Sub-prefecture of the Pyrénées Orientales
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Population: 7,820 (Céretans)
Specialities: Céret cherries, hazelnuts.
Personalities: Pablo Picasso, Déodat de Séverac, Frank Burty Haviland, Manolo Hugué, Joan Gris, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy, Chaïm Soutine, Dubuffet, etc. (painters), Max Jacob (poet). Martin Fourcade (world and Olympic biathlon champion), Maurice Richard (cycling).
Culture: Céret feria, cherry festival (May), Las Quérencias festival (flamenco), Music in Catalonia festival (August), book fair (September).
Sport: Céret Sportif (rugby, Fédérale 1), Céret FC, birthplace of Martin Fourcade (biathlon). Ronde cérétane, Rond'Color (running).
Economy: tourism, agriculture (cherry)
Websites and social networks: www.mairie-ceret.fr/fr/ceret / www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/ceret / www.vallespir-tourisme.fr/
CERET, A STORY
The Mecca of cubism
The destiny that would lead Céret, a small town in the Pyrénées-Orientales, to become a beacon of modern art in the history of painting began the day four young artists decided to travel from Paris to the South of France, to take a break in the sun, in Catalonia.
These "discoverers" were Déodat de Séverac, Frank Burty Haviland and Manolo Hugué, soon joined by their "leader", Pablo Picasso.
They were later emulated by Gris, Herbin, Kisling, Picabia, Dunoyer de Segonzac, and later still by Brune, Masson, Loutreuil, Krémègne, Soutine, Chagall, and many others such as Dubuffet, Dufy, Gargallo, Chapiro, Blatas, Pignon. Painters and sculptors, but also poets Max Jacob, André Salmon, Guillaume Apollinaire, Tristan Tzara.
It was here that unfailing links were forged with local artists and intellectuals such as Aristide Maillol, Pierre Camo, Victor Crastre and Ludovic Massé.
The international fame of the small town of Céret is thus the result of a succession of coincidences, of the meeting of individual destinies that give the peaceful capital of Vallespir a destiny and gave it its nickname: "The Mecca of Cubism".
CÉRET AND CYCLING
Céret is one of the new stage finishes in this Tour de France, but the town had already seen the Grand Prix du Midi-Libre pass through twice, in 1970 and 1988. In the latter year, it was British rider Sean Yates who won. From a sporting point of view, this sub-prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales is best known as the birthplace of biathlete Martin Fourcade, five-time Olympic champion and thirteen-time world champion. But it was also in Céret that Maurice Richard, the two-time hour record holder in 1933 and 1936, who set a record of 45.398 km on the Vigorelli velodrome in Milan, died in 1998.
Museum of Modern Art
The Céret Museum of Modern Art is the result of the visits and stays of the greatest artists of the 20th century in the town and its surroundings: Picasso, Braque, Gris, Soutine, Chagall, Herbin, Matisse, Masson, Krémègne and Miró, Tàpies, Viallat, Toni Grand, Bioulès... From Cubism to the School of Paris, from New Realism to Support-Surface, the collection presents an exhaustive panorama of the art of the past century.
The museum, created in 1950 by two protagonists of this artistic adventure, Pierre Brune and Frank Burty Haviland, has acquired an international dimension. Temporary exhibitions alternate between modern and contemporary art: they allow a better knowledge of the artistic passages in the south of France and Catalonia, and are also open to the international level.
The museum is currently undergoing an extension by architect Pierre-Louis Faloci, winner of the 2018 Grand Prix for Architecture. It could reopen in 2021 depending on the health situation.
Céret Instruments Museum (MùSIC)
MúSIC invites visitors to discover collections of musical instruments from around the world (including the famous Herzka Nil collection, the largest collection of reed oboes) and the cultural contexts and musical universes from which they come.
The museum space is intended to be a place of permanent exchange between cultures, a bridge between the intangible heritage of the East and the West. The place is open to the widest possible audience. Both laymen and specialists are concerned by the numerous proposals that are made throughout the seasons. Artists' residencies, temporary exhibitions, concerts, conferences, musical and choreographic workshops and instrument-making workshops create permanent links between artists, makers, lecturers and visitors.
Every year in mid-July, the Céret feria is the festive event of the town and beyond. It is a weekend awaited by thousands of visitors and the whole Catalan country, a weekend of blue and white colours, a weekend of festivities and Catalan traditions, where the visitor can vibrate to the sound of the horses' hooves and the toros during the abrivados, spend good times with friends or family in the shade of the bodegas, discover the art of bullfighting with the brand new craft market, admire the folk dances and traditional Catalan culture and enjoy the sound of the many bandas that will be roaming the streets of Céret.
Fountain of the Nine Spouts
Built in 1313 under the reign of King Sancho I of Majorca, this original fountain with its nine spouts is the symbol of a territory marked by revolts: in the 15th century, King Ferdinand II of Aragon crowned the fountain with a lion, emblem of Castile. After the annexation of northern Catalonia to France, the phrase "Venite Ceretens, leo factus est gallus" (Come Ceretans, the lion has become a rooster) was inscribed on the base of the fountain and, to reinforce the French hold on the local population, the lion's head was turned towards the kingdom of France.
The Devil's Bridge
Built in 1321 during the reign of the kings of Majorca, the Devil's Bridge is a true masterpiece of medieval architecture. A bold and curious construction, a 45-metre arch spans the river Tech. The keystone is 22.30 metres high. This majestic structure, both solid and graceful, is said to have been built by the devil himself in a single night.
Built to preserve the relics of this saint, the hermitage has been enlarged over the years to form the complete complex that can be seen today. It is both a place of worship and a place of leisure, with Cérétans coming here regularly to enjoy the fresh air, the peace and the view.
The hermitage consists of a chapel dating from the 13th century, which was rebuilt in the 18th century, a building adjoining the chapel used as the hermit's house and large buildings built more recently to accommodate the crowd of pilgrims.
Saint Ferréol lived in the 3rd century. After his sanctification, his remains were transferred to Moissac until the 13th century when the imminence of the crusade against the heretics led the monks to move them to another sanctuary for safekeeping. They chose Céret because of the fervour with which this Saint was venerated in this town.
Site of Fontfrède in Céret
Its greenery, its cool fountain, its balcony open on all the plain of Roussillon until the Mediterranean sea, its altitude at more than 1 000 metres make it a privileged site when the heat of the summer comes. But Fontfrède is also a border ridge. A path used in the 19th century by smugglers and traffickers... The proximity of southern Catalonia is reminded by the stele of the Escaped from France: many people crossed the border during the Second World War, guided by smugglers, to go and find the free forces, which earned the town of Céret the War Cross.
The reputation of Céret is inevitably linked to its cherries. And in fact, for more than 150 years, the cherry has found in this part of Vallespir a soil and a climate of predilection which give gourmets the joy of tasting the first French cherries from mid-April. In this production area, the southernmost in France, the soils are light, filtering, slightly piedmont. The spring is mild and not very windy. This favours good flowering and very early ripening. However, this traditional production has slowly declined and, after having weighed nearly 5,000 tons in the 1970s, the current harvest of Céret cherries is only 1,200 tons. In 1998, under the impetus of a few producers, the Céret cherry promotion syndicate was created, with the aim of relaunching production and encouraging a new commercial dynamic. Today, the syndicate federates about fifteen producers and has developed a quality charter which defines an optimal cultural itinerary, but also a finished product marketed under the Primélice brand.