Le Perthus is one of those strange border towns that are fascinating for border enthuiasts. The border is well established stemming from the Treaty of the Pyrennes 1659. The French town and its Spanish counterpart are divided right down the middle, well actually to the right of the main street with the border being on on the pavement. To the right are all the main shops, situated in Spain and therefore benefiting from lower taxation on tobacco and alchohol and attracting lots of visitors. To the south of the town is the customs and passport control, situated entirely in Spain. At the time of my visit French police were undertaking routine checks – standing entitrely in Spain. The border is also characterised by grand border markers which seem to get in the way of the locals with only me showing any interest.
The border goes through and is marked by 4 large border markers, there was a 5th BM 574 bis which was a metal plate in the tarmac. Its location is clearly indentifiable but it has disappeared. Eef Berns took photos of this marker up to 2012 but on his visit in 2019 the marker had gone. His photos are available here.
The border from BM 575 goes north and is marked in parts by a blue stripped line on the pavement. As one walks up the street a simple step in either direction can take you across the border and into another country.
The town was packed with shoppers out for a bargain.
Date of Visit: 02.08.2020