This is the first of five photos posted here. Scroll down for the other views of this village and the one immediately south of it. These exceptionally picturesque villages are just a few kilometers north of the French border with Spain. Collioure is known for its anchovies, and Port Vendres is a working port for large freighters (!) and has been since the ancient Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans because of its deep harbor and strategic location along the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The painters Henri Matisse and Andre Derain made Collioure famous when they lived here in the early 1900's and started painting the brilliantly colorful images that earned them the name Les Fauves (the wild animals) !! Gauguin was also part of this group of friendly rivals who painted rich vivid scenes, saturated with intensely vibrant color. Here is a description of Les Fauves: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauvism The town has a museum dedicated to their beautiful work. Here are traditional fishing boats moored at the base of a massive Spanish fort whose wall you see and which is definitely worth visiting. It guarded the town and its passage inland for centuries.
(Barely visible in the shining water are a happy group of little harbor ducks that were enjoying the afternoon sun.)