Languedoc Home    Introduction     to See    to Do    Holidays     Langudoc Wine     Languedoc Life    Getting There    Property      History   Geography   Weather 
Cathars of the Languedoc    Cathar Castles    Languedoc Mysteries    Languedoc Books    Languedoc Photos    Articles    Emergencies    Languedoc Guides    More Information

Things to See in the Languedoc:   Historic Towns:   Collioure ( The Name in Catalan. Click here to find out more about Catalan. Cotlliure)

Collioure is a port on the Mediterranean Sea a few kilometers north of the Spanish border in the French département of the Pyrénées-Orientales, corresponding to the ancient Roussillon and part of the present-day Languedoc-Roussillon région. It lies on the Côte Vermeille, part of the Gulf of Lyon.

It is an atractive port with anunusually large number of art galleries.  

In the XIIth century it was part of the Kindom of Majorca, along with the rest of the Roussillon.   There is still a spectacular Royal Palace here.   It was later taken over by the Kings of Aragon, who had originally created the Kingdom of Majorca.

Collioure was once two villages separate villages, divided by the Douy river. The old town was named Port d'Aval (today known as Le Faubourg) in the south and the upstream port, Port d'Amont (now called La Ville).

The town was taken by the French troops under Maréchal de la Meilleraye in 1642. A decade later, the town was formally surrendered to France by the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees. Because of its strategic importance, the town's fortifications, including the Fort Saint-Elme, were improved by the military engineer de Vauban during the reign of Louis XIV, part of a vast network of fortifications protecting the new Spanish border.   The bay, sandwiched between two small fishing ports, is dominated by a fortress built by de Vauban.

Collioure was besieged and occupied by Spanish troops in 1793 - to date the last Spanish attempt to recover the city. It was retaken by the French a year later under general Jacques François Dugommier.

In the early 1900s Collioure became a centre of artistic activity, with several Fauvist artists selecting it as their favourite place to paint. Other artists were attracted too. Among them were André Derain, Georges Braque, Othon Friesz, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Tsuguharu Fujita and Salvadore Dali.

Collioure became the home of the Fauvist Mouvement because of the rare quality of the light.  As Matisse, said "No sky in all France is more blue than that of Collioure".   Since 1994 ”Le chemin du Fauvisme” has used the works of Matisse and Derain to illustrate 20 th century art in this small Catalan harbour. Copies of 20 works from Matisse and Derain are placed around the town at the spots from which the originals were painted, allowing viewers to compare the painting to the present view.  The town is still popular with artists.  Shame about the pink suburbs and numbers of tourists in high season.

Visit the bar of Les Templiers to see original works on the walls - that's how the artists paid their driniks bills.   Website:   Art lovers can combine a trip here with one to the Picasso Museum in neary Céret.

Some things to visit:

  • 3-day August 15th celebration, involving bodégas and fireworkswhich, which attracts twice its normal population in visitors.
  • Royal Castle
  • medieval streets
  • The Fauvisme Path (Le Chemin du Fauvisme)
  • Notre-Dame-des-Anges, a lighthouse- converted into a church,
  • Mediterranean bay
  • Collioure's cemetery contains the tomb of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who fled here to escape General Francos troops at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. The historical novelist Patrick O'Brian and his wife Mary are also buried here. O'Brien lived in the town from 1949 until his death in 2000. His novel "The Catalans" graphically describes Collioure life before it became a tourist hot-spot.

Andre Derain (1880 – 1954).
Bateaux de Collioure (1905)


Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954).
Les toits de Collioure (1905)
Oil on Canvass. 59.5 x 73 cm
Currently in The Ermitage (State Museum at Saint-Petersbourg)

Collioure is also the name of an AOC wine similar to the more famous Banyuls.

The town has a strong Catalan culture. Its motto is the same as that of the local Catalan rugby team (Sempre endavant, mai morirem) - Always Forward, We'll Never Die.



Andre Derain (1880 – 1954).
Vue de Collioure (1905)


Art lovers may wish to visit another Roussillon town with a strong artistic history. Cubists such as Picasso, Bracque and Gris, along with Matisse, Chagall, and Dali, favoured the nearby town of Céret


Collioure Photo Gallery



Back.   Back to Alet-les-Bains  Up  a level to: Towns in the Languedoc Next Page: Elne  Forward.
Languedoc Home     About this Site     Site Map     Links     Contact Webmaster     Copyright and Legal     Search site for: 
The Languedoc: property,holidays,climate,naturist beaches,wildlife,wines,history,geography and Cathar castles: the Languedoc Home Page
 Level 1 -  Languedoc Home Page: Languedoc climate & weather, holidays & vacations, tourism & travel, naturism and naturist beaches,property & accomodation, Cathars & cathar castles, food & wine, history & geography, French sports & games, mountains & and lakes, and everyday life in the Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France.
 Level 2 - Click here to go back to the main page on Things to See in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
 Level 3 - Click here to go back to the main page on Towns in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
 Level 4 - Languedoc website. You are at level 4.
 Level 5 - Languedoc links not available from here.