Vive Perpignan

So you want to take a trip to the South of France? What city do you want to visit? Nice? Monaco? Cannes? When people think of visiting the south of France these are some of the first cities that come to mind, but never Perpignan. With Perpignan's many historical buildings, shopping options and close proximity to many beaches this is somewhat surprising. This small city has big things to offer any vacationer but its grandeur remains unknown. Perpignan has been treated as a pit stop when visiting cities considered more exciting. However, the tourism office is working to change that.

Perpignan is trying to promote tourism through the promotion of museums, landmarks, festivals and cultural and historical shows. One show that the tourism office has organized is a theatrical tour of the city performed by the Gerard Gerard Theatre Company. The spectacle begins at the Castillet, one of the city's historical landmarks, and takes the audience throughout the city center, teaching them historical facts about Perpignan, using dramatics and comedy to tell the city's story. Gerard Gerard's performance is possibly one of the most exciting and interesting history lessons to date. As a person who struggles to understand French, I was able to remain engrossed by the actor's performances. The group uses comedy to tell the story of Perpignan, while keeping the audience on their toes. If you are unable to catch the Gerard Gerard show, there are many other guided tours sponsored by the tourism office such as a history walk and a treasure hunt.

Once you finish your tour there are many more things left for you to do in Perpignan. You can visit the town's market where you can buy fresh produce daily, shop at the large shopping in the city center, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many authentic French cafés or have a raving good time at one of the town's many summer festivals. While it may be too soon to determine if the tourism office's promotion of the city has increased tourism, one could say that Perpignan offers quality tourism.

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About the Program

Fifteen college students came from North America to Perpignan, France, in June 2011 to produce these videos and stories. To find out more, read a welcome letter from program director Rachele Kanigel, meet the program faculty and explore the 2010 website.