Perpignan, the first city we stayed at in France. We really fell in love with this quaint, laid-back city of only 118,000 people. We arrived in the early evening, later than planned, due to we think a landslide on the train track. This caused the train ride to turn into a train/bus ride so we had a little adventure. We were greeted by our host who told us that the local market closed in half an hour so if we wanted some wine for the evening we better go quickly – we did and not to our surprise, it was about a 3 minute walk and the selection was great. We were also hungry so our host recommended a good and cheap Indian restaurant just around the corner from our apartment in the other direction we went for wine. Again, 3 minute walk to a little plaza with trees surrounded by some cafes, bars and restaurants, including our Indian restaurant where Nancy and I had the best chicken tikka masala and rice we had ever tasted! The night was warm so we sat outside just watching the activity of the tiny plaza as people strolled about and interacted with one another.
On our first day we went to the closest larger plaza where there was a farmer’s market. We walked up and down the aisles of the vendors admiring all the fresh produce, local meats, cheeses and wines. We scored a nice little supply of fresh goods including organic vegetables, artisanal cheese and wine, eggs and an extremely delicious little leek quiche that we shared when we got back to our new temporary home.
Our studio apartment was in a “working class” neighborhood with adults and children constantly on the go. It was definitely a little on the noisier side as all the apartment buildings were close together, side by side and across – it was all part of the experience. I particularly enjoyed pulling the wood shutters closed before going to bed each night.
Over the 3 days we were in Perpignan, we meandered all through the main, inner city which was very easy to navigate, lots of fun little shops and plenty of food fare to choose from. We went into a very old cathedral and took in all the ornate beauty that was all around us – there was even a large pipe organ in this cathedral and was being played while we were there, the acoustics were amazing! It was both enjoyable and unnerving at the same time the way churches can seem…for us at least.
There was a lovely water canal running the outer length of the city that was lined with trees and buildings, it created a nice walking atmosphere up and down each side as we took in all the sights. The only “bad” thing we can say about our time in Perpignan was that people did not pick up after their dogs consistently so you need to make sure you are looking down for poop as you are looking up at all the good stuff! The temperature while in Perpignan was pretty much at 73/74 F, very comfortable for the beginning of October compared to back home this time of year.
One day we took the bus to Collioure, a beautiful vacation town about 25 miles from Perpignan. We had gone to the office of tourism the day before to learn which bus to take there and we did it with no problem. It was a very enjoyable ride in a comfortable, large bus that allowed us to relax and enjoy some different surrounding scenery – the bus cost only 1 Euro apiece each way!
Here are some photos to enjoy showcasing our time in Perpignan.