Sunday, September 6, 2009

Collioure

We arrived in Collioure in the late morning, about 10 am, but by that time all the vacationers seemed to have hit the beaches and cafes. Parking was a bit of a problem, and frankly this is the busiest village we've visited thus far. Even in mid-September, Collioure is crowded! Above you can see a typical picture-postcard image of the town's main point of interest.
Collioure is ideally situated, about 15 miles north of the Spanish border, an easy day's drive from Barcelona. We never ventured that far, opting to spend the majority of our day in town.
The local town market was still in full swing when we arrived, just in time to listen to a terrific jazz band (the picture above is a still shot from a short video I took, which is why it's so small). Anna and I looked throughout the market for something special, but it was mostly tourist-trappings and items from Africa and Asia. We did purchase some delicious olives and aged goat's cheese for later on...
...and I couldn't resist a few bars of divinely scented soap!
Here's a cute puppy, enjoying the Collioure market in his own sweet way.
A windmill above the town reminds us that Spain is less than an hour's drive away.
Of course, Collioure is known for its artists and their studio/galleries. I had hoped that we might stumble upon Carole Rae Watanabe's Atelier L'Art Vivant and perhaps even meet her there, but I had no idea where it was. Suddenly, we turned a corner and practically fell into her lovely art space--sans Carole. Her partner, artist/painter and gallery director Daniele Canellas, was quite charming. I really wish that I spoke some French so that I could tell Daniele how much I admire her paintings; aren't they gorgeous?
Here's a brightly painted sign outside Carole Rae Watanabe's studio and house rental. If you're interested in staying here, check out her Web site for information.
After lunching on tapas (Spanish finger-food), Anna and I took a small train (Petit Train de Banyuls) above Collioure to view the vineyards and take photos of the bay from up above.
Afterward we stopped at Les Templiers for tea and coffee. Anna was delighted to discover that this was the very bar she had been searching for, which is famous for its 2,000 original artworks (actually in the bar, restaurant and attached hotel) created by various impressionists, modern artists such as Picasso (I actually saw an original signed sketch of his), and others. The paintings were rather dark and dull; perhaps they'd acquired a patina of cigarette smoke over the years.
Our time in Collioure came to an end by the late afternoon, and it was time to drive back to Pezenas for our last night. We watched the old BBC miniseries A Year in Provence, and then it was bedtime. Tomorrow, the drive back to Anna's house...

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