Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Summer Vacation in Collioure France

After teaching my workshop for French Escapade in Provence, my friend Sylvia and I took 4 trains from Avignon in Provence down to the Mediterranean Sea to a cute little medieval village called Collioure.  We had rented an apartment in Collioure from the American artist Carole Watanabe for 8 days of vacation. 

We managed to catch all the right trains and meet some nice French people along the way.  Arriving in Collioure we found our cute little apartment with the welcome sign on the door quite easily.  The apartment is on the third floor up very steep stairs over Carole  Watanbe’s gallery and her studio apartment.  She and a friend were there too so it was fun getting to know them.  The village is full of art galleries and studios, all the artists are French accept two dutch and Carole the lone American.  The quality of art in the galleries and open studies ranged from really really good to marginal.

Our apartment or “nest” as Sylvia called it.

Here is Sylvia with the painting of the apartment she purchased from Carole.


Our first morning was a beautiful sunny day so we walked down to the beach, found a park bench, sat and sketched this famous landmark of Collioure.

Here are some of my favorite photos of Collioure:

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One of two beaches in the town with the Royal Castle that sits high on rocks that divide the two sections of the town. 



I painted this colorful corner but the painting is not done yet, I will post the painting when I get it completed.


This is a very colorful town.  No wonder so many artists make their homes here.

Love these laughing pigs!

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One morning we decided to hike up to Fort St Elme on the hill, but we did not follow the map, we just started heading up figuring we would get there.  On the way we passed this old ruined wall, there is a painting here!

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Farther up hill we came across this vineyard with the gnarly vines.  More paintings here…

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After hiking for an hour we realized we were going to end up on the wrong ridge and it would be faster to go back down and walk around the beach to the far end of town and hike back up that way.  Anyway it was time for lunch.  This is Fort Elme, our destination.

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On our second try for the fort we climbed to this windmill along the way.

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After a good bit of climbing up a mountain goat trail we got to the Fort only to discover the tourist train unloading a group of passengers it had brought up via a road that went behind the hill!  Oh well we got some good exercise.  The fort was closing for the day but this view of Collioure below was worth the climb.

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Carousels can be found in towns all over France.  This one was tiny but cute.

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These ceramic down spots were all over Collioure.  Oh so French!

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Not every French village has its own Royal Castle but Collioure does, and we had a great time exploring it.

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Sylvia checking out the tiny slit in wall where they probably shot arrows at the enemy below.

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Looking out through very old glass in a castle window.

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Sylvia on the walkway on the very top of the castle.

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A portion of the view from the top of the castle.

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Old mossy roof tops viewed from top of the castle.

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Relics from ancient times were displayed in the museum inside the castle.

More photos of Collioure:

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Hey Bill and Dan here is an idea for making a bit of extra money using your bike as a billboard.

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Ad hock art gallery, the artist is the guy in the beret of course!

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We loved our apartment and we loved Collioure, the perfect little town for artists and art lovers to kick back and relax.