In the south of Languedoc a taste prevailed for churches comprising huge naves without side aisles—in fact, immense halls. At Carcassonne such is the type; but there, in the two churches in the New Town, the effect is unsatisfactory, as the chancels, or apses, bud out of the fiat east wall in an ungainly manner. Here in Perpignan we have the hall interior, but leading up to and ending in an apse of the full width of the nave.
On the south side of the church is a chapel with a highly favoured crucifix in it, and Pope Leo XIII accorded plenary indulgence with remission of all sins to such as should worship before it and pray for the extermination of heresies, i.e. heretics on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
The other churches of S. Mathieu and La Real deserve a visit. Built on the same lines as the cathedral, they have been sadly spoiled by tasteless additions in the Barroque period. Over the high altar at La Réal, as in a side chapel at S. Mathieu, are groups of coloured statuary, on which light is also made to fall from above; and as the churches are profoundly dark, this is in its way effective.
The ancient Palais de Justice, much purer in style than the Loge, adjoins it, separated from it only by the old house of the consuls, now the Hôtel de Ville. The old Palais has beautiful windows, with trefoil heads cut in the block, unmoulded, supported by dainty columns. But the most strikingly picturesque edifice of Perpignan is the Castelet, erected between 1367 and 1369, with the town gate of Notre Dame (1481) at one side of it, all constructed of tiles like the cathedral. The bold projecting machicolations, and the octagonal turret surmounted by a small cupola, have a pronounced Spanish character.
When one passes out of the Porte Notre Dame the Prome-