Le Bus for 1€
If there is one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s art. I love sculptures in parks, graffiti in alleys, carefully plated food, fountains, gardens and, of course, art museums. Luckily for us, Céret was on a “Le Bus for 1€” route and just happened to have a highly recommended modern art museum.
From Perpignan, we took the city bus (pay when boarding) to the Gare Routiere where we caught Le Bus for 1€ (pay when boarding) to Céret. Once again, the ride and the scenery were worth the price of admission alone. After 45 minutes of inadvertently getting finger- and nose-prints all over our window, we arrived in Céret.
Vittles for the Vagrants
We arrived hungry and thirsty, not to worry, though, many eating and drinking establishments lined the tiny streets waiting to satisfy our needs. We selected one, found a table outside, ordered the Plat du Jour and a bottle of the house rosé (yes, sometimes we drink pink wine). We spent a wonderful hour and a half, sipping the wine, savoring the meats, the cheeses, and the bread, and, of course, people-watching and talking.
Amused by the Musée
Having satisfied our rumbling stomachs, and adding a nice glow to the day, we ambled toward the Musée. Now, museums of modern art can be hit and miss. Sometimes they are filled with video installations babbling nonsense or white-noise superimposed upon a disturbing or an uber-mundane video. Sometimes they are filled with amazing paintings or sculptures. You just never know, so we crossed our fingers, bought tickets, and asked how long it would take us to see the exhibits. We were informed that an hour should do it. Good. Not so big that if it sucked, we’d waste much of our lives.
The guest artist was Maria Helena Vieira Da Silva, Portuguese by birth. Why she is not widely known is beyond me. Her works were often geometric, sometimes portraits or self-portraits but always rich and full of flavor. Her later works expressed more agitation or maybe even mental maladies. The pieces were enthralling so we examined each one carefully and discussed them between ourselves.
In addition to the guest artist, a small permanent collection contained a surprising number of Picassos. He, Matisse, Chagall, and others found Céret to be a special place “to create.” A power-spot if you will, and you’ll get no argument here. It doesn’t take a great artist to realize this either as it was obvious to even us that the south of France and all of Catalunya were different. The light was different. The food was different. Even time was different. Submerse yourself in that for a bit and let the creativity bubble to the surface.
A Brief Exploration
Upon completing our tour of the museum, we realized that instead of an hour, we spent 2 1/2 hours! That was great but bad. We had planned to walk the cobbled alleys of Céret before Le Bus arrived, but now we had only 20 minutes. We hurried through a few streets, alleys, and hidden courtyards for 10 minutes then rushed to the bus stop in the remaining 10 minutes just in time to catch Le Bus. Hardly a respectable exploration of the guts of Céret.
After an excellent day in a beautiful town, I’m happy to report that the Musée d’Art Moderne in Céret totally blew us away. It was amazing that such a small town could have a museum of such high quality. If you are ever in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, take a day to explore Céret and the art museum, just be sure to give yourself enough time!
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