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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 – Perpinyà 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.
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.
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 café. We returned for many years as friends until the owner died and the café 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.