The streets are alive–finally

The streets of Perpignan were desolate when we first arrived in the last week of June. The sidewalks were nearly empty after dusk and even during the much of the highly anticipated World Cup (where Perpignan’s bordering country of Spain was in the finals), bars where you could watch the matches were relatively quiet.

All that changed in the beginning of July. Slowly during the first week of the month, foot traffic began to pick up and the nationwide soldes for retail stores that the French government regulates began attracting more and more shoppers around the city.

Perpignan Train Station

Tourists and locals exit an afternoon train at the Perpignan train station.

Today, as I ate at a restaurant across the street from the train station, hordes of people exited the platforms and wandered onto the streets. Backpackers from various locations across Europe, as well as France, entered the restaurant and I watched as the French phrase books were whipped out in efforts to order the correct item off of the menu.

This was the month our Perpignan tour guide and my Lonely Planet guidebook warned me about. Tourists are now flocking to the South of France as the temperatures rise and retail prices drop. Now is the time to be in Perpignan.

As I watched some German girls’ failed attempt to order in this restaurant clearly filled with tourists and eyed more people exiting the train station, thoughts of a lively Perpignan nightlife put a smile on my face.