Unspoiled and idyllically pretty, Collioure is where the French take their holidays.
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Collioure is just gorgeous. An unspoiled and idyllically pretty seaside village at the very south of France, Collioure is sheltered in a quiet bay around 15 miles from the Spanish border where the snow-capped Pyrenees drop to meet the Mediterranean.
Collioure was a one night stop on a trip through the country around the southern end of the border between France and Spain, but it felt like longer – in a good way. We’d been driving around getting lost, hot and bothered for days – top tip for road trips in countries you don’t know – buy a map!
But after just an hour in the village, we were as relaxed as the cat sunbathing on the wall next to the harbour café where we whiled away a lazy heat-soaked afternoon eating a lovely lunch, drinking a carafe of rosé and watching the world mosey by.
Collioure is where the French come on their holidays. It has the feel of an Italian seaside town, with its ancient ramparts spilling in to the sea, pretty pastel houses and Italian Riviera-esque shorefront restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for a seaside holiday, there are several sand and pebble beaches, but think small pretty coves rather than sweeping miles of sand.
We stayed at the Hotel Madeloc – simple and unpretentious but with two absolute essential advantages for a hotel in Collioure – only a few minutes walk from the centre of the village and on-site parking.
Eat & Drink
We weren’t there long enough to try many places but there was no shortage of bars and cafes where we’d have liked to eat. Wander around and stop where the food on the outside tables looks irresistible. It worked for us. The seafood is great, the salads were lovely and the carafes (oh yes, there was a second!) of rosé were very drinkable. And even if you’re stuffed, make sure and squeeze in an ice cream from the huge selection on offer at the kiosks on the street. You can walk it off with a late night amble round the harbour.
The turn-off from Perpignan, or you’ll find yourself in Spain before you know it.
Breakfast. When you’re feeling this relaxed and lazy, get into the holiday groove and sleep in. There’s always lunch.
Parking isn’t easy in the twisty little streets so if you have a car, book it in advance. You may have to pay extra but you’ll be glad you did..
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