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.
I am French and I have not even been there yet, shame on me! It looks very charming and colorful! I would love to wander in those streets full of colors!
I have no knowledge about the Fauvism art movement so reading your post was really interesting and educational at the same time. I like the idea of a walking tour that takes you through some of the key inspirational areas of an artist and compares their painting with the reality. The villages on the Collioure walking tour look so pretty!
I have never heard of Collioure or Fauvism art before this. And though I might have not known this, I sure would have enjoyed this walk for the pretty cobbled stoned roads, colorful homes with those pretty flowers. With that kind of landscapes, I can well imagine why artists wanted to capture them on their canvas. I too, would want to – capture them through my lens.
It is a great article. You have wonderfully shown the place which is a part of the history of painting. I would love to see it. I was several times in France, but not this part yet. But I add Collioure to my list. I would love to take all Fauvism Trail.
Hi Mijia, am besotted by the pretty flower-lined streets and the beaches. I always take a walking tour whenever I travel and this is something I would totally do myself, I also like how you have suggested a Hotel that is easily approachable and centrally located.
I’ve never heard of the Collioure walking tour but that’s really cool that there is a trail that takes you to sites where Henri Matisse and André Derain painted. I love that there is a reproduction of the painting at each site to compare it to the real scenery. It’s great that the trail is free and the visitor center offers a free map….hopefully I could figure it out without knowing French!
I have never heard of Collioure in France. Nor have I heard of the Fauvism Trail. Such a pretty town and the views from Rue Bellevue were stunning. I also liked the idea of seeing copies of paintings from Matisse along the way. Definitely a place I would like to visit one day.
I haven’t known all these interesting things about the Fauvism movement. It is so important that in France they promote this kind of tailored routes so that people can learn more while strolling those gorgeous narrow streets with picturesque angles. The places look fabulous and I would wander to discover every single corner and take lots of photos for hours. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Wow, these photos are incredible! I thoroughly enjoy walking tours because you get to take in the full experience of everything. Great post! Thanks for sharing.
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.
I’ve never heard this place before but the view looks Amazing I would like to visit this place someday. Wonderful photos!
I had never heard of the Fauvist art movement. I do know the works of Matisse and Derain, I just didn’t know the style.
This is simply breathtaking. Collioure is beautiful! Look at the art, nature, flowers and all. A very nice review you’ve got here. Thanks for sharing.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Hi I would love to visit and have sent your article to my daughter who lives in Canada (I live in Australia). So I have put Collioure on my place to visit on my next trip. I would love to receive you other post about general things to do . Thank you. Francesca
Great tip ??
I was actually surprised to see that Collioure looks quite mediterranean – and a beautiful place to explore on foot 🙂
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.
I love art and the colors are very intriguing? This seems like a great 1 or 2 day trip. Is it possible to look at the map before going?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
A day trip would be a good option like you explained. Guess I can squeeze it in while planning my itinerary. Thanks for sharing the hotel information too.