It started out a sad-looking grey day, but that didn’t stop me. I needed a France fix and so I was off to Collioure. My friend Jaye had warned me that if I was coming for the weekly market, I wouldn’t find many stalls open, as everyone was recuperating from Christmas. What she didn’t tell me was that, in fact, practically the whole village was closed.
I had gone to look for Marseille bath soap and curtains for the living room. Removing the window shades that came with the apartment has resulted in my being on view to the neighbors. The solution -- having the shutters down -- means being in the dark during the day. I need curtains.
Once I had ascertained that Collioure was shut down, I went in pursuit of coffee and some sights to see. I found the famous bar Les Templiers that the early 20th century artists such as Matisse, Picasso, and Dufy once frequented. In fact, their pictures still hang on the walls, obtained, I believe in lieu of payment for their coffees and absinthes. All I had was a coffee with milk, there being no croissants. That alone cost me 2.90 euros. That’s expensive, even for France. It’s no wonder those artists had to barter with their paintings.
I figured sightseeing was free, so I found my way to the village cemetery. Not everyone likes to visit cemeteries on their vacation, but they have always been a favorite with me. In fact, one of my best vacation memories is my visit to the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris where I found the graves of Chopin and Edith Piaf and was impressed with how many people were still commemorating them with flowers. In Collioure I found the grave of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado who died in 1939, soon after coming to Collioure to escape Franco.
Lunch was at Le Saint-Elme, a very friendly and lively neighborhood restaurant that has couscous as its special on Wednesdays. Most people were having the couscous and that’s what I had too. It consisted of a grilled chicken leg, a meat ball made of lamb, and a sausage flavored with a hint of fennel, served on a bed of couscous accompanied by vegetables stewed in a sauce that were served in a casserole equipped with a ladle. With a glass of red wine, lunch was 18 euros and very well worth it.
|Asking for permission to photograph |
someone's dog always succeeds