Discover the riches of the Côte vermeille
The Côte Vermeille or "vermilion coast" is a region in the French department of Pyrénées Orientales, near the border with Spain. The towns of Collioure, Port-Vendres and Banyuls-sur-mer are nested along a 20 km stretch of beaches, small bays, creeks and coves, with some fabulous walks and trails. It is mere minutes from Spain’s Costa Brava (Rosas, Figueras, Girona, Cadaquès,Tossa del Mar...) and a short drive to both Perpignan and Barcelona.
This French stretch of coastline boasts an enchanting border villages, castle ruins, endless outdoor adventures, delectable cuisine, fabulous wines and, of course, some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery. Unlike the tourist-ridden French Riviera to the east, the enchanting villages of the Cote Vermeille remain delightfully undiscovered. Neither France nor Spain, this is Catalonia !
Collioure, the city of painters
The pearl of the Vermillion coast, the little town of Collioure, much appreciated by painters, makes an incredibly picturesque, enchanting scene. It is a picture postcard place, with its royal castle by the sea, its port with local boats, its small beaches, its café terrases, the old town with its coloured façades and its emblematic pink-domed bell-tower !
Collioure has always been a source of inspiration for artists. Picasso, Derain, Dufy, Chagall, Matisse and Marquet have all stopped there to capture its so special light and to immortalize the small catalan harbor in their works. Collioure became in 1905 the birthplace of the Fauvism art movement. Called the city of Painters, Collioure continues to host artists from all backgrounds.
Céret is a lovely little town, with cafes and art shops, shady trees and a lot of character, based around narrow streets between the small open squares, and parts of the old town walls still standing. The most surprising aspect of the town is the fine 'Museum of Modern Art' - with works by Picasso, Chagall, Dufy and Dali. In fact, both Matisse and Picasso lived in the town, giving rise to its claim to artistic fame.
Besides, the annual cherry festival in spring is a colourful weekend of stone spitting, music, dancing and entertainment in the streets, not to mention the inventive recipes involving cherries served up in the local restaurants....
Situated thirty kilometers from the Spanish border,
Perpignan, city of Art and History, retains from its
past as the former continental capital of the Kingdom
of Majorca an historic centre of harmonious architecture,
predominantly in the Gothic style.
Perpignan is one of the best places
in the region to sample local food and wine.
This charming fishing village stands in a delightful setting south of the Cabo de Creus. It is linked to Roses by the Perafita road, with its stunning views of the Ampurdan, Gulf of Roses, French coast and the hills behind Cadaqués. Cadaqués developed into a popular haunt for artists and intellectuals, the most famous of whom was undoubtedly Salvador Dalí.
The Canigou mountain
The Catalonian's sacred mountain, steeped in
mystery ans legend is culminating at an altitude of 2784 metres, majestically overlooks the Roussillon plain and the Mediterranean sea.
Highly prized by ramblers, the pic of Canigou,
which is possible from June to September has
some magnificent viewpoints.
Figueras is a tourist destination "par excellence", which owes much (if not all) of its fame to Salvador Dalí, its most illustrious son. The town centre is not without charm, and while the Dalí theatre-museum is unmissable (book well in advance), other sights are also worth of interest, such as the toy museum and the nearby Castell de Sant Ferran. Because of its ideal location, Figueras is a perfect base for exploring northern Catalonia.
Girona is a city on a human scale with all the charm of a larger city. Take a leisurely stroll through the old town, visit the museums and the historic buildings, wander through the streets and squares, and discover the tourist attractions, festivals, restaurants, cultural events, etc. Enjoy it at any time of year and, if you can, come back again and again! This lively city will always hold something in store to delight you.