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On our travels around France you find special places, ones that stay with you for ever and always wish to return. Collioure just south of Perpignan on the Catalan coast is one such place – perhaps our very favourite in all of France. It was at the start of our travels and will always be a part of any visit to the south. Please enjoy some photography and the story of our initial visit is in my book – FIRST TIME WE SAW PARIS.
On this mild clear evening the sun is going down, the scene is enlightened by the lights of the harbour front cafés and bars and the spot lights focused on Collioure’s church, Notre-Dame-des-Anges, a former converted lighthouse. There is of course in this gorgeous setting the natural moonlight sparkling on the sea and reflected on the brightly coloured fishing boats that are such a feature of the harbour at Collioure. These small boats have inspired so many artists over the years being painted and photographed so often that they are synonymous with this beautiful harbour.
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Artists and artisans such as Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh along with many others have been inspired by the light and views on offer here in Collioure. Inside the Restaurant/Bar Templiers which has a particularly attractive terrace on Avenue Camille Pelleton there are copies or art works adorning the walls by Picasso, Matisse, Dali and others. The restaurant had the originals left to them by these famous artists but some of these were stolen years ago so very understandably no originals are to be seen on display today.
On the quayside leading down the Avenue there are many modern day artists painting the very same scenes, some to very good effect, others perhaps are a little dubiously talented. It all makes for a lovely peaceful and atmospheric scene though. Along the front of the small half-moon shaped beach that has the church as its focal point there are many brightly lit cafés and most of these have a terrace spilling out right up to the beach, the clinking of glasses an ever present relaxing sound. The view from one of these tables is I feel as good as it gets and it is one that has to be savoured over a latte or a beer or a lovely chilled rosé wine.