Les Templiers, at 12 quai de Amirauté, is the most famous café in Collioure (it's also a restaurant and hotel). Customers have included Dalí, Dufy, Maillol, Matisse and Picasso, and many paid with their works, which is why there are 2,500 hanging on the walls. Not to be missed. With over 60 restaurants Collioure boasts many gems like this - you need never eat in the same restaurant twice. As to shops, you'll find anchovies and all kinds of other local products as well as clothes and, of course, art. Market days are Wednesdays and Sundays.
Above all, Collioure is associated with art and especially the group known as the Fauves. It was Matisse who, looking for a cheap place to live and paint, arrived in Collioure in 1905. Dazzled by the light and the colours he summoned his friend Derain and the two set to work, using bold colours straight from the tube. As a result, the critic Louis Vauxcelles called them 'les fauves' or 'the wild beasts'. Soon, others followed to Collioure including Dufy, Marquet, Picasso and Signac. Today Collioure has around 40 galleries as well as a Museum of Modern Art.
The history of Collioure is a long one and it was already a strategic settlement in Visigothic times. A tremendous amount has been preserved, including the impressive Château Royal, the famous medieval 'clocher' of the church of Notre Dame des Anges, originally a lighthouse, and the Fort Saint Elme. But most of all, you'll enjoy wandering the little alleyways of the old quarter with their brightly-painted cottages and boutiques - traditionally the fishermen would use whatever paint they had left over from their boats.
Studio des anges