Last week, I paid a visit to Collioure, a town on the Mediterranean coast of southern France. Now let's have a look at some of its charming spots through my lens. These photos were mostly taken after sunset when strolling in the old town.
The imposing medieval Château Royal de Collioure is located by the sea. It was first built in the 13th century by the Knights Templar and was rebuilt later affected by the battles between France and Spain. It's the summer residence of Majorca Kings from the late 13th century until the middle of the 14th century. Today, it's used to host various cultural events and exhibitions. Its massive structure also forms part of the harbour wall.
The Notre-Dame-des-Anges Church at the quayside dates back to the 17th century. If the bell tower looks like a lighthouse to you, that's because it used to be one. It's remodeled to replace the old one demolished by Vauban, the famous military engineer who worked under Louis XIV. The church was pretty photogenic standing with the beautiful lighting at dusk, so I shot quite a lot of pictures of it, including a couple of hand-held long exposures, and not surprisingly, a few of them went blurry... There were Baroque altarpieces inside by Catalan masters.
The winter evening here was not as cold as in northern Europe, but still fairly chilly with strong wind and waves. I guess for the same reason, there were not many visitors during this off season, as you can see from my pictures here. I heard that Collioure is popular in summer time when its narrow streets and pebbled beach are packed with tourists.
The colorful streets are filled with shops, restaurants, hotels and galleries. Some of the signs are written in French, Catalan and Castilian Spanish, showing the colorful history of this region. The Modern Art Museum here houses paintings by Henri Matisse, as colorful as the town itself. Matisse was attracted by the bright colors in Collioure in 1905, and he invited fellow artists such as Andre Derain to work here together. Their well-known creations with intense colors were called Fauvism later.
Collioure is also the name of an AOC(Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) wine similar to the more famous Banyuls. Banyuls wine is made from old vines cultivated on the slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees in the Roussillon county. Besides the communes of Collioure and Banyuls, Cerbère and Port-Vendres are the other two of the Côte Vermeille where the AOC production area is limited to. I tried the Banyuls wine here and liked its crisp flavor and sweet fruity taste.
At the hilltops nearby, there are Moulin de Collioure, a 14th-century windmill, and Fort St. Elme which has a museum with medieval weapons：