Feel Collioure with our top 5 sensory experiences…
See landscape paintings hanging in the 30-or-so galleries and artists’ workshops, inspired by the pretty surroundings
Hear piano music at the Piano à Collioure festival in June, paying homage to pianist Alain Marinaro
Smell the prized local anchovy, still salted and canned by hand at the maisons Roque and Desclaux
Taste a chilled glass of sweet Banyuls wine, made from grapes grown on the slopes of the Pyrenees
Touch shingle between your toes on Collioure’s beach.
Boats bob beside pretty pastel houses in the artists’ haunt of Collioure, in Pyrénées-Orientales on the coast of Occitanie – and it’s easy to see why the village was immortalised on numerous canvases by Matisse, Derain, Braque and Picasso in the 20th century. There are over 30 galleries and workshops here today – must-visits for art lovers – and plenty of other historical treasures to see: Église Notre-Dame des Anges with its iconic pink bell tower, Collioure’s moulin (oil mill), and the Fort Rond and Fort Carré at the northern end of the village, which guarded against attack. A little further away (between Collioure and Port-Vendres) is the Fort Saint-Elme, which houses a fascinating collection of antique weapons. Climb up to any of these imposing structures and be rewarded with a spectacular view of the coastline.
Collioure is well suited to both couples and families, with seaside activities to keep children happy (kayaking, sailing and delicious ice creams) as well as colourful streets to stroll and plenty of quaint restaurants and cafés. The anchovy is the prized speciality in Collioure; visit the maisons Roque and Desclaux (the two remaining anchovy salting families) and take a tour of the factory, where the jarring process is still carried out by hand. Collioure is also known for its wines, home to one of France’s smallest appellations producing rich reds and the famous Banyuls aperitif and dessert wine. Listen to a concert, watch folk dancing and have a paddle on Collioure’s shingly beach, the first on the Côte Vermeille which stretches south as far as Cerbère on the Spanish border.