Ceret is a tiny town in the county of Vallespir, in French Catalonia. It is famous for 3 things: cherries, its love of bullfighting and its Museum of Contemporary Art, an institution of the highest order in its field. Picasso and other famous painters lived in Ceret, which has impacted their cultural of history and for art. The historic heart of Ceret is quiet and very French, with many bars, stores of local products and art galleries. You can walk through its streets in search of charming corners. The walk is very characteristic with trees lining the outside of the walls, where public life is concentrated. In summer, in the shade of huge monumental bananas, it's nice to take a break in one of the many cafes.
It's funny to have to go to France to find a sculpture dedicated to the Toreros of the world. It is on the outskirts of Ceret, a population of French Catalonia with a strong bullfighting tradition. Camil is Fabrégas sculptor, ve was inspired by a design made by Manolo Hugué, a Spanish artist ve lived for many years in the city of Ceret. Around the statue one can find the coats of the countries where bullfighting is practiced as a part of tradition. A real rarity.
This museum is the main point of interest of Ceret and one of the top art galleries in the south of France. It was constructed in the 50s by a couple of collectors of Picasso and Matisse and houses collections of modern art. Ceret was early 20th century cubis mecca. Attracted by the Spanish pioneer Manolo Hugué, many famous artists chose it as residence. The Names of Picasso, Braque and Gris are intimately linked to the history of Ceret. Although small, the museum houses a first-rate artistic legacy and is inexcusable visit for lovers of contemporary art, especially the Cubist period. The access is easy, as it is in the center of the population.
La Porte de France is one of the 2 doors that are still standing in what was once the walled Ceret. It is of medieval origin (namely from the eighth century) but, in contrast, the side door into Spanish territory is more rustic, it has undergone many renovations and additions over the centuries, both Renaissance (which are easy to see) and times later. It's very French, not like the Spanish door. The door gave access to the center of the town and after it opens into a nice maze of alleys that one can discover.
The Pont du Diable can be found on the outskirts of town, over the Gothic Tech bridge. This bridge is an awesome feat of engineering, with a distance and a light that are truly amazing. Its name comes from a legend that it was built by the devil himself in one night. Actually, the audacity and expertise necessary to lift at that time were enough for his contemporaries considered him evil ... The pedestrian bridge is now right next door, at a minimum distance there are two modern bridges. One for traffic and one for the railroad.
This gate is one of 2 that have outlived the walls of Ceret, dating back to the 13th century. Beside the door itself one can find the remains of a tower, now a museum. The French are masters at the art of turning any debris into a monument and this stretch of wall is no exception. The door, which gives access to the old population is urbanized as a very nice park and opens in what was formerly the coastal path, which is now a very nice woodland walk abound the Parisian-style cafes. The door opens towards Spanish lands, an act for which it is also known by the Moors Gate.
Located in old Ceret, intramural, is the church of San Pedro, one with different architectural elements that were added for around a millennium. Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, Gothic and finally baroque are the 4 styles that can be seen in this temple that used to be attached to the walls and is literally embedded in the neighboring houses now. A part of it can be seen emerging between the houses in the woodland walk which focuses on the social life of Ceret.
This small sculpture currently located in front of the Tourist Office of Ceret is the work of Manuel Hugué, a Spanish (Catalan) sculptor who participated in the artistic revolution of the twentieth century and was the promoter of the artistic 'movement' with figures such as Picasso and Braque. There is a street named after Hugué ('rue Manolo', no less) and this artist's work was dedicated to French musician Séverac Déodat which helped to rescue from oblivion traditional Catalan music.
Situated in a quiet square in the heart of Ceret this fountain is monumental Gothic constructed during the reign of Sancho I of Majorca (XIV century). Subsequently its most striking feature was added: The lion crown. After the cession of Roussillon to the French monarchy, they added the words "Venite Ceretens, read gallus factus est" (Come, Ceretans, the lion has become rooster.)
La Capelleta is a small chapel that was once part of the hospital L'Hôpital Saint Pierre that dates back to the 17th century. The exhibition hall and museum are being renovated right now, with a collection of musical instruments from different Catalan eras. The exhibition hall is devoted primarily to promote local artists of today.
Le Cellier des Arcades is in the historic centre of Ceret. It's a small deli serving local produce and more. It has a cozy ambience and décor, and a good selection of wines, cheeses and groceries. You can taste some of the products in the store.
The annual "Fleurs Ceret" festival kicks off the spring season in Ceret, and is organized by the Merchants and Artisans Association. The city streets are filled with flowers. Sometimes, if the weather is right, the cherry blossoms are in bloom. This year many of them were artificial, but it still gave a nice spring ambience. By June, the festival comes alive again with the feast of cherries. This time, the people gather the ripe fruit that the blossoms announced a few months earlier.