Today is Stage 5 of the Tour de France, and the official TdF website dedicates Stage 5 – Le Cap d’Agde to Perpignan stage –
to Salvador Dali, who called the Perpignan railway station the “cosmogonic centre of the universe”. The icon of surrealism, who was touched by a form of fascination for the spectacle of cycling, created the 1959 Tour’s postcard. If his influence inspires the pack in the Corbières or along the seaside, anything will be possible.
(By the way, I was going to link to the Perpignan, France, website, but it is only offered in Catalan, French, and Spanish. I find it strangely liberating that it is not offered in English! Sometimes it’s refreshing to be an afterthought.)
I’m still remiss that on a trip to Barcelona a few years ago, I chose the short straw and grudgingly followed my group up terrifying switchbacks to a monastery in the wilds of Spain (where someone in our party got lost and so we remained hot, sweating, and tired on the top of a mountain for two agonizing hours longer than necessary, sandwiched among throngs of other tourists who seemed to be no happier than we were to be there) rather than heading north to Dali’s hometown of Figueres where Dali created his Dalí Theatre and Museum.
Dali’s love of theatrics and “go big or go home” is evident in the actual structure of the museum. It not only claims to be the largest surrealistic object in the world, but the museum was conceived and built by Dali on the ruins of the 19th century Municipal Theatre, which was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. One unique curatorial twist that the museum offers is “Dali at Night” which takes place in August and is in its 18th year. Between 10 pm and 1 am each night, visitors can drink cava (brought to you by Castella Peralada — a gorgeous vineyard) on one of the inner terraces and watch a slideshow of his works.
If I were at the tour, I may have popped a lawnchair in Figueres with a bottle of cava and in my complete bliss, forgotten entirely about the paleton and its riders.