One of Correze’s 6 ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ lies 15km south of Brive. Turrene is clearly visible from a distance, set on a steep hill dominated by the towers of an ancient ruined chateau.
The village of slate and stone roofed houses dating from the twelfth and thirteenth century was once the seat of the powerful Viscountcy of Turrene which stayed independent from France until 1738.
Climb the hill to visit the twelfth century Tour de Cesar (open daily at varying times Mar - Nov) and enjoy beautiful views across the Limousin countryside to the mountains of Cantal. The second clock tower is fourteenth century. Take welcome refreshment at one of Turrene’s bars and restaurants after your climb.
One of the main towns of Correze set on the river from which the department takes its name, lively Brive-la-Gaillarde makes an ideal base for exploring the region, in particular the upper reaches of the Vezere and Dordogne Rivers.
Controlled at various times by both the English and the French during the Hundred Years War, a leafy boulevard now traces the old town ramparts. Half-timbered houses surround the market square where markets take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
There’s plenty to enjoy in Brive all year round including winter truffle markets and autumn book fair, along with summer festivals ranging from onions to music.
This beautiful medieval town of narrow streets with its picturesque river frontage is well deserving of the name Beau Lieu (French for beautiful place).
Beaulieu’s old quarter centres round the twelfth-thirteenth century abbey church of St Pierre - one of the best examples of the Romanesque style - exhibiting a wonderful carving of the Last Judgement, with Christ’s arms outstretched, over its grey stone doorway.
Beaulieu has lively bars, cafes and restaurants. Search for bargains and fresh produce in the good twice weekly markets (Wednesdays and Saturdays) held in the fine market square surrounded by seventeenth century half-timbered houses.
Take a trip from Beaulieu on a gabare - traditional flat-bottomed river boat - along the River Dordogne. Thousands of people gather in the town on the second Sunday in May each year when the town puts out strawberry coloured banners in celebration of its annual Fete de la Fraise (strawberry festival).
Almost 40% of France’s national strawberry production is grown around Beaulieu, which has its own mild micro climate sheltered from the wind. About 5 tonnes of the delicious fruit is sold and used during each festival.
Meymac grew up around its Benedictine Abbey, founded 1000 years ago. The abbey remains form part of Meymac’s Romanesque church at the village centre. The village grey stone houses with their slate roofs and pointed turrets have an old world charm in contrast to Meymac’s modern Centre National d’Art Contemporain building attached to the abbey - a venue for changing art exhibitions.
Visit the round bell tower and Musee de la Fondation Marius Vazeilles (open daily, except Tues, May-Oct) to learn more about local history and traditions.
The ancient market town of Egletons was important in medieval times ruled by the powerful dukes of Ventadour. Their ruined chateau, built in the eleventh century, is set on a rocky outcrop about 6km from the town.
Classed as an historic monument in 1946, the site is closed to the public, although recent excavation work has been carried out. Visit Egletons’s Sunday market or on the first and third Friday each month, and enjoy a meal in one of the town’s many restaurants.
In Sarran, 10km west of Egletons, the Musee du President Jaques Chirac is a collection of hundreds of gifts given to the President during his 7 year office. Look for the South African chess set with pieces carved as caricatures of personalities such as Mandela and Archbishop Tutu. The museum aims to present a picture of today’s world by tracing the events the exhibits mark. Those interested in architecture will enjoy the building itself - strikingly modern and designed by contemporary architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Free short guided visits for the general public and special visits for children.
Contact visitor service for more information (00 33) 5 55 21 77 87.
The little village of Gimel-les-Cascades is one of the prettiest in Correze, set in a steep wooded valley north east of Tulle almost encircled by the River Montane. The river’s magnificent series of cascades drop for some 143m.
You will have to pay for entrance to the Parc Vuillier (open Mar-Oct) where the falls are located but don’t be put off by this as they are truly spectacular. Becoming a popular attraction, visit out of season if you can to make the most of the peaceful beauty.
As its name implies, the multi-turreted houses of Collonges-la-Rouge with their blue and red slate roofs are built of striking red sandstone which give this particular listed ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ its special rustic charm.
Collonges-la-Rouge is as happy to welcome tourists today as it was to entertain ancient pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and the village invites you to enjoy its shady chestnut trees, cafes, boutiques and restaurants.
Collonges’s beautiful church was originally constructed on a base of 4 columns during the eleventh century. A century later, the Romanesque bell tower was built from Turenne limestone. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the side chapels were added and in order to fortify the building during the Hundred Years War a square tower to the south serving as a watchtower was constructed. For more information contact: (00 33) 5 55 25 32 25