Collioure in Pyrénées-Orientales is a pretty little town nestled in a picturesque cove on the Cote Vermeille, a stone’s throw from the Spanish border. It has been the subject of international squabbles on number of occasions between the French and the Spanish.
17th Century Fort Miradou to the north is still used by the military:
Indeed, whilst we were visiting, army manoeuvres were evident as a speed boat sped across from the fort to the beach and disgorged a number of soldiers, in full military regalia complete with guns, giving opportunity for the tourist to snap away with their cameras.
In the early 1900’s a group of painters known as ‘Les Fauves’ and who included Matisse and Derain, made Collioure their summer base. Follow the ‘Chemin du Fauvisme’ around the town, a trail of 20 reproductions of paintings by Matisse and Derain placed on sites where they were painted. Fauvism being a style of modern art using bold colours and simplified drawing with expressive, bold brushwork.
For those whose interests are more of a culinary inclination, an open market is held in Place du General LeClerc (Wednesday and Sunday mornings at time of writing).
There are many restaurants, some overlooking the sea, where you can linger over lunch of freshly caught fish and in particular, Collioure’s speciality, Anchovies. The lanes also have boutiques offering everything from clothes to brightly coloured gifts and souvenirs to take home.
A word of warning. This town is very popular particularly in the height of the season. There is a large car park within easy walking distance, however, it does tend to get filled up quickly, so you are advised to visit early. Especially if you want to be sure to get a table at 12.00 in one of the many enticing restaurants.