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Collioure coat of arms
Collioure (France)
region Occitania
Department Pyrénées-Orientales
Arrondissement Ceret
Canton La Cote Vermeille
Community association Albères, Côte Vermeille et l'Illibéris
Coordinates 42 ° 32 '  N , 3 ° 5'  E Coordinates: 42 ° 32 '  N , 3 ° 5'  E
height 0-655 m
surface 13.02 km 2
Residents 2,427 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 186 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 66190
INSEE code

The bay of Collioure with the fortified church

Collioure (in Catalan Cotlliure ) is a French commune with 2,427 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017) in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of the Occitania region . The inhabitants are called Colliourencs (Catalan. Cotlliurencs ).


Along with Argelès-sur-Mer and the neighboring Banyuls-sur-Mer and Port-Vendres, Collioure is a tourist attraction on the Côte Vermeille north of the Pyrenees . It belongs to the growing area of ​​the sweet wine Banyuls (VDN) . Collioure is an old fishing village with two harbor bays separated by an old royal castle, delimited by its picturesque fortified church , whose tower was formerly a lighthouse.

Origin of name

Two explanations are suggested:

  • The name is of Iberian origin ( Latin - Basque for some, Ibero- Ligurian for the others). It is composed of the stem kauk (deep, bay) and the ending illiberi (new town); this ending was also used for the place Elne until the 4th century .
  • The name comes from the Latin cautio liberi . This would explain the -t- in the Catalan place name Cotlliure , with the ending lliure from Latin liber (German: free ).


The area was already settled in prehistoric times, as can be seen from the countless dolmens , so u. a. near the well-preserved hamlet of Rimbau on the Molló Pass and in l'Arqueta .

Excavations in front of the castle have shown that the place was already in the 6th century BC. Existed. It played a significant role in ancient times , where it served as a port for the nearby town of Elne .

Collioure is first mentioned in 673 as Castrum Caucoliberi . A later text from the 9th century, based on an older text from the 5th century, also uses the name Caucholiberi . In the following years there developed the spellings Cochliure , Cocliure temporarily in Cobliure or Copliure , simultaneously in Coblliure or Coplliure transformed. The Catalan spelling Cotlliure was not used very often. The French spelling developed in the 19th century.

The castle was mentioned as early as 673, proof of its strategic and commercial importance during the Merovingian era. This year the place was conquered by the Visigoths . Later occupations by Saracens and Normans followed.

The original castle was built in 981 by the Counts of Roussillon , after which the place was under the rule of Aragon . The present castle (1173) also dates from this period. During the subsequent reign of the kings of Mallorca , the square donjon on the rock spur was completely renovated between 1242 and 1280 and converted into a royal residence. The place remained the most important trading port of Roussillon in the Majorcan Empire. In particular, the famous Perpignan cloth , bed linen, oil and wine were exported, while spices, oriental fabrics and other exotic products were imported.

The Spanish kings Charles I and Philip II had the castle converted into a citadel , reinforced by Fort St. Elme in the south and Fort Miradou in the north. It should be mentioned that there was another castle in Collioure, which the Templars had built during their almost 100-year presence and which became a castle of Malta after the forcible dissolution of the order (around 1312) .

Plan of the Vaubans fortress

The French occupation at the end of the 15th century, when the place was ordered by King Louis XI. in Saint-Michel (1475-1481) was renamed. After the capture in 1643 as a result of the Peace of the Pyrenees , its strategic importance was redefined by fortress builder Vauban , who wanted to turn it into a garrison site . He dragged the old town to expand the castle and to build new forts and extensive entrenchments .

The fortified church in Collioure

The population threatened with relocation to Port-Vendres decided to rebuild the city in its current location, the Vieux Quartier du Mouré . In 1793 the place was occupied by Spanish troops and liberated by General Dugommier in May 1794. Collioure remained royal property until the revolution .

In the 19th century, Collioure experienced a significant economic boom due to the expansion of fishing , especially the success of the Collioure anchovies , and viticulture. The upswing continued until the beginning of the 20th century: After a high point in 1857 with 3846 inhabitants, it fell back to 2830 inhabitants in 1901, which corresponded to a loss of 1000 inhabitants in five decades. The development of Port-Vendres undoubtedly made up for this.

During this period, Collioure underwent a profound change that contributed to its tourist development: in 1905, Henri Matisse came here to paint in Collioure, accompanied by André Derain , who developed Fauvism . Other painters followed, including Georges Braque , Raoul Dufy , Foujita , Othon Friesz , Juan Gris , Albert Marquet and Pablo Picasso .

The Château Royal served from March to December 1939 as a detention center for refugees from the Spanish Civil War that were considered particularly dangerous (mainly anarchists and communists ). The so-called Camp Spécial was notorious for the inhumane treatment of the up to 1,000 Spanish interned, some of whom did not survive the camp. In December 1939 the prisoners were transferred to the Camp de Vernet internment camp .

In the 20th century, the population stabilized between 2500 and 2900 inhabitants. Today, the place is visited by tens of thousands of tourists every year in the holiday season, who determine the image of the small town. On the one hand they represent a burden for the infrastructure and the lives of the locals, on the other hand they create and secure many jobs and give the place an international flair.


The Tour de l'Étoile (also called Fort rond ) from 1725. In the background the bay of Argelès .
Fortress Fort Carré , along with the 1725 rond Fort built
  • The Chemin du Fauvisme in Collioure is a reminder of the origin of Fauvism there: reproductions of the paintings made there are attached in 19 places.
  • The already mentioned fortified church Notre-Dames-des-Anges was built between 1684 and 1691 by Vauban in place of the razed church of the upper town. Its gloomy interior contains nine carved retables , which are unusually remarkable , including the three-story high altar, which occupies the entire apse and was created by the Catalan Joseph Sunyer in 1698. It is no coincidence that the strange bell tower is reminiscent of a lighthouse, as it actually had this function in the past.
  • The former islet of Ilot St-Vincent , on which there is a chapel and a lighthouse , is connected to the church by two small beaches.
  • The Vieux Quartier du Mouré rises steeply with its narrow streets and stairs from the harbor next to the church and is invitingly decorated with flowers.
  • The brasserie Hôtel des Templiers on the Quai Amirauté houses countless original works of art by artists who settled in Collioure. Very famous artists such as Henri Matisse , Maurice Utrillo and Pablo Picasso also came to the brasserie regularly and left the landlord with pictures instead of payment - these originals are not open to the public.
  • The Château Royal is the already mentioned royal castle, built by Vauban , which separates the Port d'Amont from the Port d'Avall . Underground passages, battlements and the parade ground can be visited as well as the prison from the 16th century, the chapel from the 13th century and the queen's bedroom.
  • The fortification Fort carré et tour de l'Étoile à Collioure from the early 18th century in the north of the city.


  • In Collioure is the grave of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado (* 1875), who, like many of his compatriots, was able to flee to Collioure at the end of the Spanish Civil War , where he died and was buried on February 22, 1939. In the cemetery there is a mailbox in which letters for the poet are still being received.
  • René Llense (1913–2014), French national soccer player, was born in Collioure.

Web links

Commons : Collioure  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See: Collioure in the French-language Wikipedia
  2. ^ Collioure website , accessed October 4, 2019
  3. , accessed on January 4, 2015