OK, so you probably didn’t know that the Center of the World is in Perpignan, Neither did anyone else until some bright young bureaucrat uncovered a quote from Salvador Dali declaring exactly that. Now Dali was known to be a bit self-absorbed and so what was actually a station to change trains on his way from his home in Figueres, Spain to Paris, became for him the center of the world, maybe only when he was there, but, nevertheless, his words have been adopted by the city of Perpignan and a simple station has achieved this monumental status.
But really the best thing about the center of the world is that it has parking and is only a block away from a restaurant I think is one of the best in the world, Garriane.
Lunch today was a sauté of mushrooms flavored with cinnamon, a beautifully pink magret de canard with roasted vegetables, a small salad, a bottle of wine and a coffee, all of which amounted to about €35. Maybe Dali was on to something.
Coming back from Perpignan, you can see the Pic de Bugarach in the distance and realize that Maury is about halfway between the center and the end of the world. I reported earlier that the mayor of Bugarach had called off the end trying to get rid of the t-shirt vendors. It didn’t work; the crazies kept coming, believing that the spaceship garaged within the mountain would carry them to safety (exact destination unknown.)
The BBC reports a French parliamentary committee has expressed genuine concern about suicide cults and Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor of Bugarach says groups of strangers dressed in white are scaring the residents. No one has yet been able to explain why anyone would travel to the only place on earth that will survive a holocaust in order to commit suicide.
The French, of course, will not pass up an opportunity to profit: locals are offering spare rooms at Ritz-Carlton prices and selling souvenir rocks and clumps of dirt. Jean Pla, the ever-optimistic wine entrepreneur is selling his “End of the World” cuvee, while bottling the next vintage: “Survival Cuvee.” The village of Maury has rechristened its annual Marché de Noel, to be known this year as the Marché des Survivants.
As for me, I’m booking a table at Garriane for lunch on the 21st. Celebration or farewell, either way I know I’ll eat well.