Northern Catalonia

The Canigou (2785 m) seen from near Perpignan

Northern Catalonia (Catalan: Catalunya Nord, French: Catalogne Nord) is a name that sometimes is used, mainly in Catalan writings, to refer to the territory given to France by Spain in 1659. The area corresponds approximately to the modern French département of the Pyrénées-Orientales.

The French name, Catalogne Nord, is used nowadays, although less often than the more politically neutral Roussillon (in reference to the pre-Revolutionary province). Sometimes French Catalonia is also used.


Northern Catalonia forms a triangle between the Pyrenees to the south, the Corbières to the north-west and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The Plain of Roussillon in the east, by far the area where more people live, is formed by the floodplains of the Tech, Têt and Agly rivers (Catalan: Tec, Tet, Aglí). The districts of Vallespir and Conflent cover the upper valleys of the Tech and the Têt respectively. The mountain Le Canigou (Catalan: Canigó), 2,784 m (9,134 ft), dominates much of the territory.

The climate is of the Mediterranean type, with hot, dry summers and winters which are relatively mild, at least on the Roussillon plain where snow is rare.[1]

More of a quarter of the population of Northern Catalonia is in the city of Perpignan (Catalan: Perpinyà).[2] Perpignan is the only important administrative and service centre. Roads and trains run north–south through Northern Catalonia between France and Spain.