Our Collioure Walking Tour follows the Fauvism Trail that connects the village’s main sites, where Henri Matisse and André Derain created their paintings during their stay in Collioure. At each place, there is a reproduction of one artwork. Visitors can compare the artwork with the real scene.
We discovered this route on our third visit to the fishing village, Collioure. When we visited the village the first time, we were overwhelmed by the colorful scenes, the sun-kissed beaches, and the fresh seafood. During our second visit, we hiked from Angeles-Sur-Mer to Collioure and had lunch in a famous hotel restaurant, Les Templiers. A friendly local people in the restaurant told us about the Fauvism trail.
The local tourist office (Place du 18 Juin, 66190 Collioure) provides a free map of the village, including the Fauvism Trail (the Path of Fauvism). It was only available in French at the time of writing. Nevertheless, we were able to follow its map to get around.
What is Fauvism?
During their stay in the village, Matisse and Derain started the artistic movement of Fauvism in 1905. Fauvism is a style based on strong emotions and intense colors, emphasizing freedom and creativity.
The painting style favors the use of bold. It applies non-naturalistic colors to an accurate representation of reality. To learn more features about Fauvism, please read this article.
Painters such as Picasso, Dufy, Marquet had also spent time in Collioure and created many paintings there. Currently, many artists are still living and painting in the town.
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 waterfront and towards the Château Royal de Collioure. Passing the foot of Château Royal de Collioure and crossing a wooden bridge (Place de la Republique), we arrived at the Plage des Pêcheurs.
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 artworks on the wall. From that position, we could view most of the village’s sites, 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.
Collioure walking tour, the hill part of the Fauvism trail
Walked up the stone stairs, we stopped at the seaside and took several pictures before turned into Rue Bellevue. On the wall, there is a reproduction of Henri Matisse’s work. It was about a Japanese woman sitting on top of seaside rock.
From the Rue Bellevue, we could directly look over the sea from the clifftop. As we continued walking along the street, the flower scents wafted through the summer air, a truly delightful mix of fragrance. The Rue Bellevue is the prettiest flower-filled street in the village.
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 attract people to take a rest. It is no doubt that these vivid colors had inspired painters a century ago. There, we saw several reproductions of the artworks again.
To walk down the hill, we followed the Rue Mirador. The narrow street goes through the brightly orange-colored houses.
The Path of Fauvism is 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.
Where to stay
As a popular tourist destination among the French people, the village has plenty of hotels. However, during the holiday seasons, most hotels have no vacancy. You need to book well ahead.
The Hôtel des Templiers features 2000 original artworks by 20th-century painters who stayed in the hotel. While I had lunch in the hotel restaurant, I saw part of the original artwork on the wall. Hôtel des Templiers is about 200 metres from the Château Royal de Collioure. Collioure Train Station is only 550 m away.
How to get there
There is a detailed description of this website about how to get there. You can get there by plane, 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.
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. Then, you can take a free shuttle bus to the village.
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.