Mind your step – Perpignan’s ick factor

Dogs in Perpignan

Dog poop is frequently spotted on Perpignan's sidewalks, indicating dog owners prefer to leave the doggy bags at home.

Call it poop, dung, excrement or crap – no matter which way you put it, it’s not nice to look at, its odor is undesirable and it’s certainly no friend of mine.

At first glance, Perpignan is a quant small city characterized by narrow cobblestone roads,  pastel-colored buildings and  statues designed  by famous artists like Artistide Maillol. But don’t look up at those statues for too long; you’re liable to regret your next step.

The French word for these dog droppings is crottes de chien or merde (shit), which is more commonly used.

The first day I walked down the street in Perpignan I was greeted by a nice fresh dump on the sidewalk, about half a block from my hotel, Citea.  I really could have done without the unpleasant “eau  de poopoo” preying on my nostrils.

I remember thinking, “Lpvely” (sarcasm intended). But I hadn’t expected to see – and smell — as much of  it as I have. It would be safe to say I see at least three giant poops per-day (on average.)

It turns out  Perpignan residents aren’t fond of cleaning up after their pets. Locals find it just as disgusting as the tourists, according to my French language teacher, Laurence Roussel.

Perpignan's ick factor
There are poop bag stands scattered around town, and if you’re lucky you’ll find a designated “poop spot,” almost like a large litter box. But according to Florence Delseny-Sobra, founder of the ALFMED language school where I’m studying, no one really uses those either.

Are “Poopignan’s” inhabitants too good to clean up after their pets, or do they just not care? Whatever the reason, I’m completely dumbfounded by this eyesore.

This city is overflowing with character, natural beauty, quaint boutiques, artistic masterpieces and then – I’ll just say it – a whole lot of shit.  So far, my shoes have remained poop-free. I can tell by the condition of certain leftovers that others haven’t been so lucky.