The Village of Collioure

Collioure, sometimes called the Jewel of the Cote Vermeille is a delightful small, sunny fishing village on the Roussillon coast of the Mediterranean. Collioure lies in a sheltered bay at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. Situated in the heart of Catalan country, the local culture, folklore, tradition and food of Collioure reflect its closeness to Spain and its proximity to the sea. There has been sensitive control on development by the Mairie which has meant that Collioure has retained its historic buildings and avoided the concrete eyesores which have blighted other towns on the Mediterranean.

Collioure has belonged to France since the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. Before then it was part of the Kingdom of Majorca, the impressive Château was the King's Summer Palace, the Kingdom of Aragon and many more rulers going back to the Romans. The Knights Templar built on Roman foundations before the present Château was begun in the late 13th Century.

Collioure is still famous today for the production of anchovies. The fishing port is not as busy as it was 100 years ago but you can still see some of the brightly coloured Catalan fishing boats amongst the more modern craft in the harbour.

There is so much to see and do in and around Collioure:

Beaches

Collioure has four relatively small beaches in the heart of the town and there are miles of sandy beaches at the nearby Argles Plage.

Walking

Plenty of places to walk in the nearby Pyrenean foothills and the Albres hills. Local walking guide books are available.

Places to visit

There is a recently restored windmill just above the town where the local olives were pressed, and the views from the Forts St Elme and Dugommier are well worth the walk. For a longer walk or trip in the car for the less energetic visit the Tour Madeloc to enjoy splendid views of French and Spanish Catalonia. The medieval church right on the edge of the sea is very pretty and the Chateau Royal of Collioure is steeped in history and merits a visit. The Castle of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan is a must for those into history.

Wine

The hills surrounding Collioure are planted extensively with vines for the local appellations. Visit the vineyards on foot, take the signposted routes by car or bicycle or try the little tourist train which winds its way through the little roads over the hills to Port Vendres. The local chateaux and caves welcome visitors and offer tastings. Try the Banyuls and the sweet Muscat de Rivesaltes.

Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosh spent time in Collioure and nearby Port Vendres and the picturesque town had earlier captivated the imagination of painters Matisse and Derain. The guided tour of "les chemins du fauvisme" reflects on their work.

There is a museum of modern art in Collioure and in nearby Ceret their museum of modern art has works by many artists including Picasso, Dali and Chagall and features regular exhibitions by other artists. The Dali museum in Figueras, just over the border in Spain is also worth a visit.

Painters are still drawn to this delightful town and are always to be seen especially around the port area, their paintings displayed on easels or hung on the old town walls. Visitors can while away the hours in the many galleries in the narrow streets of the old town.

Markets

There is plenty of local produce and crafts to be found in the markets in Collioure on Sunday and Wednesday. There are also markets daily (except Monday) in Perpignan and there is a daily fish Market in Port Vendres for locally caught fish and shellfish.

Restaurants

The town has a wide variety of restaurants to suit a range of tastes and prices. Local seafood features on many of the menus along with local Catalan specialities.

If you would like a holiday on Lismore Island in Scotland, please visit our other website, Strathlorn Holiday Cottage.