Our arrival in Collioure on the Mediterranean coast was a lucky break. We’d visited Carcassonne and were on our way to Barcelona. Stopping in Collioure for a long weekend looked like fun.
As it turned out, on Saturday and Sunday, it was the Anchovy Festival (Fete de l’Anchois).
Collioure is famous for its anchovies, in June every year they have a local fair to celebrate this fishing tradition.
We watched a colorful Catalan boat parade around the harbor, looked at pictures of Collioure painted by children, ate fresh-grilled anchovies, and bought anchovy-themed souvenirs (scarves, bracelets, earrings, tote bags, t-shirts).
Tip: Before the 17th century, Collioure was part of Spain, people spoke Catalan, a tradition that continues to this day.
In the grassy area along the harbor, local school kids had made an anchovy exhibit with silvery fish floating in the trees, a painted anchovy collage, and paper fishing boat with baskets of anchovies. Totally charming!
Saturday morning, first event was the Catalan boat parade. Brightly painted traditional fishing boats sailed around the harbor.
On the boats, people were dressed in Catalan costumes (men wear red caps, women white scarves, black shawls and red skirts), and singing Catalan songs.
At lunchtime, barbeques were set up, and we enjoyed a plate of fresh-grilled anchovies, glass of wine for adults, juice for kids. Sitting on the pebbly beach, we ate lunch with our fingers.
Fresh anchovies are quite different from anchovies preserved in olive oil or salt. The taste is mild and light, with slightly salty flavor.
On Sunday, prizes were awarded for the best children’s pictures, 6 – 8 years old, and 9 -12 years old. Paintings were delightful, capturing the color and spirit of Collioure!
Vive la Fete de l’Anchois!
Tip: If hotels in Collioure are booked up, just up the coast, the resort town Argeles-sur-Mer has plenty of hotels and vacation rentals.
And find more fun things to do with kids in Languedoc-Roussillon on Travel for Kids.