September 21, 2017, approximately 1:00 p.m.
Collonges-la-Rouge is one of the most important villages in the list of the most beautiful villages in France, and I visited it in 2010, the first year of my visit. It’s been 7 years since then.
France’s most beautiful villages begin here.
The province of Collèze, the origin of the most beautiful villages in France, is also the birthplace of the most beautiful villages in France, as I have mentioned many times. The most beautiful village in France was started by Mr. Charles Seillac, the former mayor of Collonges-la-Rouge, which is still on the list of the most beautiful villages in France. The project started with 66 locations, including neighboring villages, and has now grown to more than 155 locations.
Now, this village was founded around the 8th century by a Benedictine monastery, and then developed under the strong lords based in nearby Turenne. Turenne was also chosen as one of the most beautiful villages in France, as I mentioned in a previous post. It is less than 10 minutes away by car. Nevertheless, the colors of the town are contrasting. As the name suggests, the village is made up of houses made mainly of red and grey limestone stones, giving us a unique and beautiful sight.
The church in the village is the « Church of Saint-Pierre », built around the 11th and 12th centuries. Collonges-la-Rouge was also one of the bases of the pilgrimage routes to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostela and Rocamadour. Since the Middle Ages, the church of Saint-Pierre has been visited by many pilgrims. Even now, it is very crowded with tourists and pilgrims.
Visiting after 7 years, what has changed and what has not
Collonges-la-Rouge is one of the most important villages in the list of the most beautiful villages in France, and I visited it in 2010, the first year of my visit. It’s been 7 years since then. It was as busy as ever. I got the impression that this village was much more crowded than other villages in the vicinity at that time, but its popularity is still alive and well.
What has not changed is of course the scenery. The red stone houses are really beautiful.
When I visited in 2010, the weather was cloudy and sometimes rainy, but this time we were blessed with fine weather. It was hot. Speaking of the change, I think that the number of people has increased dramatically. As a proof, I think the parking lot became much wider than before.
Because the timing of my visit was first thing in the afternoon, there were so many cars staying there. It’s a good thing, but if it’s such a popular tourist spot, it might have been a bit distracting. No, maybe I shouldn’t say such a thing. Because it is good to develop.
The other thing that has changed is the prices. Actually, seven years ago, I bought a « foie gras sandwich » at a shop in the village, but this shop was in the exact same place and in the same condition when I visited this time! I was a little impressed…
I bought this foie gras sandwich at the time.
Here is a picture of the restaurant taken during my visit in 2010.
And here’s a picture of the restaurant taken in 2017, when I visited this time.
However, this foie gras sandwich was €5 back then, but when I visited in 2017, the price had been raised to €6. Here is the sign in 2010.
Here is the 2017 sign.
If you look closely, the menu is exactly the same lol. And the price has gone up nicely by 1 euro each. It was the moment when I felt the price rise in the tourist area firsthand.
There are many souvenir shops
Compared to the other most beautiful villages in France, this village has a lot of restaurants and souvenir shops. The most beautiful village movement is aimed at developing the economy of the village through tourism, so it is very understandable that the village where the movement originated is taking the initiative to focus on tourism. This was also the case when I visited seven years ago. However, I thought that the number of shops had probably increased.
When I visited in 2010, I was hungry (I read in a past blog that there were no shops at all in the nearby beautiful villages including Toulennes, which I visited just before, and I was hungry and troubled lol), so I bought a sandwich, but I didn’t buy any souvenirs. Because I am a person who basically does not buy souvenirs.
However, we found a nice foie gras shop this time. Speaking of foie gras, Dordogne is next door, but Corrèze also seems to be a specialty. I decided to buy foie gras here because it is cheaper and much tastier. This shop is located right next to the church.
And one more thing, I bought a knife for the dining table at a knife shop near the entrance of the village. A knife that can cut well is indispensable when cooking meat. Speaking of knives for meat dishes, you can always find Laguiole knives in high class French restaurants, but they are very expensive, aren’t they? However, the knives I bought at Collonges la Rouge were about 100 euros for a set of six.
If you look closely at the part where it is held, it is not a cicada but a leaf lol.
It’s a little fake, but it cuts very well. This was a good harvest. By the way, Laguiole is a village in the province of Aveyron where Conques and others were located. You can go there by car. It is one of the villages I would like to visit in the future.
By the way, I have no experience of accommodation in Collonges-la-Rouge, so I’m thinking of staying there on my next visit. There seems to be a few there. Fortunately, we have heard that another beautiful village has been added to the Dordogne, so we will definitely be visiting this area in the near future.
I’m used to writing about the most beautiful villages in France. I will continue to write about the villages we visited.