Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Make a Break for the Border; ALISON STACEY Discovers a Town That Combines the Appeal of Both France and Spain

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Make a Break for the Border; ALISON STACEY Discovers a Town That Combines the Appeal of Both France and Spain

Article excerpt

Byline: ALISON STACEY

NESTLED on the edge of the Pyrenees mountains, the coastal town of Collioure is a medieval hidden gem oozing with charm.

With a historic castle looming over the harbour, along with a distant background of mountains, there's no denying the unique beauty of the French town.

Just kilometres from the border, the Spanish influence is clear, with an abundance of tapas restaurants alongside traditional French patisseries.

This was my first visit to Collioure, and I was taken back by the place, with its cobbled streets, pebbled beaches and crystal-clear waters.

I spent the morning exploring the labyrinth of alleyways, which offer local produce and small art galleries, then stopping for a set menu lunch in the bay and watching the world go by.

The medieval fortress of Chateau Royal de Collioure sits proudly in the centre, and for [euro]4 you can explore the castle, roaming free through the tunnels and secret crypts.

First built in 637, it later belonged to 13th century Aragon King Jaume I, later coming under the control of the Balearic island of Mallorca.

Nowadays, it houses exhibitions of modern art inside, and if you trek to the top of its walls you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views across the bay and beyond.

Once you've got your bearings and explored the town, you'll probably deserve a late lunch and a glass of local wine. I headed to La Voile, an outdoor fish restaurant on the eastern tip of the Plage du Faubourg. Set into the rocks, you can get excellent food on the upstairs terrace, or relax with drinks at the water's edge.

The friendly service and beautiful views make it an ideal spot for drinks as you enjoy the late afternoon sunshine.

I was staying in Le Mas des Citronniers, a charming familyrun hotel in the centre of town. Despite its location, just a stone's throw from the bustling market square, the rooms are quiet and comfortable.

Request one in the annexe building, each of which boasts its own private terrace, perfect for eating your made-to-order breakfast while basking in your own little sun trap. …

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