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South of France: The Vermillion Coast

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The Vermillion Coast is a twenty-mile stretch of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea in the Pyrenees-Oriental region of southern France, stretching from Argeles-Sur-Mer in the north to Cerbere at the Spanish border. You could say it is a counter-part to the French Riviera, except it isn’t as expensive, chic, or exclusive as the renowned beaches in Provence. Be warned: the beaches here tend to be less sandy and more inclined to pebbles, with the exception of the vast expanses at Argeles-sur-Mer.

Collioure, France, is an idyllic seaside village on the Vermillion Coast. The village has all the required ingredients for a perfect Mediterranean village: Catalan colors in the charming buildings, a castle, lighthouse, winding streets, boutiques, and restaurants and cafes that line the beaches along the aquamarine sea beyond. Matisse and Picasso found inspiration here.

The Sunday morning market is a weekly event that draws hordes of people, but come early to get a coveted parking space. After browsing the wares of numerous vendors selling everything from sewing thread to fresh fish, enjoy a meal at a seaside café, and taste one of the local wines bottled nearby. Sun, sea, wine … life really doesn’t get much better.

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