When you are in Catalunya, Perpignan is probably the closest French city after crossing the Pyrenees. That’s why we decided to do a daytrip to Perpignan during our stay in Barcelona. After a couple hours driving through the mountains, you arrive at a little Southern city which still has some marks of the neighboring Catalunya.
A historic provincial French town
The history of Perpignan is far more prestigious than one would think. In the XIIIth century, Perpignan was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca, created by the sovereign of Aragon for one of his children. This “golden age” for Perpignan saw it reach its peak in terms of importance, with its population and geographical extension expanding fourfold.
After the black pest decimated the city around 1346 AD, the city never truly regained its past importance. It became instead the frontline of the confrontation between France and Spain on XVth century until it was annexed by France, two centuries later. In the XIXth century, the great military defensive works that protected Perpignan, erected by the French military architect Vauban, were destroyed by the municipality to allow for the expansion of the city. Only some old parts of the ramparts as well as the Castillet (featured above) serve as reminders of the past military importance of this city.
Perpignan conserved some very photogenic outdoors, which are excellent backdrops for portraits.
The city is very nicely decorated and lovely to walk through, as the historic center just spans a very small distance.
This plane trees avenue with its tormented branches provides a great atmospheric feeling, almost haunting. It is also a great backdrop to shoot portraits.
Shopping in Perpignan?
If you go there during the winter sales period, you may find some bargains to be had on clothes or housewares. Sadly, books are seldom if ever on sale. As far as gadgets are concerned, for someone living in Hong Kong, it just does not make sense to go and buy them from the FNAC.
In conclusion, if you are in Barcelona, and if you are self-driven, it might be worth taking a daytrip to Perpignan to see part of the old historic Catalan territory.