TRAVEL with pat and lew

Collioure natives

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 23, 2007


Sam (the realtor), who speaks perfect English, was the first breakthrough. Not only is he an excellent realtor, but he is friendly and he became our friend. Whenever we had a problem, we could go to his office or call on his cell phone, and he was always willing to help. He found us a plumber. He told us how and where to pay our taxes. He came to our apartment to help get our Wanadoo connection connected. And we didn’t even buy our property through him.


Madeleine, who works with Sam, is a gem. We first met her when she opened up Kristina’s apartment on our first visit to Collioure in 2005. She always has a big smile and a cheerful word. It was very exciting for us, strangers in Collioure, to cross paths with Madeleine and her husband one night walking through the village.  

One day in her office, we discuss my novel The Heretic, and Madeleine says she would like to read it. I’m happy to loan her a copy (I only have two with me in Collioure), but she says it will take her a while to read a novel in English, something she has never done before.

I give her the book just before we go off to Australia for a month, and receive this email shortly before we return:

Hello Pat and Lew! Hope you are healthy and happy! I thank you again to have given to me the chance to read your book ! I really enjoy to read it: – at first because of the style, it’s easy to read, and understand the story of this family and the historic facts. And also because I had the feeling to live (maybe) the story of my own family (born in Spain and being obliged to leave and go to Algeria!) I have learned a lot and would be happy to see you when you come back to Collioure to speak about it. A bientot and all the best for you both. Madeleine.

This was the first time we had any inkling that Madeleine’s ancestors had been Spanish Jews, subjected to the same persecution faced by my fictional family in The Heretic.


Lawrence owns Café Sola, the sports bar at the very center of town. On our first trip to Collioure in 2005, his imperfect internet connection was the only game in town. We used it every day, and when it didn’t work, Lawrence let us use his own computer in the back room. It’s a great pleasure for us to wave hello to Lawrence almost every day we walk through town. ps. he now has a better internet connection.


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