Do we really need more “grandes surfaces” (out of town shopping malls) in the P.O? I ask after watching with disinterest the completion of yet another “shopping experience” by the side of the Route Nationale at Pollestres.

by Henry Shaftoe

An unfortunate but inevitable by-product of the growth of these “grandes surfaces”, is the reduction of trade for retailers in Perpignan.

Many independent retailers have rolled down their shutters for the last time, but others have bucked the trend and remain open. I find these “little independents” a joy to behold – they add colour and vitality to the street scene as well as offering a more personal retail service.

Want a pair of slippers? Go to M. Pantoufle. A hat? Try Mme Chapellerie, both on rue Mailly. Love; fresh roasted coffee beans? Visit M. le Torrefacteur on Rue des Augustins.

rue Mailly chapeaux, Perpignan

rue Mailly, Perpignan

rue des Augustins café Perpignan

And the jewel in the crown must be, with a name almost as long as the tiny street itself: rue Adjutant Pilote Paratilla. This short pedestrianised thoroughfare, off Place des Poilus, has a selection of wonderful open fronted ‘epiceries’ and ‘poissoneries’.

rue Paratilla, Perpignan

And it’s not just for whimsical nostalgic reasons that I believe we should support these little local shops – there is a strong economic argument too because the owners tend to live locally, so their profits are more likely to be spent locally, helping to support other local retailers and services. I don’t know how long these little independents will survive – I guess it will depend on how much support and custom you and I offer them…


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