In the early 20th century Collioure became a center of artistic activity, with several Fauve artists making it their meeting place.André Derain, Georges Braque, Othon Friesz, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso,Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Dickson Innes and Tsuguharu Fujita have all been inspired by Collioure's royal castle, medieval streets, its lighthouse converted into the church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges and its typical Mediterranean bay. Collioure's cemetery contains the tomb of Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who fled here to escape advancing Fran coist troops at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.
The British historical novelist Patrick O'Brian lived in the town from 1949 until his death in 2000, and his novel The Catalans graphically describes Collioure life before major changes took place. He also wrote a biography of Picasso, who was an acquaintance. O'Brian and his wife Mary are also buried in the town cemetery.
Part of the action in Stephen Clarke's fourth comic novel featuring Paul West, Dial M for Merde, takes place in Collioure.
Ninety-eight reproductions of Matisse’s and Derain’s works are exposed exactly where these two masters of Fauvism painted the originals, in the early 20th century.
Collioure is also famous for its anchovies, which are referenced in Mark Kurlansky's book Salt as the best in the world