Collioure Walking Tour, the Fauvism Trail

Collioure walking tour follows the Fauvism Trail.  The Fauvism Trail leads to around 20 sites in the village where Henri Matisse and André Derain painted during their stay in Collioure. At each of these places, there is a reproduction of a painting so that tourists can compare the painting with the real scene on site.

We discovered this route on our third visit to Collioure.  When we visited the village the first time, we were overwhelmed by the colourful scenes, the sun-kissed beaches, and the fresh seafood. During our second visit, we did hiking from Angeles-Sur-Mer to the village and had lunch in a famous hotel restaurant, Les Templiers. A friendly local people in the restaurant told us about the Fauvism trail. Therefore, we made this Collioure walking tour following the Fauvism trail. After our third visit, we have concluded that  Collioure is more an artist town than a fishing village.

What is Fauvism?

The fishing village of Collioure was central to the inspiration of the Fauvist art movement in the early 20th Century. Matisse and Derain gave birth to the artistic movement of Fauvism in 1905, during their stay in Collioure. Fauvism is a style based on strong emotions and intense colours, emphasizing freedom and creativity. The painting style favours the use of bold. It applies non-naturalistic colours to an accurate representation of reality. To learn more features about Fauvsim, please read this article.

Other than Matisse and Derain, painters such as Picasso, Dufy, Marquet had also spent time in Collioure and painted there. Currently, many artists are still living and painting in the town.

Collioure walking tour
The narrow street along the Fauvsim trail

Collioure walking tour, the beach part of the Fauvism trail

Our Collioure walking tour started from the main beach area, Plage de Port d’Avall. The main street next to the beach is Rue de la Democratie. The first part of the walk was just along the beach and towards the Château Royal de Collioure. Passing the foot of Château Royal de Collioure, crossing a wooden bridge (Place de la Republique), we arrive at the Plage des Pêcheurs, another beach area, where many restaurants line up.

There is a photo frame on the beach. The scene seeing through the frame is the lighthouse and the Church of Our Lady of the Angels. We saw two reproductions of Matisse and Derain’s works on the wall. From that position, most of the sites in the village are visible, such as Château Royal de Collioure, the Church of Our Lady of the Angels (Eglise Notre-Dame des Anges), and La Chapelle Saint-Vincent.

The path continued towards the Church. Behind the Church of Our Lady of the Angels and its bell tower, stone stairs lead the way up. There is also a reproduction of the artwork not far from the stairs.

Map of Fauvsim Trail
Collioure walking tour
The Bell Tower
Collioure walking tour
The reproduction of an original artwork from Henri Matisse

Collioure walking tour, the hill part of the Fauvism trail

Walked up the stairs and before turned into Rue Bellevue, we stopped at the seaside and took several pictures. On the wall, there is a reproduction of Henri Matisse’s work. It was about a Japanese woman sitting on top of the seaside rock.

When we were on the Rue Bellevue, we could directly look over the sea from the clifftop. From there, I made many instagrammable pictures. Those of you who look at the photos know. As we continued walking along the street, the smells of the flowers wafted through the summer air, a truly delightful mix of fragrance. The Rue Bellevue is one of Collioure’s prettiest flower-filled streets.

At the end of the Rue Bellevue, there was a very silent living quarter, Rue de la Carranque. It is a dead end street. Among the blooming flowers and plants are the terraced houses. Beautifully decorated benches in front of houses, attracting people to take a rest. It is no doubt that these vivid colours had inspired the painters a century ago. There, we saw several reproductions of the artworks again.

To walk down the hill, we followed Rue Mirador. The narrow street goes through the brightly orange-coloured houses.

The Path of Fauvism is completely free to access. You can take a guided tour organized by the tourism office to discover the reproductions of their works displayed in the streets.

Cliff view from Rue Bellevue
Rue Bellevue, Collioure France
Rue Bellevue, one of Collioure’s prettiest flower-filled streets
Collioure walking tour
Colourful decorated Terrace with sitting corner, Collioure France

Collioure walking tour tips

The local tourist office ( provides a free map of the village including the Fauvism Trail (the Path of Fauvism). It is only available in French at the time of writing. Nevertheless, it is possible to follow its map to get around.

English guided tours are available at the House of Fauvism (10 Rue Prud Homie, 66190 Collioure). Please check the details here.

In the winter the climate is mild. However, in the summertime, the temperature can be very high. It was about 40 degree when we walked the trail. It is necessary to apply sun cream or bring a hat to avoid getting sunburned.

Collioure is around 25 minutes of driving from Perpignan and is 2 hours and 15 minutes of driving from Barcelona. So it is possible to make a day trip from both places.

Where to stay

As a popular tourist destination among the French people, there are many hotels in and around the village. But during the holiday seasons, most hotels have no vacancy. You need to book well ahead.

The first I would like to recommend is the Hôtel des Templiers. It features 2000 original artworks by 20th-century painters who stayed in the hotel. While I was eating in the hotel restaurant, I saw part of the original artworks on the wall. The restaurant specializes in Catalan cuisine. Hôtel des Templiers is located 200 m from the Château Royal de Collioure. Collioure Train Station is only 550 m away. In front of the hotel is a pedestrian street, and public parking is available 400 m from the property. If you plan to stay in Collioure for a few days, this hotel is very convenient not only because of its central location but also because of its cuisine and its history. To find a good rate, please check booking.com or hotelscombined.com.

Hotel Les Tempiers, Collioure France (source)

How to get there

There is a detail description of this website about how to get there.  You can reach there by planes, buses or trains. In case you arrive at Gerona airport, you can hire a one-way low-cost private transfer from Gerona Airport to Collioure. To book the transfer please click here for the further detail.

The easiest way is by car. However, the parking situation is difficult during the summer holiday seasons. Most likely you need to park a few kilometres away from the villages. Just follow the parking sign and you will get a parking place. But the good news is, that there is a free shuttle bus service at each parking area.

Related post: Collioure, a charming French fishing village near the Spanish border

 

21 Comments

  1. Such a beautiful place. It was great that you took a walking tour around the place. I really think that is the best way to explore a new city, town or village! The beauty of the place must have been the inspiration for such great work by well renowned painters and artists.

  2. Collioure is absolutely stunning! I mean really. The photos are so breathtakingly. This looks like such a great tour to do and the historical context is awesome. Thank you for sharing this experience with me!

  3. Collioure looks so charming and inviting! I’ve only been to Paris in France, but I would love to branch out and see more of the country. The walking tour looks like a way to take in picturesque views while learning more about the area at a slower pace.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a informative article with great photos! I hadn’t heard about this place until now but i will definiatley keep it in mind for future travels.

  5. I must admit I’m getting into walking tours and quite enjoying it. A great way to see new places and get to know more about it . Fun to know that At each of these places, there is a reproduction of a painting for tourists to compare the painting with the real scene on site. What a master strike. If I was in the area I would not miss this for anything. The architecture the natural beauty and your beautiful photos bring like into this post. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Mijia,
    I enjoyed reading this post. I have never been to France, so, I am adding this to my bucket list. You’ve given Collioure justice. It sounds and looks like a great and charming place to visit. Would you say this is a day-trip or is it worth staying a couple of days?

    1. Hi Moawia,

      It is worth to stay for a few days as there are more things to do in the area. I have another post about the general things to do in Collioure, maybe you could take a look as well.

      Regards,
      Mijia

  7. The photo frame on the beach is pretty cool. I’m sure the view of the lighthouse and the church was even more beautiful when Derain painted it, because I think the beach was empty. The whole village is really amazing! All spots in your pictures say it all. I will like my stay here easily.

    1. Hi Corritta,

      Sure you can look at the google map how the area look like. Alternatively, you can book a helicopter tour to sea the area. You can easily spend the entire holiday there.

      Regards,

      Mijia

  8. What a charming town Colliure is. I had never heard of it before. But I love artist/creative towns like this. How amazing that an entire art movement originated here with some of the artists that painted there. I can imagine how much inspiration they got from the beautiful town. The scenery is breathtaking from the beaches with the beautiful turquoise waters to all the flowers and cobbled streets. I especially liked the view from Rue Bellevue – I think I could stare at that all day. I must see it for myself someday.

  9. I’ve never heard of the Fauvism Trail before reading this post. Walking tours are a great way to get to explore and know a new place. And the views are spectacular from the cliff view, and the streets very colorful. One to remember for when I next visit France.

  10. Its nice to have a theme when visiting a place like Collioure . The hunt for the painting spots on the Fauvism trail is something that I would very much like to do. I have never heard of this place but now its on my list.

  11. I see what a pretty little village Collioure is! An artistic village is the best kind and that with sun kissed beaches, fresh sea food has to be the best. The fauvism trail also looks like the kind of trail I’d like to take, its so scenic. The narrow streets are lovely and the view from Rue Bellevue is breathtaking!

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