Perpignan, South of France
Visiting my brother and his partner in Perpignan, this was our first trip to the region so everything was new to us. It is a fascinating town, lots of lovely little alleys, restaurants and shops in the old part near the castle, and a very pleasant walk along the river that runs through the centre of town. We didn’t have time to try out the public transport on this trip, but the train and bus route maps show an extensive system to go further into France or into northern Spain.
There are several hotels near the modern rail station, although the main street leading to the station is a bit run-down. We stayed at Appart-City on B&B basis, quite basic accommodation which you service yourself (putting rubbish out etc) and simple continental breakfast plus (packet) scrambled egg and some form of sausage. However, there are some great restaurants in the town so lots of choice for eating out.
We loved Grand Café de la Bourse in the castle square (2 Place de la Loge, 66000 Perpignan) where we had fillet of beef and French fries on the last evening plus a bottle of local red wine, all for €43.80 so a great deal.
Perpignan airport is very small so easy to go to/from. We had a package with lastminute.com so flights were with Air France. Great airline but you really do not want to go via Paris Charles de Gaulle, go across Paris by Le Bus to change for Paris Orly for internal flight to anywhere in France. You soon lose the will to live – think at least twice as big as Heathrow, finding the bus (which is not too bad as the signs are quite clear and bus staff very helpful) then going around several terminals before it leaves the airport half an hour later. A member of staff actually took us to the front of the queue of thousands waiting to get through passport control otherwise we would not have got our connection. If you have to go this route, allow at least 4-5 hours transfer time on the way there – not so bad on way back as it is easier to get Le Bus at Orly airport. We then found out we could have had a direct flight with Ryanair from Stansted to Perpignan…