Best Kept Secrets French-Spanish Borderland Sojourn
Your base town will be Collioure (pop. <3,000), a quaint harbor-village nestled between the vineyard covered mountains and the sea on the craggy shores of the Vermilion coast --home to renowned author Patrick O'Brian for 50 years. The colors and charm of this area inspired some of the most famous European painters of the 1900s. Collioure's winding roads leading through pastel colored buildings, its red rooftops contrasting against the green mountains, and its stately church and castle juxtaposed against the blue sea inspired Matisse and Derain to found a new art movement that emphasized the use of strong colors: Fauvism. Though there is so much beauty and serenity in Collioure that you could happily spend your entire sojourn there, you wouldn’t want to miss out on some of the other breathtaking spots nearby.
You'll stay in a locally owned boutique hotel located right on the harbor with its feet in the sand and sweeping views over the bay with its castle and lighthouse. The hotel was recently renovated: each room is named after one of the many artists who visited the region and features prints of the artist's work. The hotel houses the town's only Michelin star restaurant, where you will enjoy one of your meals. The hotel has a swimming pool in addition to beach access (note: the Mediterranean is brisk at the time of year we visit, so you may prefer the jacuzzi).