Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Seeing red in Collonges-la-Rouge

We recently visited Collones-la-Rouge, one of France’s most beautiful villages.

It’s all in the ore. The luscious red stone buildings of Collonges-la-Rouge owe their hue to the 2.2 percent iron oxide contained in the local sandstone — the result of the Mayssac Faultline, that passes through the village. But the charms of this little town on the Limousin/Quercy border extend well beyond color. For this is the original plus beau village de France. In 1982, the mayor of Collonges-la-Rouge, Charles Ceyrac, founded an association to promote and protect France’s most beautiful villages. I recently wrote about the first official English-language guide to Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, and you can find that post here.



Collonges-la-Rouge is located in the Corrèze department, about 20 km south of Brive-la-Gaillarde. This area of the Dordogne Valley has been inhabited since the Gallo-Roman period. Through nine centuries, the village enjoyed the privileges of being part of the Viscounty of Tourenne, and under its authority the beautiful houses of Collonges-la-Rouge were constructed in the 1500s. The wine of this region was the main source of wealth until the phylloxera epidemic wiped out the vineyards in the 19th century. Soon after, wine gave way to the cultivation of walnuts and production of walnut oil.


Today, visitors can stroll past well-preserved homes and landmarks, and stop for a bite at any of a number of cafés and restaurants. Always on a budget, we opt for sandwiches, which we eat on a terrace behind the take-away resto.

Église Saint-Pierre in Collonges-la-Rouge

Interior of Église Saint-Pierre in Collonges-la-Rouge

Our walking route takes us past several castels, which are privately owned, as well as Église Saint-Pierre, Chapelle des Pénitents, and the covered market dating from the 16th century. The village is on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

Collonges-la-Rouge’s covered market was once the village’s grain and wine market.

The tourism office recommends other pretty villages in the area, and our day trip includes visits to several of them.


No comments:

Post a Comment