Southern France is almost inevitably a synonym for the Côte D’Azur and its crowded beaches and millionaire hangouts in Cannes, Nice, and Saint-Tropez. Yet the western part of the Southern French coast has a lot to offer, too, and without all the crowds.
Beloved by the group of French painters known as Les Fauves, who drew inspiration from its red rocks and warm Mediterranean light at the beginning of the 20th century, the Côte Vermeille sits between the Pyrénées and the Mediterranean sea from Argelès-sur-Mer to Cap Cèrbere, on the Spanish border. Neither France nor Spain, this Catalunian French corner has a rocky coastline broken by sandy beaches, hills covered in vineyards sloping towards the sea and dotted with the ruins of ancient castles, a delicious cuisine and some truly magnificent landscapes. In other words, the perfect mix for those who love enjoy a quiet, relaxed vacation surrounded by beauty and local culture.
A long sandy beach. Restaurants, cafes and beach clubs overlooking a turquoise sea. Stores selling bathing suits and buckets & spades. Argèles is as close to a classic family seaside resort as you can get on the Côte Vermeille. But there is more to it: castles, natural preserves, and a beautiful cathedral housing and ancient churches.
Simply France’s most painted fishing village, which inspired Matisse and the Fauves with its cosy harbour, the unmistakable bell tower/lighthouse with the pink top, the castle, and the colorful houses with ochre roofs. In Colllioure you can still stay at the Hôtel-Restaurant les Templiers, a favourite of artists of the likes of Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall, now also housing a museum. To plunge into the town’s artistic past, we recommend that you walk along the Chemin du Fauvisme, a walking path that runs through the village’s most depicted views and landscapes, marked by the reproduction of the paintings they inspired.