Collonges-la-Rouge: the Beautiful Red City
Collonges is located 125 km from the Périgord Noir (Sarlat) and 50mn from the natural park of the Causses du Quercy. At first sight, with its red walls and flowers, the small village of Collonges la Rouge of the 8th century takes you into another world. It is the village in the heart of the Dordogne Valley in Corrèze as well as the village of Martel with its steam train. Explore the stone monuments dating from the Middle Ages in the vicinity of the Périgord and the Dordone Valley.
The first most beautiful village in France
Collonges-la-Rouge proudly displays the "Most Beautiful Villages in France"simply thanks to the mayor of Collonges Charles Ceyrac from 1965 to 1996, initiator of the association in 1982.
The village was the first to be classified, thus becoming the first most visited site in the Limousin. The village is also classified as a Historic Monument and may soon be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On arriving in this listed village, we were first struck by the ruby red colour of the buildings and the 14th century fortified enclosure. Why is the stone so red in Collonges? It is a characteristic of the region with the geological fault that links Brive to Meyssac. Indeed, the sandstone soils contain iron oxide.
In the 14th century, the medieval village became one of the largest fiefs in France belonging to the viscount of Turenne. We invite you to visit the castle of Turenne.
Start your visit to this incredible village easily accessible on foot, after leaving your car in the car park at the entrance to the village from Meyssac. The price of parking in Collonges-la-Rouge is 4€ for the entire day.
But beware, the most beautiful village in France is very crowded, so opt for a very early visit from 9am onwards, when the craftsmen and shopkeepers open their shops.
A 15th century architectural style
You can see them from afar, they are typically French in style... These are the Towers of Collonges which culminate in the distance between the chestnut and walnut trees, no less than 25 turrets are visible.
Under its slate and lauze roofs you will find manor houses or modest thatched cottages as well as the large church and the covered market which faces it.
Collonges-la-Rouge is home to impressive residences and historical monuments from the 15th and 16th centuries such as the Ramade House of Friac avec ses deux tours de guet et la Mermaid House with its vaulted porch, period interior and mermaid sculpture. When you arrive at the entrance to the village you will see the Vassinhac castle with its elegant mullioned windows or the castle of Benge and its Renaissance window.
The beautiful Romanesque church of Saint-Pierre has a splendid limestone tympanum which contrasts with its red sandstone walls and an imposing Romanesque gabled bell tower. Its construction dates back to the 11th century and you will see its two naves where Protestants and Catholics celebrated services simultaneously. Collonges was an important stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Next to the church is the Chapel of the Black Penitents . Elle date du 14e siècle et était destinée à la sépulture de certaines familles locales, comme les Maussac. Observez les armoiries de la famille en haut d’une porte murée et sur une clé de voûte de la chapelle. Il faut attendre le In the middle of the 17th century and until the end of the 19th century, it became the meeting place of the Pénitents Noirs, a brotherhood of lay people dressed and hooded in black.
The must-see shops in Collonges
The charming village has many shops selling souvenirs where you can find products from the region and local crafts. By the way, don't look for inhabitants in Collonges-la-Rouge, they don't live there but rather in Meyssac. So stop by, you'll also find red stone buildings and more authentic restaurants at contained prices like the Ô ptit bistrô. Meyssac has been a stronghold since the 12th century with its half-timbered houses and its market hall.
It is the ideal place in Collonges to bring back quality products such as organic products and locally made aperitifs, wines and liqueurs ... But also craft shops for decorations, well-being with handmade soaps or lithotherapy like the stone and mineral shop The herbarium with its ceiling decorated with dried flowers is not to be missed. The charming little village is home to talented craftsmen in its cobbled streets, which you should discover during your visit.
If you come in the summer, don't miss the open-air performances on the Place du Lavoir every Tuesday and every first Sunday in August, the ovens of Collonges are put back into operation during the Bread Festival for demonstrations of baking bread like in the Middle Ages.
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Founders of Folk-Travel
⛰️ Globetrotters and landscape photographer. We had a passion in common when we met, that of great landscapes. It was enough for us to travel all over the world in search of the most beautiful photogenic spots. We take time for details, authenticity while remaining natural. Back from our road-trips we reveal our best places.
We take time for details and authenticity while remaining natural. Back from our road-trips we reveal our best places.
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