Every Holiday Has a Story to Tell!

In The Province Of Limousin In France

  THE VILLAGE OF “COLLONGE-LA-ROUGE” – (Part One)
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At the beginning of June I took a 20 days holiday to the Province of Limousin in France.

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It’s been my dream to one day tour the province and visit all the beautiful spots that Limousin offers.  I suggested to my friend that one day I would like to visit the Village of “Collonge-la Rouge.”  Then he replied to me, “Why Collonge-la Rouge?”  The reason he asked me that question was because when he was very young, he’d visited the Collonge-La-Rouge only once, and at that time, it was only a normal historic village and nothing more of what I wanted to see today.

With his busy young French lifestyle he had many years ago, he never went back there again until we happened to be friends many years later.  I then said to him that as I was browsing through information about Limousin, I happened to find out of the village called Collonge-La-Rouge which is a very pretty village with lots of interesting history.   The conversation ended there.  The following morning after I woke up, he said to me, “we are going to the “Collonge-La-Rouge” tomorrow because I want to realise your dream!  I was really overjoyed with happiness as he too wanted to know what had become of Collonge-La-Rouge for all those years he never returned there for a visit. 
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008 IMG_0258.JPGMy main reason for wanting to go visit the village was  that I discovered that it is one of the main tourist attraction of Limousin that everyone who visits Limousin never leave without visiting “Collonge-la-Rouge” and it twisted my mind that there is more to this that makes everyone go there and why not I shouldn’t visit.  Secondly I wanted all the beautiful pictures to blog for others around the world who have never gotten the chance to visit France or even reached the Collonges-La-Rouges. As I am a crazy blogger, I love traveling, take pictures and share with the rest of the world.

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009 IMG_0264.JPGA Brief History of Collonge-La Rouge

Collonges-la-Rouge is a commune in the Corrèze department in the Limousin region of France, in the arrondissement of Brive-la Gaillarde

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011 IMG_0308.JPGThe village is dated from the 8th century when monks from Charroux (now in Poitou-Charentes) founded a priory there. Collonges then developed around the churches and priories in or around the 13th century when the settlers of the village were granted freedom from taxes by the Viscounts of Turenne. Within the countless centuries many aristocrats and business tycoons, merchants and traders built their chateaus and houses in the vicinity of the village.

The Tour of Friac (Tour de Friac)

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The Sisters’ Residence

007 IMG_0256.JPGThe village became successful financially from the vineyard until the climax of the 19th century when a pest of vines called phylloxera that contagiously destroyed the vines and the whole of France vine farms suffered from that same pests.  Latterly Collonge-La-Rouge prevailed on expanding a parochial trade hinged on tourism.

Wisterias IMG_0273.JPGLa Tour embraced by Vines

Wisterias IMG_0332.JPGVines is a typical plant around the Red Brick Village

wisterias IMG_0334.JPGFirst  coup d’œil of the village

The village of Collonges-la-Rouge unveil itself as we walk up the path from the parking lot.  As we approached the unknown, the other side of the road was also very attractive with a hillside of green trees over- looking the Red Brick village of Colonges-la-rouge.                                               001 IMG_0247.JPG

The first thing I noticed when I arrived is the colour of the buildings – more or less all the houses have been constructed from the local sandstone, which is very red and not looking like any village I have previously seen!

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France has many beautiful country villages and Collonge-La-Rouge is one of them.   It is a very captivating and charming village that is very, very  popular with visitors and holiday makers alike especially in the Summer season from April to September.

As we strolled down the main street of the Village, the view is extraordinary and very inviting

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The Lavender against the Red Brick wall caught the attention of my camera

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The village took its name from the latin word of colony and the deep red local sandstone which was used for erecting the buildings. The wealthy opulence of Wisterias and vines taking tolls on all the red brick residential homes and historical monuments will keep vivid images in the memories of our visit for a very long time.

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At first before you start your walk around the historical village, and you are hungry or thirsty, there are restaurants of choices to choose from that will satisfy your hunger to enable your energy to walk you around the superb ancient red village of Collonge-La-Rouge.

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To note, if you don’t know where to start, just pop in at the tourist office and collect a map of the village that will guide you to the illustrious building with a brief history of each one of them.

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As we strolled through “les petites rues,” we came to “Halle aux Grains,” better called as “Communal ovens,” which is dated before the French Revolution. I learned that this is where the villagers foregathered to bake bread.  The “Hall aux Grains” is also used as the Village market. And the bread oven is lighted up only once on the first Sunday of August.

The Village market known as “Halle aux Grains” together with the bakery

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A closer view of the bakery

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EXPLORING COLLONGES-LA-ROUGE

Collonges la Rouge is a stunning place to traverse, as each small petite rue takes you from one red brick house to another or you find  yourself at a pretty patch of a garden. Also the ancient centre is also pedestrianised which constitute greater to the beauty of a visit.

A petite rue through an opens arch way that leads to another side of the village or to a garden

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MAISON LA SIRENE – “House of The Mermaid”

At the bottom of the main street is la Maison de la Sirène (House of the Mermaid) which was possessed by Henry de Jouvenel.  Maison  de la Sirene is a 16th century house that has a visage of a mermaid at the side of the door!  ”It made me think that for many centuries a mermaid’s been living away from the ocean.”  On 3rd July 1983 the village released a “3 French Franc” postage stamp depicting “la Maison de la Sirene.”

The main square of the Village and the house at the bottom of the street is the “House of the Mermaid.”

La maison de la sirène du XVIème siècle. Rien ne manque colombages, encorbellements, fenêtre à meneauxIMG_0259 Maison de la sirene and the main square of collonge la rouge.JPG

 Eglise de St Pierre – (St Peter’s Church)

A small village, Collonges-la-Rouge doesn’t take long to scout.  The 12th century roman style Church of “Saint Pierre” (Saint Peter) is the dominant building of curiosity in the village and particularly fascinating –  for it is the only structure that has a white stone in its decoration at the head of the entrance doorway. The tympanum made of Turenne white limestone with the red sandstone used in the rest of the building.  The art of the sculpting represents Christ with two angels and the twelve apostles.  The representing ascension of Christ was hidden during the wars of religion and was restored in 1923.

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THE PRIORY

A priory was built in the 16th century, has been a historical monument since July 4, 1951 for its facade with balcony and its roof.  Adored by the beautiful green vines that crawls the red stones in the Summer seasons.

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ST JACQUES DE COMPOSTELLE

Le Chemin de St Jacques de Compostelle – St James Trail or St James Pilgrimage – it is a pilgrimage that takes place once a year in France where thousands of pilgrims arrived from different parts of the world to walk the pilgrimage of St James of Compostella. 

Les petites rues that the pilgrims walk down upon arrival in the village to find their way to the hotel.

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During the Middle Ages, the Limousin, a land of saints, saw a rise in the number of pilgrimages in the region and the veneration of relics housed in abbeys and priories built by monks. The area was strongly influenced, especially in the 12C, by the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela. A new path heading towards Santiago de Compostela, the Voie de Rocamadour en Limousin et Haut Quercy, has just been waymarked from Bénévent-l’Abbaye to Rocamadour passing through Eymoutiers, Tulle and Collonges-la-Rouge

L’hôtel de la Ramade de Friac avec ses deux tours de guet (XVIe – XVIIe siècles)

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L'hôtel de la Ramade de Friac avec ses deux tours de guet (XVIe - XVIIe siècles) IMG_0285.JPG

St Jacques de Compostelle is also a hotel at the Collonge la Rouge where pilgrims stopped to stay for the night or two where they get the chance to also visit the Red village of Collonge La Rouge.  The hotel is located in a former family home of the seventeenth century in the village of Collonge la Rouge.  The hotel features a beautiful setting in the village that can be enjoyed from the terrace. It offers beautiful bright rooms, the discreet and elegant decoration in ecru beige muted tones. A family room (3 beds) with sloping ceilings, 7 double rooms and one twin room. Some have a view of the Towers of Friac and the Church, others on the Corrèze countryside.

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DONE The Hotel of St Jacques de Compostelle IMG_0294.JPGThank you for visiting Collonge-La-Rouge together with me through my blog

(Please note that pictures and writings belong to My Country Epoque and they are my properties)

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