France Post 5 - A Poetry of Color and Connections

I stayed in the historic center of the town of Collioure. At certain times of the day, tourists filled the streets. But Collioure is hilly and as you go up, the streets empty out.

It was often pleasing just looking down at fallen flower petals gracing the old stones.

The art streak runs deep here. The colors and compositions of the simple yet beautifully-colored, tasteful buildings are a legacy of an artistic tradition that began many years ago.

There is a strong connection to artists and the arts here. Manet, Signac, and Derain, among others, painted here. They loved the luminous light. But there is another reason, as well: apparently owners are not allowed to paint their houses white or black so a lovely palette has evolved over time.

And then there is the light.

There were moments, often unexpected, when the special light that drew artists here were revealed.

Collioure still thrives as an artistic community. There are working artists and galleries everywhere.

Collioure is located in one of the southern-most parts of France, close to the border with Spain. Just as, in my stay in Bretagne where French and Gaelic were interestingly mixed, here French and Spanish were connected. This included the look of the housing, occasional Spanish language heard on the street, and, of course, in the food.

Nicely-baked veggie mix with tomatoes, radishes, scallions, and more over crusty bread with a drizzle of apricot sauce on the side.

Food out could be a mix of Spanish and French, such as this gazpacho with tasty additions.

Food in was just as tasty: jambon, figs, and crusty baguettes dipped in exceptional olive oil. This sheep’s cheese (Brebis des Pyrenees) was new to me and was absolutely delicious.

and some of the best olives I have ever eaten

One special part of my stay was making connections with people. We communicated with a mix of French, English, Spanish, and Google translate. For example, there was the young woman who helped me figure out the challenging lock to my unit.

And there was Coralys, an artisan jeweler (, from whom I could not resist purchasing some wonderful earrings.

Collioure, a special place I will never forget . . . .