Thursday, December 06, 2012

Christmas Market Collioure

Chateau Royal - parking is free for the market
The Chateau Royal in Collioure has had, like most old castles, a chequered history. The Knights Templar built the castle on the fortified site in the early 13th century and since then, it has been occupied by the Kings of Majorca who held court there in the 14th century and the Spanish and French have fought over it and occupied it over the years.
A touch of class - Collioure market
More recently, in 1939, it served as a men's prison, a sort of disciplinary camp for those fleeing from Franco's Spain. Men who tried to escape from the horrific conditions of the camps in Argeles sur Mer, St Cyprien and Le Barcarès were sent to the castle, before being carted off to North Africa to God knows what fate.
Please come back Santa!
Today, the castle is a tourist destination, a happier place to hang out and hosting one of the most sumptuous Christmas fairs in the area.
The music man in his sunny spot. A real character
We went there with the kids who thoroughly enjoyed the hot chocolate and mince pies from Nigel and Catherine Bradley, the music, donkey rides and gaggling with the geese. There are live bands, camel rides for the brave, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and crepes and loads of gorgeous stalls inside selling artisnal goodies.
The view from the tower of the castle
It's on until the 9th December, entry is free. Not to be missed if you are in the area.

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