Picasso, Manolo and the Master of Cabestany. Céret and Le Boulou

Originally this post was to be named “Following the steps of the Master of Cabestany: Le Boulou”.

Originally I just pretended to pay a short visit to the village of Le Boulou (Southern France), take some photos of the Sainte Marie Church portal, sculpted by the Master of Cabestany (12th century), and go back home the same morning.

But there was a problem: Céret.

Céret FranceCéret is a charming little village located very close to Le Boulou (barely 15 minutes drive) and very close to the Pyrenees range.

Pirenees view from CeretFor some kind of magical reason, this French village has always exerted an enormous power of attraction over highly talented minds from the other side of the border. For instance, Pablo Picasso …

Picasso came to Céret following the recommendation of his very good friend Manolo, and spent there long and productive seasons in 1911, 1912 and 1913. During those agreeable seasons in Céret, Picasso evolved towards the synthetic cubism, which included the invention of the now famous technique called “collage”. Thus, Picasso invented the collage in Céret. His first collage was created in May of 1912.

Let’s talk a little about Manolo now …

Manolo (Manuel Martínez Hugué, Barcelona 1872 – Caldes de Montbui 1945), was a great sculptor. He lived in Céret from 1910 to 1927. At the Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid, you can see Manolo’s “La Llobera” (Old Catalan Woman), sculpted by this maestro in Céret in 1910-1911.

If you are interested in the bohemian life of Manolo (or simply if you enjoy reading outstanding literature), and if you speak Spanish and/or Catalan (the book is available in both languages), I cannot but recommend to you the outstanding book “Vida de Manolo” (“Manolo’s Life”), written by another highly talented friend of him: Josep Pla.

Ceret Museum of Art

The Museum of Modern Art of Céret (pic above) has some great works by Picasso, Manolo and other “friends” who visited this nice village (Dalí, Miró, Braque, Sunyer …)

Ceret street

So, if highly talented minds are strongly attracted by this wonderful village, how could a highly untalented mind like mine avoid its magical call? Impossible. I drove my little car to Céret. Le Boulou could wait. It was Saturday morning.

Saturday morning in Céret means open-air market …

Open-air market Ceret

Open-air market anywhere in France means lots of people wandering around:

Ceret market

Open-air market in these latitudes means lots of garlic:

Ceret food

Open-air market means fun:

Crowded Ceret

You’ll need a bag to carry your garlic and your fun:

market bag

They sell other things, like bottles containing mysterious golden liquids:

sunny Ceret

They sell living things too:

pig ceret

I like France very much:

Céret Mairie

It is a nice country and it is full of people:

Cafe Ceret

There are some tranquil corners in Céret too:

Ceret corner

Céret has a barbershop:


Céret has a nice church:

Ceret church

Céret’s nice church has an outstanding organ:

Ceret organ

This is a charcuterie:


Céret’s little streets are filled with big trees:

Ceret avenue

This is Céret’s Medieval bridge, a place surrounded by a myriad of legends:

Ceret bridge

The landscape that surrounds Céret inspired lots of beautiful paintings, like “Paisaje de Céret”, 1912, by Joaquim Sunyer.

As a matter of fact, the landscape that surrounds Céret is really magnifique

Ceret landscape

Well, that’s ok for Céret.

It is time to follow the steps of the Master of Cabestany and complete this post.

Destination: Le Boulou

Le Boulou 1

This is Le Boulou (above) and this is its Sainte Marie Church (below)

Master of Cabestany Le Boulou

Master of Cabestany parvis …

Master of Cabestany square

It is a little difficult to take detailed photographs of the portal’s highest section from this little parvis (square).

Cabestany Portal Le Boulou

You’ll find more info (in French) and detailed pictures (in the universal language of photography) in this pdf made by the Mairie (City Hall) of Le Boulou.

Cabestany Le Boulou 1

The pass of centuries has damaged the wonderful portal here and there.

Cabestany portalYes, taking good pictures of this portal was difficult. Moreover, I had a slight problem: it was almost lunchtime and I was very hungry. I was afraid that my empty stomach was about to produce some disturbing noises in this silent and little square if I didn’t feed it up soon.

Capitel by Cabestany

French restaurants are superb, but I prefer those of Girona. So, I opted to cross the border (theoretical border, as within the European Community there are no physical borders) again. Urgent destination: Restaurant El Trull d’en Francesc, in the village of Boadella d’Empordà (Alt Empordà, province of Girona).

I wanted to test their new Spring Menu (3 courses and a dessert), for no other reason than adding a little more color to this post (www.trull-boadella.com):

1.- Cream of green asparagus with thin slices of sheep-cheese:

Trull cream

2.- Peas braised with small octopus:

Trull's spring menu

3.- Pigs trotters with fresh morel cream:

El Trull Boadella

4.- Sin of chocolate with lemon sorbet and orange cream:

Sin of chocolate

No doubt, it is a wonderful spring …

Boadella d'Empordà

This post is the result of a morning spent following the steps of that very mysterious Medieval artist known as the Master of Cabestany.

Thank you, Master!

The Master of Cabestany



About Covetotop

A Mediterranean blogger
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8 Responses to Picasso, Manolo and the Master of Cabestany. Céret and Le Boulou

  1. Sarah says:

    Another lovely tour! The trees along the city streets are amazing and the food…wow! 🙂

    • Covetotop says:

      Thank you, Sarah! Céret certainly has amazing trees. It is a nice contrast: a little village full of gigantic trees. As far as food is concerned, to be sincere, when I wrote this post I wasn’t very sure if featuring local dishes as octopus, pig trotters etc would be a bit “too exotic” for some international audiences -excluding Super Chefs like you, of course 😉 -…

  2. a ferreira says:

    There’s another Master to be considered here, and that’s Covetotop! Your selections are always amazing – thank you, Master! 🙂

    • Covetotop says:

      You are too kind, Ana! Thank you. But Masters are those artists who work with their hands & minds. Taking a walk in a nice village, on a Saturday morning, taking pics here and there, is really a simple task: no masters here 🙂

      • a ferreira says:

        Ah Ah! Yes, sure, everybody can walk around and take pictures, and more than that, everybody can even publish posts.
        That’s why there are soooo maaaany interesting blogs like Covetotop’s (I must have been inattentive…)! 😉

      • Covetotop says:

        Of course!!! 🙂

  3. You start with the sculpture and – after a whirlwind tour through places i never knew could even exist – you leave us drooling like Pavlov’s dogs for some nice food. Note to self: check out Covetotop after dinner, not before… 😉

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