We’ve had a couple of lazy first days in Collioure. The unsettled weather has had something to do with that…sunny, then cloudy, dry, then raining, calm, then windy. Last night some severe thunder and lightning seems to have cleared the sky for the moment. Despite this we have been able to walk around town, meet some local artists, take a few photos, and do some sketching.
Collioure is all about the sea. It sits on a small bay below steep hills. An ancient castle stands atop the tallest hill to the south with a windmill just below it. Several other ancient and modern forts and castles sit atop neighboring mountains and hills. However, the Collioure Royal Castle is the centerpiece of the village and the waterfront. The Romans mentioned their castle here, Castrum Caucoliberi, existing in the 7th century. Built on those Roman foundations in the 13th century by the Knights Templar and added to in the 14th century for the Mallorcan royal family, this castle has seen it all. Collioure was the epicenter of the Spanish and French struggles to control Catalonia. The Spanish controlled by the Spanish Habsburgs until 1642, when French troops took the town and occupied the castle in the name of thee Bourbons. Despite Louis XIV’s additional fortifications the Spanish reclaimed the castle in 1793. However, their residency lasted only one year. Since that time it has remained in French hands. During the Spanish Civil War it house Spanish refugees. During Vichy rule those Spanish refugees were imprisoned and many sent to North Africa. Today the castle is an historic monument.
Today is the second of two market days. It is smaller than the Sunday market. We are off to shop!