Perpignan is located on the Mediterranean at the edge of the Pyrenees, 38 km (24 miles) from the border with Spain. The city is a warren of alleys, palm-shaded squares, and buildings painted in lemon, peach, and tangerine. Perpignan was the capital of the kingdom of Mallorca (Majorca), an ancient Mediterranean power and the Mallorcan kings' palace is still standing at the southern end of town. I park by the more-recent intriguing kidney-bean-shaped Le Grenat (The Garnet) theater (seating 1100) and wander into the older parts of town.
Entrance to old town
Streets of old town
There is a medieval festival today and the old town squares are full of musicians, dancers, and people in medieval outfits. This is a lot of fun, wandering from performance to performance.
I pop into Casa Xanxo, a small museum in a house built in 1507 for a wealthy merchant that now represents one of the finest examples of late medieval architecture in the city.
Casa Xanxo "bourgeois house"
Nearby, the Ancien évêché, the home of the former Bishop of the Diocese of Perpignon, is an 18th-century building now serving as a museum dedicated to the Procession de la Sanch, an annual ceremony held on Good Friday in Perpignan and other French cities. The traditional black robes on display were originally worn while conveying the condemned to their execution and are now worn in silence as the participants walk the processional route.
Museum Ancien évêché
A little further into old town, I find the Église Saint-Jacques de Perpignan, a beautiful church built in 1699 near the market square.
Église Saint-Jacques de Perpignan
Meanwhile, it's time for lunch and I stop for a baguette sandwich to eat while watching the Medieval performances