The Deep Blue Sky of Collioure

La Ballette on the Vermillion Coast

The renowned La Balette restaurant in Collioure,

“There is nowhere else in France a sky with a deeper blue than the sky of Collioure…”  HENRI MATISSE

To each his own, but if one were to tell me that a French locale was renowned for anchovies, I might turn and run.  No, the tiny fish are not a part of my gastronomic selections!  But wait.  We are talking about Collioure, a village along the Côte Vermeille that may have enough stellar qualities to outweigh the unfortunate presence of anchovies.

Where the Pyrenees dive down to the Mediterranean, the landscape offers a delightful mix of craggy cliffs and sun-drenched beaches, hilly vineyards and colorful villages.  Add a number of châteaux and castles, and you have a lovely, laid-back seaside venue with proud traditions of culture and heritage.

Long the inspiration of countless artists, even a style of painting was born here in the “City of Painters”.  With Henri Matisse’s vivid, untamed paintings, Fauvism came to life.   Artists still are drawn to the area, and art galleries and museums are plentiful.

Le Relais de Trois Mas, Collioure

Le Relais de Trois Mas, Collioure

The area really is Catalonian, a blend of France and Spain, where the Spanish rhythm of life dictates late lunches and dinners.  And an unparalleled choice of lodging is the 4-star “Le Relais des Trois Mas” tucked along the bay facing the sea.  As one might suspect, the Mas enjoys spectacular scenic views and offers rooms both decorated and named after painters who have visited Collioure. 

It’s the perfect place from which to explore the historic sites (such as the lovely Notre Dame des Anges), to enjoy the Catalan-influenced cuisine and to take in the tranquil Mediterranean beaches.We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

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