This Catalan city in southern France has big plans aimed at luring tourists.

This Catalan city in southern France has big plans aimed at luring tourists.

City Slicker Perpignan

Alison Culliford offers helpful tips for brand new and visitors that are returning

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Salvador Dali’s claim to possess seen “the Centre of the Universe” at Perpignan station remains one of the artist that is surrealist more bizarre statements, however now it appears like he could are on to something.

This hot, dusty, southern city, never underst d for its dynamism, is in the cusp of the shining future – and also the stop is where all of it begins. By 2014 the brand new cross-border TGV line increasingly being built need cut the journey from Perpignan to Barcelona down from three hours to simply 45 minutes, cementing the partnership involving the two proudly Catalan cities.

The city has been changed – a fresh TGV station to start in 2012, the renovation of this quarter around it, and a second new district beside the River TГЄt, where the Jean Nouvel-designed Théâtre de l’Archipel promises to be a cultural linchpin.

Perpignan has already seen a renovation that is massive for the religious and army history, much of which goes back to the 13th and 14th centuries when it ended up being the continental seat regarding the kings of Mallorca. Ridding the old town centre of its traffic has managed to get a pleasing place to wander by walking.

Perpignan has pledged to become a 100 % energy that is renewable by 2015, oversh ting nationwide objectives. It seems sensible the city gets 220 days of sunlight a year and photovoltaic panels on large commercial entities, for instance the St Charles market (Europe’s largest wholesale fruit and veg market), mean it’s going to make a large amount associated with the power it uses.

You can add to all this a unique and intoxicating mix of Catalan and Romany tradition, a spanish-style scene that is late-night and a party-loving populace that will instead not think way t hard about tomorrow – at the very least whilst the bars are still available.

People-watching from the café terrace on Place de la République. Its car park is now underground and the pastel-coloured façades of this square that is spacious been spruced up. Stick to the sun through the by moving from terrace to terrace day. Additionally hosts a morning produce market.

The cloisters of St Jean funerary ensemble in the Campo Santo, the oldest and biggest in Europe. The modern stained cup by Shirley Jaffe bathes the chapel in color.

The view over the Roussillon simple from Castillet keep, the gate that is main the 14th-century walls. This keep was extended by Louis XI of France, but remains an expression of Catalonia. It houses the Casa Pairal museum of Catalan arts.

Shopping at MarchГ© Cassanyes, at Place Cassanyes, (daily, 7.30am to 1.30pm). The city’s most colourful marketplace is typical for the cultural mix of someplace who has constantly welcomed refugees and immigrants.

Dufys, Picassos additionally the Fauves at the MusГ©e Hyacinthe Rigaud, a fine-art museum in an elegant townhouse. The majority of the musicians attracted to the certain area by its light and colours are represented here.

Paradis Foullis, a restaurant in a shop that is antique at 17 rue de l’Ange, serving do-it-yourself savoury tartes with luxurious ingredients ( such as foie gras). Like a glass of chilled wine and extravagant desserts under a w dland of Art Deco lights.

Théâtre de l’Archipel

Jean Nouvel’s modular arts complex, consists of a few cubes and a huge representation of just one of the garnet pebbles that lie regarding the sleep of the River TГЄt, would be to start year that is next. The ebonyflirt “tower”, in metallic gold, will have views over the river to Mount Canigou. a bridge that is new landscaped, olive-filled gardens conclude this task in the brand new Espace MГ©diterranГ©e quarter.

Details theatredelarchipel

Suitehotel Perpignan

The Suitehotel is so new that its environments continue to be a building site – that of the Théâtre de l’Archipel right d r that is next. But this complex of 50 studio apartments provides everything a nomad that is urban desire spacious r ms with both a shower and a bath, free Wi-Fi through the “Suitebox”, which also offers free phone calls to national landlines, music and video clip, a fitness center, an ironing space and club. There’s also a boutique gourmande, where you are able to purchase ready-meals to pop into your microwave that is own or treats such as for instance mini-boxes of foie gras. There are also free massages on offer from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday evenings. The decor that is contemporary with spaces in s thing slate tones, hits the proper Elle Deco note to feel a hip bachelor pad rather than a company hotel. Introductory prices from €69 (normally €102).

Details Suitehotel, 23 Espace MГ©diterranГ©e (00 33 4 68 92 72 72; suitehotel )

A name that is new a new l k to enable Perpignan’s most gastronomic restaurant – the former Chapon Fin – to celebrate a Michelin star because of its chef Alexandre Klimenko. All is c l and modern right here, using the wine that is temperature-controlled on view and screens diffusing landscape scenes behind the coffee-coloured banquettes. The €55 menu that is four-course a smart way to learn Klimenko’s f d, often referred to as “zen” though distinctly Mediterranean. a extra €20 brings that you various wine with each course.

Details Park Hotel, 18 bd Jean Bourrat (00 33 4 68 35 14 14; parkhotel-fr )

Perpignan’s recently introduced bicycle hire system is easier to use compared to Paris one and much cheaper, if you wish to keep consitently the bicycle for a few hours, though the web site is just in French or Catalan. You may get a Formule LibertГ© for a week by internet or mobile phone and start to see the availability of bikes in realtime on the internet site, in addition to a map of period paths. A Formule LibertГ© costs €1 and it’s really 50c for the first three half-hours, then €1 per half-hour thereafter, which will enable you to get out of the centre of city in the riverside path to Bompas.

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