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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Great Trips: Colorful Collioure, France

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I promised you a few more pictures of my wonderful trip to France’s Ruby Coast. We stayed at a wonderful apartment in Collioure, a town so beautiful that it inspired artists like Matisse and Derain to be incredibly prolific when they summered there, and inspired them to create Fauvism. The area continues to inspire artists, who flock there and sell their work in the many galleries and on the streets.

The town is on the Mediterranean Sea and has the usual history of being visited by the Greeks and Romans and having a fort and all that good crazy Euro seaside stuff. This is the Eglise Notre Dame des Anges and you can see it in many paintings, like this Matisse:

There are reproductions of paintings by famous artists right at the vistas that inspired them so many years ago all over the village.

One of the most fun things about this village are unexpected architectural details like this ceramic drainpipe …

… colorful pot attached to a wall …

… and amazing hand-painted ceramic tile details.

You can see here how the amazing colors of this town have always inspired artists.

Also colorful are the locals. One of the coolest things about Collioure is that American visitors are a rarity, so the locals were friendly and somewhat fascinated by us. This street musician sat right down, serenaded us with his friends, then looked into his bag of tricks and gave us each crazy instruments like thumb cymbals so we could join in the music making.

When my friend Heather needed a screwdriver, she popped into a bar (a bar where Picasso used to hang out) and asked if there was somewhere to buy one. One of the patrons ran home to apartment and gave her one to borrow.

A gallery announces itself with bright mosaic pots, petunias and a painted door. While you can drive into the village, most of its narrow streets are pedestrian only.

You can walk the rocky coast along this amazing path.

One end of the bay is the perfect spot for a hotel.

One of the most amazing things about this village is that its a microclimate. Tropical plants thrive, yet you can see the snow-covered mountains of the Pyrenees off in the distance beyond the palm trees. The hillsides leading down to the village are vineyards, best known for Banyuls, a sweet wine.

Collioure is about a 2 hour drive from the Barcelona airport on the highway, about 2.5 to three hours if you opt for the incredible coastline route for the last half of the trip. We visited in late April and while it was windy and we weren’t inspired to jump in the ocean, there were very few crowds. I hear that in the summer it can get more crowded than Edgartown, so I recommend going in the just-off season. Also, prices are lower then. If you have any more questions about a visit, please ask them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to find out the answers for you.

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