Did you decide which beache to pick? Its not easy because they are all good and interesting. Both sandy and pebbled beaches provide tourists with a relaxed time and good swiming opportunities in the carm sea. One can easily forget the passing time.
It is hard to resist painting this scene. There are metal frames all over Collioure that frame views famous artists have painted. I am not the only one enchanted by this lovely little seaside village.
When you come, bring your paints or your camera and plan to spend some quality time relaxing and enjoying the town and the area.
Le Chemin du Fauvisme is the Path of Fauvism that you can follow and if you don't paint, this may be the next best thing. You can take photos through the metal frames set up to show a painting site and then compare your photo to the famous painting.
On a very hot day we truly enjoyed walking through the earthen tunnel entrance to the chateau. It was delightfully cool there. On the ramparts, there was a lovely breeze. The chateau is interesting and if you aren't in the water at the beach below, the chateau is a good place to cool off on a hot day.
Summer Hours: July & August open from 10 AM until 7 PM
Winter Hours: 9 AM until 5 PM
Closed Jan. 1, May 1, August 15 and 16 and December 25
A ceramic plaque bearing the words of the final verse of one of Machado's poems rests on his grave. The same verse can be seen on the base of a small sculpture of a plaintive figure that stands looking out to sea on the grass beside the childrens playground on Rue de la Democratie next to the entrance to the Chateau carpark.
The words sound like an epitaph and in my imperfect translation read:-
"And when the day for the last journey comes,
and the ship of no return is ready to set sail,
you will find me on board, travelling light,
practically naked, like the children of the sea."
If you are interested in Literary Trails you can see another episode in Machado's sad earlier life on my Soria page.
A walk around the quiet lanes above the town, a little way from the alleyways with shops and artist's galleries, makes a pleasant afternoon activity.
The beautifully painted cottages and occasional glimpses of the harbour or surrounding countryside provide some of the most picturesque views of Collioure
Antonio Machado, the Spanish poet, sought refuge from the Civil War, in which he was a supporter of the Republic, in Collioure.
Now regarded as one of Spain's greatest poets of the 20th century his work has not been well known outside Spain because of the few available translations of his work.
In Collioure where he is buried his life is remembered and commerated in the naming of a street, the marking of the house in which he lived out the last days of his life and where he died aged 64 in 1939, and in other tributes in the town.
His grave can be found in the old cemetery in the centre of the village and is one of the first simple graves to be seen as you enter.
You will need comfortable/sensible footwear to see the best of old Collioure when you take to the streets - narrow, gently ascending, stepped alley ways.
It is one of the most photogenic of villages with a photo along every step of the way.
On a walk like this you will soon find the best bakers, butchers, grocers, vintners and restaurants as well as lots of small clothing shops, artists' studios and souvenir shops.
Take the guided tour of “les chemins du fauvisme” and look back on the works of Matisse and Derain when they resided in Collioure.
The small office on the quay provides details of guided walking tours ( at a modest cost) and also a map for self guided tours.
These enable you to view through the "eyes of picture frames" scenes depicted by the artists who established the Fauvist School and made Collioure famous as a centre of artistic creativity and development.
The staff in the office are most helpful and can advise on other current events and exhibitions of artistic interest in the area.
There are two central beaches in Collioure, one on either side of the church and breakwater. The one on the chateau side has several sidewalk cafes adjacent and there are artists painting while you watch. You'll see colorful fishing boats and perhaps a schooner sailing into or out of the harbor.
photos from our trip here.
the old church, the chateau, the alleyways of artist studios, the sea side and beach area.
a great place for a day visit.
About 2 hours drive up the coast from Tossa on the A-7 is the French border and the seaside artist colony of Collioure in the Port-Vendres area. We arrived after a nerve-wrecking drive along the Pyrenees Mountains, where we battled a multitude of trucks and Audis going 90+ miles, but we discovered the challenge well worth it. We parked 2 miles out of town to avoid the congestion and immediately felt at ease – back in a French village. I think we discovered on this trip that we are officially Francophiles because so many of our most treasured times are in little French villages.
Collioure, being so close to Catalunya, has all signs in both languages and both the French and Catalonia flags flying -- but not the Spanish flag. Some big time pride issues going on here….. Matisse made this place famous, and the artist impact remains strong. Artists’ studios line the alleyways, and painters sitting along the shore pursue their art. The place is very upscale compared to Tossa (thanks, Tony). The drive back can take 3 ½ hours if one goes down along the scenic winding coastal highway to avoid the A-7, beautiful, but just as challenging.