According to a report last year by the Centre for Cities thinktank, cities in the north of England are outpacing London and the south in terms of economic growth.
Collioure - Saint Trope without the crowds
Can you imagine a more romantic destination than the one that was the inspiration for the brilliant artist Henri Matisse?
If you cannot, then you need to visit Collioure, a French town on the Languedoc coast, north of the border with Spain. Once, this place was a small fishing village, only to become an important military center and in the end, a meeting place for the artistic elite, such as Matisse and Darren. Today Collioure is a very popular destination with live downtown, interesting historical monuments and attractive beaches. The castle and the church created a fantastic backdrop for idyllic beaches, so when you're here, it looks like you are actually in the land of fantasy, miles away.
If you visit Collioure, be sure to take a walk after along the shore, where you will be delighted with the view of the castle. While wandering down Boramar Boulevard, you will find some great bars and restaurants on the coast, which will win you over with aromas of great food and a view of the perfectly prepared meals.
Then, you should go into the city, through the charming narrow streets and enjoy the scenes of houses with pastel facades. Be sure to visit some of the bazaars, which are mainly organized on Wednesday and Saturday morning, but because of the big crowd, be sure to go by foot.
As already mentioned, the royal castle of Collioure, Le Chateau Royal, dominates the scene of the seaside at the southern end of the harbor. At this place, the castle has existed since the seventh century, but the one you see now was built in the 13th century. Once place of the Templars, the castle became a royal castle for the King of Mallorca, before it became an important fortress on boundaries of Spain.
Another way to explore this idyllic town is to follow the path of Fauvism, which takes you through 20 locations, where Henri Matisse and Andre Derain painted and lived. Each of these locations contains a reproduction of the painting which they did, so that you can compare their work with the scenes that inspired them.
Matisse and Derain are not only artists who have spent their time here - Picasso, Duffy and many others have painted in this city, and because of such people Collioure remained known throughout the world as a haven for artists.
In Collioure, several types of accommodation are on offer - from the idyllic, retro option, or something fancier dedicated to the elite. You only have to choose how you want to experience this authentic place.
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