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Collioure is one of the best kept-secrets on the coast. Here the Pyrenees tumble into the sea, creating a series of beautiful bays and rocky headlands which give this stretch of coast its unique character. Collioure has a medieval castle (used for local art exhibits and concerts) three little sandy beaches and a shady market place with plenty of cafes.

Collioure inspired artists most famously, Picasso, Matisse and Derain amongst others. The sculptor Maillol also found inspiration here and his works are prominently displayed. Collioure is considered to be a true town of the "Cote Vermeille" due to the vermilion colour of the water. You can follow the "Chemin de Fauvism" a self-guided path of the artists that takes you around the town with reproductions of famous paintings by Matisse and Derain at the very spots where they set up their easels. It is said that Matisse would still recognise the red roofs, the green shutters, and the sailboats bobbing in the harbour in the glittering sunlight.

Another favourite place is the "Moure" which is the old quarter of town. It contains steep but pretty streets, pastel-tinted homes, small galleries and shops and cafes. Do stop and take in Collioure's Museum of Modern Art which is located in the Villa Palms on the edge of town on the way to Port Vendres.


The morning fish market is an experience not to be missed; be sure to try the salted anchovies - an important staple in the cooking of the region. Also sample the superb (and cheap) local wines from Banyuls and Collioure and if you have never tried mussels before - this is the place to do it! They are the best you will get anywhere in the world. Some of the best gelato stands in France are also to be found here.

Tourist Office: located behind the harbour. Pl du 18 juin. Tel: 00 33 (0) 468821547 www.collioure.com

Special events:
Good Friday: Procession of Penitents
July - Aug: Weekly folk dancing in the town centre
Mid August: Town festival with fireworks


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