Céret – Wikipedia

Subprefecture of Pyrénées-Orientales, Occitanie

Subprefecture and commune in Occitania, France

Céret (French: [seʁɛ] (listen); Catalan: Ceret [səˈɾɛt]) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.[2] It is the capital of the historic Catalan comarca of Vallespir.


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.

Céret is located in the canton of Vallespir-Albères and in the arrondissement of Céret.

Map of Céret and its surrounding communes


The name of the town in Catalan is Ceret.[3]

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.[4] · [5]


A plague epidemic hit Céret from 1651 to 1655 and killed about a hundred people. One of the doctors in charge, coming from Thuir, was fired for being repeatedly drunk and after having buried several sick people that were still alive.[6]

Céret seen from the north

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 2020
Michel Coste 2020

Twin towns[edit]

Céret is twinned with:


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1793 1,754 —    
1800 2,181 +3.16%
1806 2,517 +2.42%
1821 2,692 +0.45%
1831 3,251 +1.90%
1836 3,302 +0.31%
1841 3,313 +0.07%
1846 3,519 +1.21%
1851 3,586 +0.38%
1856 3,488 −0.55%
1861 3,585 +0.55%
1866 3,737 +0.83%
1872 3,708 −0.13%
1876 3,629 −0.54%
1881 3,777 +0.80%
1886 3,818 +0.22%
1891 3,828 +0.05%
1896 3,766 −0.33%
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1901 3,840 +0.39%
1906 3,841 +0.01%
1911 3,921 +0.41%
1921 4,472 +1.32%
1926 4,918 +1.92%
1931 5,052 +0.54%
1936 5,118 +0.26%
1946 5,148 +0.06%
1954 5,091 −0.14%
1962 5,421 +0.79%
1968 5,438 +0.05%
1975 5,987 +1.38%
1982 6,798 +1.83%
1990 7,285 +0.87%
1999 7,291 +0.01%
2007 7,620 +0.55%
2012 7,621 +0.00%
2017 7,798 +0.46%
Source: EHESS[8] and INSEE[9]


The region around Céret is a major fruit producer, in particular famed for its cherries.

In France since the 1920s, the first cherries of the season always come in march from the region of Céret,[10] where the local producers always send, as a tradition since 1932, the first crate of cherries to the French president of the Republic.[11] In 1938, 45000 out of the 90000 cherry trees of Pyrénées-Orientales are in the canton of Céret. The 25000 cherry trees in Céret only then give 1250 tons of cherries each year.[12] In the 1960s, the production of cherries in Céret rises up to 3000 tons, before being divided by 11 at the end of the 2000s.

Sites of interest[edit]

Official historical monuments

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.[6]

The church of Saint Peter is the main church in Céret and was built from the 11th to the 18th centuries.

The Château d’Aubiry is an Art Nouveau style château from the end of the 19th century built by rolling paper magnate Pierre Bardou-Job.

The War memorial was sculpted by Aristide Maillol and inaugurated in 1922.


Céret is famous for its Musée d’Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art), which has numerous Picasso paintings, sculptures and ceramics, including the famous bullfighting bowl series. The museum also features paintings by Chagall, Matisse, Herbin, Soutine, many 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.



Céret holds an annual festival for the corridas which run during three days. The first bullfighting with killing of the bull occurred in Céret in 1894 and has been a tradition ever since.[13] This event is known as the feria. There are also bull runnings where young bulls (usually with their horns blunted) are run through the streets corralled by a group of horsemen and women. People wearing traditional white and blue (the Céret colors) outfits, chase from behind in an attempt to catch hold of the bull’s tail and hold on for as long as they can. The feria is always held the weekend nearest to 14 July, Bastille Day and around 30 to 40,000 people participate in the streets each year.


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 has a market on Saturdays, where vendors sell mostly local produce, along with sausages, olives, cheese and wine. During the summer, there is also a market each Tuesday night that focuses on arts and crafts rather than produce.

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. Chaïm 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. ^ « Populations légales 2019 ». The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  2. ^ INSEE commune file
  3. ^ Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Université de Perpignan, Nomenclàtor toponímic de la Catalunya del Nord, Barcelona, 2007
  4. ^ Lluís Basseda, Toponymie historique de Catalunya Nord, t. 1, Prades, Revista Terra Nostra, 1990, 796 p.
  5. ^ Jean Sagnes (dir.), Le pays catalan, t. 2, Pau, Société nouvelle d’éditions régionales, 1985, 579-1133 p. (ISBN 2904610014)
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Céret – Lüchow : trente ans d’amitié Franco-Allemande, 28 August 2013
  8. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d’aujourd’hui: Commune data sheet Céret, EHESS. (in French)
  9. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  10. ^ (in French) Fabricio Cardenas, Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales, Premières cerises de Céret et d’ailleurs, 24 August 2014
  11. ^ (in French) Fabricio Cardenas, Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales, Des cerises de Céret pour le président de la République en 1932, 1 June 2014
  12. ^ (in French) Fabricio Cardenas, Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales, Culture du cerisier dans les Pyrénées-Orientales en 1938, 1 June 2015
  13. ^ (in French) Fabricio Cardenas, Vieux papiers des Pyrénées-Orientales, Première corrida avec mise à mort à Céret en 1894, 11 July 2014

External links[edit]