is housed within a 14th century castle. The most popular attractions are the 13th century palace that once belonged to the King of Mallorca, and the beautiful Saint-Jean quarter, once home to the city’s wealthiest residents. During the summer months street parties are commonplace; every Thursday you can expect to see flamenco dancers, fire eaters and puppeteers taking to the central streets to perform.