Around France

“The Golden Girls” Day 9-10 Port Vendres and Collioure

Revisit Port Vendres and Collioure, France’s seaside towns, with my North Carolina friends and me. You may want to put these two on your “must-see” list!

Pont Vendres to Collioure

When “The Golden Girls” discovered Port Vendres and Collioure, the quaint towns along the Mediterranean, it was quite by accident. We were looking for an airport near Sete that had cheap flights to Italy. Girona, Spain, was only slightly over an hour’s drive from Sete. It was not far from the coast, so we could drive along the Med and, hopefully, find a seaside town where we could stop overnight before taking a flight to Italy.

Collioure jumped off the map as the perfect place. The tiny village is the picture-book image of what you’d expect in this part of the world. There was only one problem: Collioure had “no room at the inn.”

Apparently, Europeans know Collioure. It was packed with tourists. Not to be discouraged, we settled for the next best thing: Port Vendres, the town just a bit farther down the coast.

Visiting Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Port Vendres

We arrived in Port Vendres in the late afternoon. Having driven south from Sete, I stayed mainly on the “super” highway until we turned east at Perpignan. The first town we ran into on the Mediterranean was Canet-en-Roussillon. We stopped for lunch in a Spanish restaurant, Vigatane, then pointed Sally south along the sea toward Port Vendres.

Here’s our view from the car as we left the restaurant and drove towards Collioure and Port Vendres.

Tired and anxious to get out of the car for the day, we passed through Collioure, then came to Port Vendres and parked Sally in the town square. Just minutes after calling our Airbnb host to tell her we were in town, Anna appeared at our car.

Anna is a tall, blonde, and fair-complexioned woman of Scandinavian ancestry. She spends time between her apartment in Port Vendres and a home in the Pyrenees. To welcome us to Port Vendres, she guided us around the small business area, showing us her favorite restaurants and wine merchants.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Wine merchant in Port Vendres

Afterward, we set out for a night on the town.

Returning to our Airbnb “loft” to relax and sleep, we were there just in time to catch sight of the most glorious rainbow — surely a good omen for the next part of our adventure.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Rainbow photo by Arlene Wouters

Visiting Port Vendres and Collioure, France


We had a full day planned in Collioure, so we started early in the morning, giving ourselves enough time to grab a cafe latte and croissant and check out the Saturday Market in Port Vendres.

Backtracking, we arrived in Collioure and parked Mustang Sally at a hilltop rest stop. When we got out of the car, we realized the “rest stop” was the parking lot for a restaurant. We went into the restaurant, which was busy with staff preparing for lunch, and assured them we would return later for a meal–not just take a free parking spot.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Mustang Sally looking over Collioure.


From here, we could walk through most of the town, wade in the surf, and shop.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Seaside dining

We returned to the restaurant, thinking the day couldn’t get any better. Oh my! What a treat.  The entrance was near the top of the hill. The service area was down a narrow, stone stairway that led to the sea. When we reached where tables were set, we literally stepped onto a yacht, or what appeared to be one. Sitting at our table, we felt like we had set sail on a calm sea.





Port Vendres and Collioure, France

The food? It was heavenly.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Mixed seafood- Collioure

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Tuna Collioure

And the wait staff? Well, one Golden Girl thought he was HOT. You judge for yourself.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

We told him he could drive Mustang Sally if we could adopt him.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Visiting Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Musee Collioure. The artist is in the house. Our lunch was long and leisurely. We all agreed we are the “luckiest people in the world.” Still, we had time to wander into the town’s art museum. The small space handsomely displayed a collection of French artists such as Claude Viallat, Joan Brossa, Dominique Gauthier, Henri Marre, Matisse, and Jean Peské.

Port Vendres and Collioure, France

Francois Bernadi

Our good fortune was that one of the area’s well-known artists, Francois Bernadi, worked in the museum that day. We introduced ourselves, and he seemed as thrilled to meet us as we were to meet him. His exhibit, which spanned his career since 1945, had just been taken down to make room for the new show, but we did purchase posters that he proudly autographed with a personal message.

View at the top. We had a flight to catch from the Girona airport, which was less than an hour away. Before leaving Collioure, we drove to the highest spot in town. From top to bottom, high and low, this town should be on every tourist map. Love, love!

Photos: A big “thanks” to the Golden Girls for contributing some of the fab photos for this blog. We wanted to show you the best of the best! Next stop: Pisa, Italy

Next on the Golden Girls’ Tour: Pisa!

Port Vendres and Colliure, France

For more of the Golden Girls’ Tour

Day 1-4 Uzès

Day 5-6 Nimes, Pont du Gard, Avignon

Day 5-8 Sete, Beziers and Bouziques

9 replies »

  1. What an interesting post! Everything sounds smashing, and you’ve secured Collioure in my mental map of France. I have a hankering to walk the camino one of these years. Looks like I could pick up one of the routes about 40 miles north of Collioure (Narbonne).

    • Absolutely! You can easily get a train from Narbonne to Collioure. Sounds like a dream trip! Keep me posted, please.

    • I’m thinking I need to go to these places again! Thanks for following along. More temptation to come!

  2. please can i be a golden girl too? You need an irish one for luck!
    loved reading about your trip
    Pam (Port vendres)

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