In the early 1900s the painter Henri Matisse settled in the small fishing village of Collioure and the city became a meeting place for artists. When we arrive in the city today we know very well why. This beautiful city faces the sea with the Pyrenees in the rear. The city is located in the French part of Catalonia.
In summer months, tourists flock to the city, the beaches are filled up and there is plenty of activity in outdoor restaurants along the harbor. Although there is a lot of tourism in the city, a stop in the building activity and security zones has managed to retain much of the charm of the small fishing village.
15th August Celebration
Colliore is well known in France for its 3 -day celebration of the 15th August. The event they are celebrating is the return of the remains of the city saint – St. Vincent.
At the beginning of the 1900s, this small town, and especially the restaurant/pub Les Templiers, was a meeting place for the art group called les Fauves. Among those who were present in the area at the time include André Derain, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
Since then, the city has set up markings around town showing scenes that are painted. The restaurant they met at is still in open: http://www.hotel-templiers.com/
The Royal Palace
In the middle of town is a huge castle from the 1200s – called Chateau Royal (Royal Palace). This was the palace owned by the Kings of Mallorca in 1300-1400’s. Today it is used for different events and concerts as well as it is a tourist destination itself.
The city has two main beaches – a pebble beach in the center and a slightly quieter sandy beach a little further south, on the other side of the castle.
Collioure is a popular tourist destination and the hotels are often filled in the high season. It might be preferable to book in advance. There are also fewer parking facilities in Colloure than in other coastal towns in the area – so if you need a car you may want to clarify with the hotel that they have parking facilities.