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Apr 06

Perpignan, a City of Festivals

“The town is alive – there’s always something going on,” Carl, our host in Perpignan, had told us when he took us for a coffee shortly after we arrived. “I’ll hear a trumpet and drums from my window and I’ll stick my head out and there’ll be a band and crowd moving down the street, so I’ll just go and follow them,” he said.

Which is exactly what he did the next day and why we followed him when he phoned to tell us there were costumed dancers and drummers in the streets, and they were headed for the Place de la République, Perpignan’s main square.

We had noticed guys setting up a stage for some kind of concert when we were on the Place that morning, but we had assumed it might have been associated with the Good Friday Procession de la Sanch, one of the main reasons for our trip to Perpignan. It wasn’t.

Instead, the Place was a riot of colour and sound courtesy of an eco-themed fête to celebrate France’s national sustainable development week or Semaine du Développement Durable. Families, groups of children, dance and theatre troupes, jazz bands, performance artists, jugglers and fire-eaters, filled the square.

Kids wore homemade costumes created from recycled materials, their parents and the good citizens of Perpignan wore green sun hats, and there were plenty of eco-friendly products on display, and organic treats to try.

Perpignan, a city of festivals, is famous for its non-stop calendar of festivals, concerts and events held throughout the warmer months, especially in summer when events are geared toward the holiday crowds.

The most popular is Le Festival d’Été de Perpignan or the Summer Festival of Perpignan, which has a jam-packed programme of dance, music, theatre and film, and is held throughout most of July. Perpignan also hosts a highly regarded International Festival of Photojournalism, Visa Pour L’Image, held from August through September.

This, we’re guessing, was very different to the festivals for which the Catalan city is famous. This little fête was very much a family-oriented, community-driven event and there was something so endearingly local about the performances, the handmade costumes, the hastily put-together displays, as well as the laidback atmosphere. See for yourself.

10 comments

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  1. Carl

    OK. By FAR these images are my favourite. FINALLY someone has taken some images of Perpignan that really capture the character of the people. I like all the others however there is something to be said for people shots. I am absolutely thrilled to have met you.
    You have to admit. What you have achieved in 2 days here is amazing. To organise this with a crew and then put it together is very difficult. You are to be congratulated. This is a very professional portrayal of Perpignan, where you have offered affordable vacation possibilities. WELL DONE! And all in just a few short days. And only two people. How do you do it?
    A huge thank you on behalf of all those who will benefit from your efforts and enjoy your personal point of view. Sharing your images and travel experiences enriches us all.

  2. Lara Dunston

    Hello Carl

    Thank you so much for your comments – truly appreciated!

    We’re thrilled to get such feedback – especially from a *local*!

    It was an absolute delight to have met you, too, and to have had such a fantastic introduction and insight into Perpignan. Really! x

  3. Gary Bostock

    I visited Perpignan along with hudreds of other supporters of Rugby League since the local team became part of “Super League”. I cannot begin to thank enough the friendly local bars, cafes and hotels who along with the supporters of the “Dragons” have made everyone welcome to this vibrant and exciting town.
    Merci Beaucoup.

    1. Lara Dunston

      That must have been some experience! We went to a game in little Ceret and it was lively to say the least! Would love to see a bigger match. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Doni

    This Friday, June 11, 2010 I’m going to Perpignan for a product training. Can not wait to be there after looking at your site’s photos…..

    1. Lara Dunston

      Thanks, Doni! I hope you enjoyed Perpignan!

  5. Carl at Myperpignan

    Hi Lara and Terry. Any chance we can get you back to Perpignan in the coming year?
    It would be great to see you both again. Oh Look! It’s cheese and wine time. Warmest Regards to you both. Carl

    1. Terence Carter

      Hey Carl. We’re not sure what we’re up to next year. We’d love to come back – we have so many places left to sample there! It’s time for us hit the streets of Rio and have a caipirinha!

  6. Carl

    Hey L & T. Perpignan misses you. We do have to be kind and share your
    Talents with the rest of the Globe. We have been following your journey. Have fun in Rio. FYI we produced a Christmas in Perpignan video you can view at our site. Yes. Another Perpignan Festival. Warmest Regards to you both. Carl

  7. Megan

    Wonderful photos and great article. Perpignan is definitely on my to-do list for next time I’m in Europe!

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