Yesterday, we spent the day walking around Perpignan. Each time we go there, I am reminded of why I love it so much. The small city has such a vibrant esprit, and the old historic center, especially, is just loaded with charming buildings, shops, squares and places to eat, drink, or simply pass the time in revery.
A river runs through it ~
The River Basse runs right through the center of town, and is planted with flower beds, shrubs and trees along both banks.
Such interesting architectural details ~
Everywhere you look, there are amazing facades – from the Middle Ages, through the Renaissance, and including more recent building styles.
Above: A Medieval home addition. Below: Looking up at the painted eves of a Medieval home, as the second story juts out, just above street level
…and these lovely pedestrian street surfaces, made of local marble and stone, are everywhere:
Glorious, colorful facades ~
The colors of these homes and shops are luscious…and as warm as the lively people who inhabit them. Most of the pigments actually come from the local hillsides (yellow, red & other ochres), which give this area its name – Roussillon (as in rusty red).
Greenery is everywhere ~
La Place de la République ~
Loaded with outdoor cafés and shops, this place is also the scene of a very lively market. It’s fun to sit at a café and observe the goings-on of the market. Shoppers chatting with vegetable sellers, people who know each other exchanging kisses and catching up on gossip – it can be loud and sometimes humorous.
Narrow streets & alleyways ~
It’s such fun to wander around the narrow alleys that meander off from and around the Place de la République and other Places nearby. Chic shops stand shoulder to shoulder with hip outdoor cafés, whose tables and chairs crowd the passageways, and with vendors selling everything from spices to espadrilles, smoked garlic to straw bags, and so much more. As you navigate your way between tables and stalls, sounds of coffee cups and wine glasses clinking together mingle with laughter, some serious discussion, and shop owners, hoping to entice you inside by announcing their deals of the day.
Catalan food specialties
I love the trompe-l’œil panels outside this little café.
…As well as tiny courtyard refuges ~
This little courtyard is home to two different coffeehouse cafés, as well as the entrance to a lawyer’s and a dentist’s office at the far end.
And presiding over it all ~
…is of course, the Catalan flag. Yes, this is France, but Perpignan’s heritage is Catalan, and that history infuses so much of the food, the language and the attitude of the town. This is an absolutely charming spot to visit and we’re looking forward to another visit soon!