Cherry growing centre with a fine modern art museum
www.ot-ceret.fr. Main town of the Vallespir region and cherry-growing capital of the eastern Pyrenees, the tiny old town clusters around its church in a gracefully delapidated muddle of miniature squares and chunks of medieval ramparts dappled by plane trees. In keeping with the faded charm, the 14thC fountain on place des Neuf-Jets manages nine little dribbles, but the whole place comes alive on Saturday with a terrific market bursting out of place Pablo-Picasso.
Céret’s pride and joy is the Musée d’Art Moderne (closed Tues), boulevard Maréchal-Joffre, a fitting showpiece for a town which has been described as the ‘Mecca of Cubism’. In the early part of this century, the Catalan artist Monolo Hugué introduced a band of young painters to the town including Braque, Picasso, Gris, Jacob and Kisling. Soutine and Chagall followed, as did Pierre Brune who founded the museum in 1950. Recently renovated with dramatically increased exhibition space, the museum offers works by all Céret’s visiting luminaries, some with scrawled dedications to the museum itself.
A highlight of the collection is Picasso’s bullfighting pottery – all blazing sun and swirling cloaks. Céret also loves a corrida – the tourist office has details of bullfights held in the local arena.