Being the “second city” is something that we are very familiar with in Chicago. And even though Perpignan is the second destination of our quest, it is no more of a second city to Paris than Chicago is to New York. Much like Chicago, Perpignan offers a more laid back pace, walkable neighborhoods and down-to-earth people. Luckily for us, the weather also happens to be fantastic, with plentiful sunshine and warm temps. The summer is off to a great start and as long as we can avoid les coups de soleil, the deuxième partie of our adventure will be formidable!
During our first weekend in Perpignan, we were lucky enough to find that a 10k was being run throughout the city. We knew our experience here would be very different from Paris while visiting the race expo. The race officials were so excited to have two Americans running their race that they took our picture for their website! Here we pose in front of the Castillet, Perpignan's medieval prison and one of its most notable monuments.
The race was the perfect way to get reacquainted with the city. Marc's aunt, Monique, came to watch us for her first ever race — it was wonderful seeing a friendly face in the crowd!
L'arrivée! On this hot, sunny morning, even after only 6 miles, we were ready to cross the finish line!
It was just 3 short years ago that we got married at a vineyard just outside of Perpignan. For our anniversary, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant where we had dinner with our friends and family the night before the wedding, Le Bistro Saint Jean.
The food and wine were just as good as we remembered, and it was the perfect setting to bring back all of the wonderful memories from that special day.
Malheurusement, it was too chilly that evening to enjoy sitting on the terrasse. The less-than-perfect weather was another funny reminder of our wedding. Even though Perpignan is the sunniest city in France, we had rain and extreme winds during the weekend of our wedding. Luckily, since we have more time here during this visit, we can wait for better weather and enjoy the terrasse on another day.
Although we have missed being in Chicago to see the Cubs, we are doing our best to become locals, which includes taking interest in French sports. Perpignan not only has a rugby team, but their team played in the French championship. Mel portes her Catalan colors, red and yellow, while watching the match on the outdoor screen en centre ville. C'était fantastique!
Even though Perpignan's team did not win the match, they won in our book for having the most enthusiastic fans! How about this Catalan viking?!
For those who have never had the good-fortune to visit Perpignan, it is ideally situated in a valley of the Pyrénée Mountains, just 10 kilometres from the sea. Marc and his aunt Monique enjoy our first afternoon at the beach together.
A beautiful view of the harbor with the mountains in the background were the perfect setting for lunch.
With the sea breeze in her hair, Mel is très heureuse to be at the beach.
Monique also took us for a visit to the mountains. At the Col de Jau, we went for a hike where we found this spectaculaire cascade.
Here you can see the snow-capped Canigou in the background. The views never ceased to take our breathe away!
Baguette sandwiches are the perfect picnic treat after a très bonne randonée!
We also visited Câmpome, the small mountain town where Marc's grandparents were from. Sammy enjoyed sniffing the mountain air during her walk around town, and needless to say, the views are amazing in every direction!
This picture seemed to sum up our first weeks here perfectly. We feel like this trio of cats – amazed to be sitting in such a fantastic setting, content to take the days as they come and happy to finally feel like we are home.