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Devil's bridge
Devil's bridge
Céret is located in France
Coordinates: 42°29′21″N 2°45′08″E / 42.4892°N 2.7522°E / 42.4892; 2.7522Coordinates: 42°29′21″N 2°45′08″E / 42.4892°N 2.7522°E / 42.4892; 2.7522
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Pyrénées-Orientales
Arrondissement Céret
Canton Céret
 • Mayor (2001–2008) Alain Torrent
Area1 37.86 km2 (14.62 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 7,785
 • Density 210/km2 (530/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 66049 / 66400
Elevation 107–1,440 m (351–4,724 ft)
(avg. 154 m or 505 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Céret (French pronunciation: ​[seʁɛ]; Catalan: Ceret pronounced: [səˈɾɛt]) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France. It is the capital of the historic Catalan comarque of Vallespir.


Céret seen from the north

The town lies in the foothills of the Pyrénées mountains, in southern France. It has an altitude of 175–1400 meters. It is located 7 km (4.3 mi) from the Autoroute A9, 200 km (120 mi) from Montpellier, 250 km (160 mi) from Toulouse and 180 km (110 mi) from Barcelona. It lies on the river Tech. The GR 10 footpath runs close by.


The name of the town in Catalan is Ceret.[1]

Former known names of Céret are, in order of appearance, vicus Sirisidum in 814, vico Cereto in 866, villa Cerseto in 915, vigo Ceresido in 930, also Cered and Ceriteto in the 10th century, Ceret, Cericeto in the 11th and 12th centuries, Cirset around 1070, Cersed (one of the most common forms) in 1130 and Cerset in 1138, and from the 13th to 15th centuries Cereto, Ceret, Seret and Saret. Ceret becomes the most common form around the 16th century.[2] · [3]


A plague epidemic hit Céret from 1651 to 1655 and killed about a hundred. One of the doctors in charge, coming from Thuir, was fired for being repeatidly drunk and after having buried several sick people that were still alive.[4]

Government and politics[edit]


Mayor Term start Term end
Onuphre Tarris 1919 1940
Henri Rey 1940 1941
Henri Mouchard 1941 1943
Jean Maler 1943 1944
Jacques Souquet 1944 1945
Gaston Cardonne 1945 1947
Henri Guitard 1947 1963
Marcel Parayre 1963 1964
Michel Sageloly Sr. 1964 1983
Henri Sicre 1983 1995
Michel Sageloly Jr. 1995 1996
Henri Sicre 1996 2001
Alain Torrent 2001


Evolution of the Population (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1841 1846 1851 1856
1,754 2,181 2,517 2,692 3,251 3,313 3,519 3,586 3,488
1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896 1901
3,585 3,737 3,708 3,629 3,777 3,818 3,828 3,766 3,840
1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954 1962
3,841 3,921 4,472 4,918 5,052 5,118 5,148 5,091 5,421
1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2011 - -
5,438 5,987 6,798 7,285 7,291 7,568 7,583 - -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006) · [5]

Histogram on demographic change

Sources - database Cassini of EHESS and Insee See database


A street in Céret

The region around Céret is a major fruit producer, in particular famed for its cherries. The first of the season's pick are, by local tradition, sent to France's president. Céret hosts a cherry festival each year with such oddities as cherry beer and a cherry pit spitting competition. The cherry season is during the end of April and May. At this time, the town is at its most picturesque.

Sites of interest[edit]

Céret is famous for its Musée d'Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art), which has numerous Picasso paintings, sculptures and ceramics, including the famous bull fighting bowl series. The museum also features paintings by Chagall, Matisse, Herbin, Soutine, lots of Fauves and a few Impressionists. The top floor of the Museum hosts touring exhibitions. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

The Museum of Musical Instruments, Céret opened in May 2013 and is hosting a unique collection of instruments and musical scores.

The Pont du Diable (Devil's Bridge) is a single arch stone bridge built between 1321 and 1341. With a single span of 45.45 m, it was at the time of its construction the world's largest arch bridge in terms of span length and remained so until 1356.[4]



Céret also holds an annual bull running festival known as la feria where young bulls (usually with their horns blunted) are run through the streets corralled by a group of highly skilled Camargue horsemen and women. Young bloods fired up on cheap local wine and wearing traditional red and yellow Catalan outfits, chase from behind in an attempt to catch hold of the bull's tail and hold on for as long as they can. Many bruises result although mostly it has to be said, to the ego. The feria is always held the weekend nearest to 14 July, Bastille Day.


Céret regularly holds communal dances, where local amateurs or professionals dance in a ring. The dance is known as the sardanes. No pre-arrangement is made on the dancers behalf, locals note the time and place on posters around the city and turn up as they wish. More formal arrangements are also made on other occasions.


Céret's Saturday market is a high point of the week and is as much a social event as anything else. It is a bustling, busy market selling mostly local produce. Fresh fruit and vegetable stalls are alongside the man who makes boudins blanc and noir. The olive stall is a "must see" where you can choose from a large range of plain, marinated and dried olives. The local cheese makers sell everything from the delicious fresh cheeses to aged hard cheese cut from large wheels. The local wines are red, cheap and very drinkable. The markets are much frequented by the large local English, Dutch, German and Scandinavian population that have moved to the Céret region in the last ten to fifteen years.

During summer, there is also a market each Tuesday night. Rather than produce, the night market has an emphasis on arts and crafts.

Notable people[edit]


Céret has a continued tradition of being a home for artists, especially painters and poets. Pablo Picasso lived in Céret in the early part of the 20th century and Café Pablo in the town is dedicated to him. The Grand Café, still operating today, was a meeting place for many famous artists in the early part of the last century. Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani, amongst other artists, visited at this time. Chaim Soutine, the Russian emigre painter, lived in Céret for a period and painted many landscapes of the village and its surrounds. Aristide Maillol, a famous sculptor born in the local village of Banyuls-sur-Mer, is represented by two public sculptures - one outside the visitors information centre and the other on the war memorial. Harold Weston, the American modernist, lived in a farmhouse above Céret from 1926 to 1929.

Other people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Université de Perpignan, Nomenclàtor toponímic de la Catalunya del Nord, Barcelona, 2007
  2. ^ Lluís Basseda, Toponymie historique de Catalunya Nord, t. 1, Prades, Revista Terra Nostra, 1990, 796 p.
  3. ^ Jean Sagnes (dir.), Le pays catalan, t. 2, Pau, Société nouvelle d'éditions régionales, 1985, 579-1133 p. (ISBN 2904610014)
  4. ^ a b Cárdenas, Fabricio (2014). 66 petites histoires du Pays Catalan [66 Little Stories of Catalan Country] (in French). Perpignan: Ultima Necat. ISBN 978-2-36771-006-8. OCLC 893847466. 
  5. ^ Census of population on 1 January 2006 on the site of Insee.

External links[edit]