Perpignan the French city with a Catalan heart

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY :

Paris & France – Travel now

Perpignan is a mere thirty kilometres form the Spanish border, a city of Art and History, retaining from its past as the former capital of the kingdom of Majorca an interesting historic centre of harmonious mainly Gothic style architecture.

It is a French city but please don’t say that too loudly when you visit this endlessly fascinating city. The locals will profoundly disagree as proclaim that this is a Catalonian city with its roots firmly in that culture. I always try to use its Catalan name – PerpinyΓ  when speaking to residents here.

I love this place. The food and wine of course but a people that are so lively and vibrant, very much in tune with the past but revelling in the city they call home. This comes over in colourful form on the regular nights where the dancing is held in the squares. In fact Perpignan was elected ‘Capital de la Sardana 2019’ and displays the official dance of Catalonia elevated to the rank of an art form.

It is a centre for the use of garnets in jewellery and in the many fine shops you will find some splendid pieces. Perpignan is a great place to shop and seems to get better every year.

Old part of town in Perpignan

The streets of Perpignan repay your exploring them and the architecture is a photographers delight. I did get into trouble by suggesting that some of the winding streets in the Old town seemed ‘edgy’ and perhaps to be avoided alone at night. A local resident took exception to that suggestion, declaring the city totally safe. I have to agree that I have never had a problem in Perpignan. I do though stand by impression but do take a stroll around the streets away from the centre. Having said this in my book I have to admit that I would never walk around my home town of Blackburn at night – I will probably get in trouble for saying that.

View over to the Pyrenees from Palace of the Kings Perpignan France
The Castillet in the centre of Perpignan
Old shopfront of a watchmakers in Perpignan France
Sheltered shady courtyard in Perpignan France
Perpignan cafe by night

My first book ‘First Time we saw Paris’ tells the story of how we found a love of France. It all started in Perpignan when we found a magical, perfect French cafΓ©. We returned for many years as friends until the owner died and the cafΓ© closed We never looked back and our years of French exploration began. Please enjoy my books – I hope to inspire you to visit when we can all return once again.

Published by Neal Atherton

My passion is writing about travel and particularly French travel. I have traveled extensively in France and wine and food has always featured on my travels and now in my books. My friends always await our return from France with the latest new finds from the vineyards and I was more than happy to keep sampling. I am from Lancashire in the north of England but have now relocated to Somerset (nearer to France) and able to enjoy devoting my time to writing and new discoveries. France came late to me as a destination, in fact so conservative was my travel upbringing that it was a long time before I even ventured to Cornwall. I have more than made up for the slow start and have enjoyed helping many others with their travel plans to France and especially to Paris and Provence. I have written a series of four books on France - Three are now on Amazon:THE FIRST TIME WE SAW PARIS about our first steps in French Travel, THYME FOR PROVENCE our discovery of that glorious region and the people and places we met and discovered, A DREAM OF PARIS a personal memoir of our times in Paris with friends. France has been fun, we have been burgled on our very first arrival, we discovered the best cafe that changed our travel lives on the very next day, we learnt about French wine, we escaped from the most horrendous gite, we found the best of gites, B & B's and people, we laughed and cried with dear friends in Paris, I was hosed down by a crazy owner to cool me down in Provence, our breakfast in a remote village was served by the French army, we stepped totally out of our comfort zone and discovered the best of French culture. The experiences are varied and many and please come with me as I retell the stories and my footsteps are there to follow. I am also writing about ancestry and genealogy and my first book about our incredible family story themed around war and the military is now on Amazon - A BULLET FOR LIFE. I love the English game of cricket, golf, soccer, photography, walking and cooking. Oh, and travel of course.

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