We are putting our London series in a halt for a good reason, I can’t wait any longer to show you our 1-day getaway to the pleasing colorful town of the south of France called Collioure.
Collioure is a medieval town located in the Côte Vermeille (Vermilion Coast) in the south of France. It has a strong Catalan cultural influence with that French “je ne sais quoi” flair, which I specially find in the type of French wood window shutters, the colorful walls and, which stands completely out, the flowers and plants at every door.
It is an all-year-long very popular spot, and, no-doubts, even more visited during summer thanks to its seaside location. We went there as a surprise gift from Dani for my birthday and spent the night in a hotel with views to the town (yay for the hubs!). Although quite near to Barcelona (in the map) the combination to go using public transport can be a little tricky if you are not familiar with our trains. The fastest way to get there is taking the high-speed train to Girona, then switch to a regional until Cerbere (where you are requested to show ID because it is already France) and then a French regional train to Collioure. The total travel time is 3:30 (including small transfer times) which is not that bad, right?
Become train pals with us and let’s visit Collioure, shall we?
Collioure is a very artistic town, and was the meeting point of the most important modern art painters like Matisse or Picasso, but also writers like Machado, whom is buried in Collioure’s cemetery, and the Master and Commander’s author the British Patrick O’Brien.
Some streets are completely devoted to artists, and it’s a frequent spot for people to acquire original art and prints. But it doesn’t end in these, as you can see in the picture below, the art flourishes almost everywhere in the town, even the electric switch box is the perfect canvas for unexpected art display.
Collioure has 4 different pebbled beaches, my favourite was the little one near to the hotel. Not for convenience reasons, but because being more isolated it attracted fewer swimmers. Also, as it is just in front of the hotel most people avoid it because they think it may be private. We had a cloudy afternoon on the first day and the water was quite cold, but it was very enjoyable to spend under water our first hour in the town.
The surprise had a super unexpected add-on. When we were in the first train, Dani took a box from his backpack that contained a film reflex camera! In fact a Pentax K-1000 (a 70s Japanese camera) he bought on ebay and I fell in love at first sight! The camera has a 50mm 1.7 lens, which is just the perfect lens for me (portrait addict) and he bought Kodak Potra 400 ASA film for me to load.
I think the ASA may be a little too much for my 1.7 because I found myself struggling a little while setting up, I maybe will try a 160 following the roll reco from Fee, our lovely Aussie friend that has such a good series on analogue cameras (check it out!).
I took around 20 pictures, trying to be wise because analogue (rolls, develop, scan) makes me a cheapo instantly, ha! So I still have a big amount of 16 shots left until I can discover if the camera is fully operational or not. Cross fingers for me, please!
Do you own a Pentax k-1000 or a similar camera? Which is your recommendation for film rolls?
Dani reserved a room in this lovely hotel that is facing the town, but also reserved dinner for us in their restaurant, which is extremely good and definitely suggest trying it if you have something to celebrate. I had never been into a seaside hotel before, and it was fun to be welcomed in the reception with beach towels and walk along the white open air corridors to get to our room, plus climb stairs up and down with direct access from the swimming pool to the beach.
The hotel kindly upgraded us to a bigger bedroom for my birthday (and I guess because we had reservation for their restaurant) so it was extra nice! Have you ever been upgraded for a similar reason? We only have been three times: in Japan and this time.
Have you ever been to Collioure or a nearby French coastal town? Which one should we visit next?