Though proudly French, Collioure sits just 25km from Spain and is a city where two cultures collide. Beyond the pastel-hued homes that hug the rocky coastline, you’ll uncover well-respected wines and Catalan cuisine. From dining to sightseeing and local experiences, these are some of our tips and favourite places to go if you want to experience Collioure, France like a local.
Food – What do the locals eat?
Abricots Rouges du Roussillon
Cultivated in the Eastern Pyrenees mountains in the 19th Century, Abricots Rouges du Roussillon are small, orange to red coloured apricots that are grown in abundance in the areas surrounding Collioure. Due to lots of sunshine, these apricots are extremely aromatic, juicy and sweet.
What was once simple farmhouse fare, is now a rich, complex dish which is enjoyed globally. Originating in southwest France, the basic cassoulet is a dish made from white beans, baked with fresh pork, tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs and stock, and made complete with a nice, crust on top.
A famous traditional southwestern France dish, La Garbure is basically a meat, bean and vegetable soup and is the perfect cold, winter food companion.
Croustade aux Pommes
The perfect dish to end your Pyrenees meal with – the famous Croustade aux Pommes, or Croustade. This simple (but tasty) dessert is made of two puff pastries and filled with apples that have been flavoured with Armagnac.
Suze is a bitter aperitif, made from gentian root (which grows in both Switzerland and France).
Sites – Discover the Undiscovered
At the northern end of the harbour lies the medieval Eglise Notre-Dame des Anges. The bell tower of the church was originally built as a lighthouse, however, was taken out of service when Port d’Aval and Port d’Amont combined to create Collioure. The church interior features wooden Catalan Baroque style altarpieces. The positioning of the Eglise Notre-Dame des Anges drew many famous artists to the area, including Matisse, Georges Braque and Andre Derain, who immortalized the church onto canvas.
Plage de Port d’Avall
Arguably the best beach in Collioure, Port d’Avall is the only sandy beach in the town. The area is the perfect spot for a seaside stroll, watching the world go by or a dip in the sparkling blue Mediterranean water.
Slightly south of Collioure, through the precipitous vineyards in the mountainous terrain behind the coast is the idyllic Banyuls-Sur-Mer. There’s plenty to keep you entertained here, from its seafront esplanade which is dotted with palm trees, the sandy and pebbly beaches, to wine cellars and the aquarium of the Arago Laboratory.
Famous for its fishing port, Port-Vendres is the perfect destination if you enjoy freshly caught seafood meals! The port is also the beginning of the Cap Bear way, a coast road to the unspoilt nearby countryside.
Fort Saint Elme
Built in 1552 by Spanish King Charles V, the hilltop fort (which is situated between Collioure and Port-Vendres) was designed as a key piece of the coastal defence system. If you’re interested in the history of the fort, there’s a museum which is filled with old weapons and armour. While you’re up here, you can also enjoy the incredible views of Collioure and Port-Vendres below.
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