“Henri Matisse and Andre Derain were both passionate about Collioure. The colour in their paintings danced off the walls, sparkled on the sea, hung on the white sails of the Catalan barques, glistened on the fish scales clinging to the black clothing of the women mending the nets. The two artists captured it all on their canvases. Blue/green, rose/pink, reds, deep blues, violets, they painted from their very souls.“
Art revolution in the Roussillon, Jane Mann and Brian Cotton
I came to Collioure one early November and stayed until April and in that time I have been totally seduced by this lovely place. Every season has it’s own unique quality….there is beauty at any time of year here. The light is extraordinary and really needs experiencing for yourself… It is hugely understandable that so many Artists’ came and still are, drawn to this place.
Collioure has four lovely beaches, three of which are sheltered and safe for swimming. There are numerous excellent restaurants some staying open throughout the year. You can always be certain of a meal. Bars and cafes are in abundance as are every shop you could possibly need. There is always a butcher and bakers open and also a Carrefour supermarket near the market square.
There are two lively markets on Sunday and Wednesday morning where you can sample Catalan pastries, hot meats, oven baked pizza; or sit on the wall and eat oysters washed down with glass or two of excellent locally produced wine.
Transport couldn’t be simpler. There is a train station, an amazingly cheap bus service and private taxi services that can take you to places further afield or to airports.
Collioure is part of French/Spanish Catalonia known as the Pyrénées-Orientales region. The town was a fishing port and a large anchovy industry thrived alongside it. The anchovies were prized as the best in France. This has gradually given way to tourism but fresh fish and seafood are still readily available.
There is a record of a castle having been mentioned as early as 673 AD, indicating that the settlement here was of strategic and commercial importance. This is still in evidence as the old fortifications form a large part of the town.
Colliure has good transport links to the surrounding wonderful countryside. There are mountains in the distance that offer exhilarating walks as well as harbouring delightful villages. Spain is not far away and it is well worth a visit to the area known as Castello d’Empuuries with its ancient ruins and fabulous restaurants. Enjoy…!