Collioure is a seaside Mediterranean town and commune a few kilometers north of the Spanish border in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales, a part of the ancient Roussillon province and the present-day Languedoc-Roussillon région. Collioure is also the name of an AOC wine similar to the famous Banyuls (AOC).
As the town has a strong Catalan culture, its own motto is the same as the one of the local Catalan rugby team (USA Perpignan, France) which is Sempre endavant, mai morirem (Always forward, We'll never die). Under Michel Moly's leadership, the town has an alternative motto, Collioure sera toujours Collioure (Collioure shall always be Collioure) quoting French singer Maurice Chevalier's famous song titled Paris sera toujours Paris.
Collioure is famous throughout France for its 3-day August 15th celebration, which attracts twice its population in visitors, who come to see the town's bodégas and fireworks.
n the early 1900s Collioure became a center of artistic activity, with several Fauve artists making it their meeting place. André Derain, Georges Braque, Othon Friesz, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Tsuguharu Fujita have all been inspired by Collioure's Royal Castle, medieval streets, lighthouse-converted-into-church Notre-Dame-des-Anges and typical Mediterranean bay in their paintings. Collioure's cemetery contains the tomb of Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who fled here to escape advancing Francoist troops at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. The historical novelist Patrick O'Brian lived in the town from 1949 until his death in 2000, and his novel "The Catalans" graphically describes Collioure life before major changes took place. O'Brian and his wife Mary were also buried in the town cemetery.
Fauvisme Path (Le Chemin du Fauvisme)
Since 1994 ”Le chemin du Fauvisme” has used the works of Matisse and Derain to remind us of the presence of 20 th century art in this small Catalan harbor. On this 'trail' around the town, you can admire twenty reproductions of Matisse’s and Derain’s works exactly where these two masters of Fauvism painted the originals earlier this century.
Collioure used to be divided into two villages separated by the Douy river, the old town named Port d'Aval (today known as Le Faubourg) in the south and the upstream port, Port d'Amont (the actual La Ville). Collioure was taken in 1642 by the French troops of Maréchal de la Meilleraye. A decade later, the town was officially surrendered to France by the 1659 Treaty of Pyrenees. Because of its highly strategic importance, the town's fortifications, including the Fort Saint-Elme stronghold, were improved by the military engineer Vauban during the reign of Louis XIV. Nevertheless, Collioure was besieged and occupied by the Spanish troops in 1793, which was the last Spanish attempt to take the city. The blockade was broken a year later by general Jacques François Dugommier.