Monday, February 28, 2011


Last Friday I decided to take a day trip to the city of Collioure, France with another girl in my program. I want to start seeing other French cities, especially ones in the south. Also, I will going to Paris this week and am taking the train by myself so I thought I would figure out how the whole process works. So why Collioure? I actually had never heard of it before, my friend actually read about it in her Rick Steves travel book and it was some place she hasn’t been to yet in the south. She takes day trips to different cities every weekend! In fact the next day she went to Marseille. Anyway, Collioure is a city right on the coast really close to Spain and about a two and half hour train ride. With the 12-25 card the train tickets were only about 30 euros. Sites to see there include the incredibly blue ocean that inspired artists, such as Matisse and Picasso, le Château Royal, the church of Notre Dame des Anges, a wind mill, and a fortress. Navigating the Montpellier train station was super easy, I will definitely be able to do it all by myself later in the week. The train was about 20 minutes late to station and then halfway through the ride it randomly stopped because there was something going on down the tracks. The loud speaker in our car was too quiet and muffled to hear anything, so towards the end of the trip we paid a lot of attention to what stations we were stopping at. Willow says that that’s common…but not the whole train being late and stopping randomly.
Randomly stopped in the middle of nowhere, and surrounded by water???
Collioure’s tiny train station only has one platform and one ticket vendor.
Arriving you could already tell that this city was a little nicer than Montpellier. It was cleaner, quieter, and the houses were very colorful.

However, their public bathrooms are still typical of France!

Here is the first one we stopped at. They are squatters with no toilet paper! I don’t understand! And even if the toilets have an actual bowl there is no toilet seat! Ok no more ranting about toilets. It was a beautiful sunny day, a little windy, but still warm. There were no clouds in the blue sky and the ocean is even bluer! We went straight to the beach because we were so excited.
First glimpse of the sea.
Sail boats.
The beach was rocky and I found a bunch of cool ones. This orange one is definitely my favorite.
Willow on the pier with Notre Dame des Anges in the background.
A view of Château Royal and the pretty water.

We were pretty hungry, so then we stopped and got lunch. We are near Spain so Willow really wanted to get Paella, not for me though because I don’t like fishy things! I got a chèvre chaud salade, which has become one of my favorite French salads. After lunch we then visited the castle! This is my first visit to an intact castle. Château Royal has a long history of different occupiers, ending with none other than Louis XIV who made the castle huge.

The best part of the castle was the many views from the ramparts of the ocean, Notre Dames des Anges, the windmill, and the fortress.

Next we walked back to the beach area to visit Notre Dame des Anges. The inside had a lot of decoration, especially the main altar.
If you put a euro in a machine the lights turn on and spotlight the work.
Then we walked to a small chapel that is right on the water and next to the pier.
Then we walked back to the other side of the castle to hike up to the windmill. Along the way you pass an art museum of paintings probably by the famous artists who were inspired by this area. We didn’t end up visiting this museum, being outside and enjoying the views was much better.

We then walked to back yet again to the beach area and explored the city streets. We found some delicious gelato and a store that sold photographs of Collioure by different photographers. Last year there was actually a snowstorm in March! The pictures of the beach covered in snow were amazing and hard to believe.
Once again we went back to the rocky beach and just hung out until we had to go back to the train. I found some more rocks, while Willow found a bunch of “lucky glass”.

We were also foiled yet again by the public bathrooms…at least this one came with a view and pigeons.

I definitely recommend visiting Collioure; it’s a wonderful spot for a day trip or even a night’s stay. Maybe go when it's warmer too so that you can go swimming in that gorgeous water!

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