visit the tourist office in Le Boulou yesterday so Dave and I decided to accompany her for the cycle along the brilliant Voie Verte. It was a sunny wind-free afternoon and we even saw another hoopoe by the Plan d'Eau lakes! (Turns out they're a bit like buses ... !) Once at the tourist office, Marta got chatting with the staff which led to their offering to open up the historic Sainte Marie church. Sainte Marie dates from the tenth century with its impressive carved portal being apparently a twelfth century addition. Once inside, there are fifteenth century painted panels on the walls, but these are very dark so it was difficult to make out the scenes. However what really stands out is the incredibly flamboyant high altar which almost seems too big for the church. It is made of marble and, once we found the light switch to illuminate it properly, was astounding to see.
Sainte Marie at Le Boulou
Today we revisited our Le Racou to Collioure walk, this time with Chris and Marta and sunshine all day! We all treated ourselves to a delicious Menu de Jour lunch at Restaurant Le Dali which Dave recalled him and I visiting on our first visit ten years ago. Then we all made our way to the Musee d'Art Moderne which is a lovely little gallery with two floors of local paintings and photography ranging from wow to hmm! I particularly liked a pair of acrylic on wood works by Patrick Jude. Entitled Yin and Yang, they were created in 2005 and show the view out over Collioure harbour in a fun way. Other highlights included a series of sixteen wickedly detailed paintings by Emmanuelle Jude - all depicting tourists eating ice cream - and several weirdly staged photographs by Aurore Valade. Both the latter two artists are featured in this Vent Sud post about the Musee exhibition. This exhibition finishes on the 21st of February so we might just have to come back in March to see what's new!
Opposite Collioure tourist office we were lucky to also spot
Photo Expo ville de Collioure
a free photography exhibition being held in the old Mairie. Works included historic black and white photographs of the pre-war town and these were shown alongside early colour images probably from the 1970s or 1980s and present day shots capturing the vivid colours of Collioure as it is now. Several of the present day photographs were in black and white too - very sharp images compared to the early pictures. The Expo was subtitled Streets and Scenes of Streets in Collioure and showcased various ideas from large family and friend groups to empty streets, scenes of the town carnival, random ballerinas, people outside cafes and bars, and one memorable shot of two young women waist-high in snow! This exhibition finishes on the 31st January so we were pleased to have caught it.