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La Corrèze: for chilling out

local strawberries brive la gaillard market

 

The Relaxed Side of France

If your list of holiday destination priorities are food, relaxing and a hint of luxury not too far from home then the Corrèze region of France is there waving it’s arms around at ‘cha! Last month I compiled a pretty hefty guide for fun and adventurous things to do in la Corrèze including paragliding, staying in a treehouse and discovering what is basically a film set for Jurassic World. Let’s just say that there’s lots to do to keep you on your toes!

But after all this activity you’re going to be more than ready to discover the other delights, namely amazing food and wine. Here’s my list of amazing places and tastes to chill out in Corrèze.

fresh radishes brive la gaillard market

 

SHOP

Brive Food Market

Once you’ve had a good wander around the beautiful principle town of Brive (see me dressed up like a French girl there!) head straight to the market for lunch and to fill up your bags on local delicacies. We had a great simple lunch at Bistrot Brassens which serves the most massive steak my eyes ever have seen! Finish up with a cherry clafoutis. Don’t forget to spit out the stones!

Now to hit the market. Stock up on fresh fruit and veg, cheese, meats, plants, nuts, sweets and cheese. Did I mention cheese? Don’t miss the long shaped strawberries either, they’re a local delicacy and get their own party – a strawberry festival every summer!

goats cheese brive la gaillard market

vin paillee and mustard in brive la gaillard market

fresh garlic french market brive

cheese stall brive la gaillard market

chips salad and tomatos lunch bistrot brassens brive la gaillard market

traditional cherry clafoutis desert bistrot brassens brive la gaillard market

 

DISCOVER

Uzerche

Research La Corrèze online and you’ll likely get a list of beautiful villages to discover. Uzerche is one such place worth a gander around. Sink into a slice of dozy French life and meander around the old houses, towers and vaulted passageways to see why it’s named ‘the pearl of the Limousin district.’

I got up early and had a walk around on my own in the morning sun. There’s nothing quite like snooping around no-one’s watching! Scroll down to see where to stay in this pretty place.

morning view over uzerche correze france

la palette art gallery uzerche correze france

beautiful church view with roses

view over the town from hotel joyet de maubec uzerche correze france

 

EAT AND STAY

Hôtel Joyet de Maubec

Make Uzerche your stop-over town and stay at the relatively new Hôtel Joyet de Maubec, a beautifully restored boutique hotel and former boarding school with character and elegance (note the delicious smell of lilies everywhere you go!) If you want a touch of luxury then head here, if only to see those views over the valley of the Vézère river!

If you can’t stay, do at least make a stop at its restaurant, La Treille Muscate for a fine dining menu that changes weekly according to seasonal produce and the perfect wine pairings.

fine dining hotel Joyet de Maubec in correze amuse bouche starter

beautiful renovated traditional hotel joyet de maubec uzerche correze france

hotel joyet de maubec uzerche correze france
pretty village scallop house uzerche correze france

breakfast at hotel joyet de maubec uzerche correze france

breakfast at hotel joyet de maubec uzerche correze france

 

DISCOVER

Collonges-la-Rouge

As a blogger, I love a beautiful village with winding streets, who doesn’t?! Gorgeous villages don’t come much better than Collonges-La-Rouge, named one of the most beautiful villages in France, it’s a definite stop off worth looking around.

Why so red? Well, I’m going to whip out my geography for you again folks! The houses lie on a region of clay soil high in iron which came into contact with oxygen. The more the iron elements rusted, the deeper red colour. Hey, I never thought I’d ever want a rusty house!

Be sure to spot the building with the mermaid in the wall at the village museum. Snoop around the hat shop down the road, check out the holes in the walls of the market square where sticks held prized local wine and see the village oven where villagers made bread. Mainly though, take beautiful instagrams!

pink flowers collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france
little cottage collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france

hyacinth flowers in collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france
palm tree in collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france

sweetcorn drying in collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france
beams in walls collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france

gardens collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france
turrets and mansard roofs collonges-la-rouge beautiful village town in correze france

 

TASTE

Le Vin Paillé

The beady eyed of you may have noticed the beautiful cerise coloured wine bottles in one of my photos in the Brive market and then the white version in the background of our lunch. What you might realise is that the white labeled bottle with the sweet fruity liquor was pretty much a mainstay of our trip, popping at every meal and… breakfast?

Yep, on the second day of our trip, we were tasting it at 10am. All in the name of research of course, after all, it’s not every day that you get to sample wine straight from the hands of the producer. So when Jean Mage, a small-unit Vin Paillé producer invited us along to see the vineyards, vats and explain the process, all concept of time-appropriateness went out the window.

For the vino-heads out there, what makes this wine unique is that the grapes are picked and partially dried traditionally on straw (the French word is ‘paille’.) The sweetness of the grape is concentrated and when pressed produces that delicious flavour. Choose any bottle with the label and it will have been produced traditionally by one of around 20 local farmers like Jean.

vineyard for vin paille in france

wine tasting vin paille in correze vineyard

vineyard award medals for wine making in france

red poppies in francefrench donkey in france

 

Like the look of La Corrèze? Discover the wild side!

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Lovebox

lovebox festival tassels kimono outfit and orange rucksack

view from above in the air flags lovebox festival 2015

lovebox festival tassels kimono outfit

lovebox festival tassels kimono outfit

embroidered kimono and white dress festival outfit details

lovebox festival vip area korean pork bun and palm plant

lovebox festival tassels kimono outfit

embroidered kimono tassel sleeve festival outfit details

spike silver ear cuff for festival and shaved hair

lovebox festival tassels kimono outfit

kristabel and lucy at lovebox festival

 

 

Floaty and Fringed

Oh what to wear to a festival. There’s all the help out there you can get and yet you still haven’t the foggiest as you flick through your rails of workwear and boring basics. I want crochet, crazy prints, fringing and fun damnit, yet somehow my wardrobe’s gotten all ‘sensible’ and last season’s palm prints aren’t looking so hot. Luckily, I managed to pull this vintage embroidered kimono out from my barely touched bikini bag and there I had it – a key party piece to set off the style – phew!

Not that the festival in question was particularly focused on festival fashion. You could easily rock up to Lovebox wearing what else you found in said bikini bag. Just add knicker-style denim shorts. That look isn’t quite for me so I opted for a slightly more traditionally hippy-eque approach which in my opinion went much better with the bunting anyway!

It was great to be able to invite my French cousin along to Lovebox, she’d never been on a Ferris Wheel before so swinging was obviously in order! That and a bit of bobbing about to Flight Facilities, Hot Chip and Little Dragon, oh and a lot of tasty grub. Korean pork buns and Bird burgers? Yes please!

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See my other festival outfits! ›

 

feet on the big wheel lovebox festival 2015

chips and cider at lovebox festival 2015

lovebox festival tassels kimono outfit

churros amigos at lovebox festival and big wheel lights

VIP area at lovebox festival 2015

embroidered kimono and white dress festival outfit details blue stone necklace

sunset flag lovebox festival 2015

main stage night crowd lovebox festival 2015
little dragon on stage performance lovebox festival 2015

 

What I wore to Lovebox:

Kimono – Vintage / Dress – ASOS / Necklace – Topshop / Sandals – Next / Bag – ASOS (similar) / Belt – ASOS (similar) / Ear cuff – Nelly (similar)

Thanks so much to Zalando  and Clash for the Lovebox tix!

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New Things: For your desk and kitchen!

new things stationery, accessories and illustration of london

 

Desk Things

My birthday feels like it was last year but seeing I never got the chance to show you a couple of pretty pieces I was offered from my Faves, I’m going to pop them into this latest New Things post to give you your own gift ideas. My friends know how much I love colour pops and practical things, so they mixed the two requirements and offered me some pretty cool new things…

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My most generous gift from the girls was a beautiful bright turquoise leather purse from Furla which, after my budget plastic version fell apart, fully graduates me as a grown women. There’s nothing like a whiff of luxurious leather diffusing from your wallet as you scramble around for any hiding pennies at the end of the month. Thanks gals!

A sweet surprise on the side was this chic stationery set from the brand I wish I was always able to afford: Kate Spade. A shiny pot from Oliver Bonas sorted out my embarrassing Blue Peter style DIY pen holder that if been using for years. Again, I’m becoming a woman, see?

A gift to myself was the intricately drawn London map, the type of art where you can easily spend a good 10 minutes examining, plus is educational so double win. I got a few similar London themed prints from Great Little Place and popped them up in my boyfriends’ flat, take a look! 

 

oliver bonas copper pencil pot, stationery and desk bits and bobs

stationery kate spade pencils and gold foil notebooks
Furla turquoise leather purse Blog tips guide by ChloeDigital notebook
cute fun party ring mini bag from asos with ice cream keyring

Instagram book with ideas for square format shots

New Stationery Things:

London illustrated map – Great Little Place / Pencils – Kate Spade / Pencil pot – Oliver Bonas / Stripe notebook – Studio SarahPurse – Furla at Monnier Freres / Party ring bag – ASOS / Instagram book – Instagram! / Blog tips book – Chloe Digital

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summer new things for the kitchen to cook and bake

 

Foodie Things

I’m no Gizzi Erkskine, nor Lili Vanilli but my half made-up recipes don’t usually turn out too bad. In fact, my last attempt turned out a treat thanks to Rachel Khoo’s cookie recipe! I’m looking forward to trying out some others in her latest, visually on point book.

You’re obviously going to need something to drink with those freshly baked treats, whether it be a matcha powder enhanced smoothie, a refreshing glass of fizzy fruitiness, a cute Elderbrook natural fruit cordial or perhaps a glass of sweet French wine. Make mine the latter!

Talking of healthy eating, I’ve been trying out wild rice (my housemate is obsessed.) Try a basmati blend for a good place to start, just pop in half a stock cube and you’ve got flavour right there!

mixed wild rice tilda for recipies

galivania lemon fizzy drink with fresh mint summer party

accessorize apple juice novelty bagelderbrook mini bottles of drink cordials syrups for summer rahel khoo dark chocolate cherry cookies recipe book baking french vin paille sweet wine from the correze region with local nougat

New Kitchen Things:

Tea and Cake book – Lisa Faulkner / Rachel Khoo’s kitchen notebook – Anthropologie / Wild rice mix – Tilda / Fizzy drinks – Galvanina / Apple juice bag – Accessorize / Fruit cordials – Elderbrook (coming soon!) / Matcha powder – Teapigs / Wooden tray – IKEA / Fruit print tray – IKEA / Vin Paille and nougat – France / Orange mug – T2
 

Shop the post:


 

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Vive Brive!

french life girl about town blogger outfit

brive town square correze france

blue white and red outfit

beautiful brive buildings palm trees france

bright red leather satchel bag

red vespa scooter

wavy ombre hair breton stripe t-shirt

brive architecture la correze visit france

french girl sitting on steps

blue bicycle wheel with leather basket traditional french

 

Blue, White and Red!

ShinyThoughts is going French today and just in time to celebrate Bastille Day on 14th! I’m half French so dressing up stereotypically as a little girl in my blues, whites and reds doesn’t feel quite so gimmicky! I wore this back when I was visiting Brive-la-Gaillarde in the Corrèze region of France, a market town with character, great food and a historic and literary reputation. I did actually fit in fairly well, as Brive was gearing itself up for the big rugby match of the year. There were flags flying all around the town stating ‘Vive Brive!’ and packed out cafes made the whole place feel buzzing.

It’s the biggest town in the region and sits right near the airport so if you’re looking for a safe bet area to stay in, this is it. Between 21st July and 2nd August, Brive will be grooving along to the sounds of Vanessa Paradis and other stars of the region on a make-shift beach music festival in Brive. There’s also loads of live music events, with tunes spilling from the cafes throughout the summer months so there really is a reason to say ‘Vive Brive!’

I’ll be showing you the throngs of the lively market in my next post but if you’re intrigued by what the region has to offer, take a look at my guide to La Corrèze for the adventurous!

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What I Wore in Brive:

Top – Joules / Skirt – Fashion Union (similar) / Trainers – Converse / Bag – Brit-Stitch / Socks – ASOS (similar) / Scarf – ASOS (similar) / Glasses – Max & Co. / Tote bag – Alphabet bags

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france inspired outfit neckerchief neck tie and pleated skirt

sporty tennis skirt and converse trainers

brive architecture la correze visit france

french girl outfit

walking in brive french town

 

5 Things to do in Brive:

1 – Visit the peculiar Chez Francis cafe. Ogle the amazing cartoons and words scribbled on the family run restaurant walls by famous French writers and journos past and present.

2 – Wander the little streets and pop into Mémé Gâteaux, the cutest children’s’ shop with buy-me stationery.

3 – Visit the Brive book fair on the first weekend in November for a celebration of the biggest names in literature.

4 – Find out how to make local delicacies at the Denoix Master Distiller and the Lamy Chocolate Factory.

5 – Just out of town are the Jardins de Colette, a contemporary flower park representing the regions of France where the author lived. Check out the butterfly shaped maze!

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market baskets for sale

converse trainers and colourful market bags

school girl style back to school outfit in france

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La Corrèze: Travel ideas for the Adventurous!

paragliding in the dordogne valley

 

 The wild side of France

As I mentioned in my last post, La Corrèze region of France is an idyllic green destination whether you’re looking to chill and take in the beautiful scenery or if you’re looking for a little bit of wilderness. Here are a few things I got up to that unleashed my adventurous side!

hetre sous le charme treehouse cabin in the woods

 

STAY:

In a Tree House!

We stayed in three different places on our Corrèze trip but nothing came anywhere as close to cool than this treehouse cabin experience. I could write a whole post on this but in short, Hetre Sous Le Charme is an eco tourism project which is the brianchild of two amazing young French girls. I secretly want to run away and live with them because I’ve never seen two people so happy! The girls welcome you at their office drive you to one of 5 cabins on stilts in the woods…

 

Hetre sous le charme eco tourisme in france cabin in the woods

hetre sous le charme treehouse cabin in the woods

Hetre sous le charme eco tourisme in france cabin in the woods

Hetre sous le charme eco tourisme in france cabin in the woods

 

All the cabins are so protected from trees that they’re each incredibly private and secluded. Everything inside the treehouse has been built from scratch and considered for its environmental impact which is why you can only use the lights after 8pm, use a gas heater for warmth and you do your thing in a sawdust toilet. There’s really nothing better than this to get you in touch with nature. Sit out on your balcony and experience the vastness of the valley below you and watch the birds of prey circle above. That weird noise? That’s nature mate. Scream if you like, it’s pretty liberating!

I slept in a princess-like bed and awoke early and excited for the first meal of the day: the much hyped ‘basket breakfast’! Take a look over the edge of your balcony from 8 am and you’ll spot your grub hooked on the end of a pulley rope. Wind it up and enjoy freshly baked muffins and crispy baguette. Actual heaven!

Stay from 135 euro per night. You will need your own car.

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breakfast basket in the woods at HHetre sous le charme

breakfast basket in the woods at HHetre sous le charme

 

TRY:

Rowing a Gabaro Down the Dordogne

When I first heard I was going back to the Dordogne river, years worth of summer holiday memories came rushing back. My favourites involved kayaking for hours down the beautiful river and spending meals overlooking the estuaries. What can I say, I just loved rowing ok!

I couldn’t wait to get my oars back in the water but rather than a canoe, my travel buddies and I were faced with a Gabaro. This boat is small version of the massive barges that strong men rowed down (and up!) the river in, delivering timber to Bordeaux for wine barrels back in the day.

My muscles were treated to a well earned workout but it wasn’t just the size of the boat that made things more challenging, try rowing through strips of rapids! If you’re looking for a bit of mild exhilaration, this is for you. I couldn’t stop laughing! Take a look at me having a go and the pretty village we chilled out in afterwards.

Row your own boat at various schools or take a Gabare trip from 8 euros per person.

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traditional gabaro boat on the Dordogne river

river view in argentat

traditional gabaro boat on the Dordogne river

 

 

WALK:

Down the Dordogne Valley

The Corrèze region is famed for its countryside and conservation. Join one of the waking tours that will take you up and down the valley to explore the various hillsides. On our walk we were taken down to a secret garden, an old stepped allotment used to farm fruit and vegetables by the local peasant population years ago. You can even see the remains of their tiny stone one-room settlements that used to house around 10 people at a time!

Feel the strange change in temperature as you make your way down. A micro-climate of warm air gets trapped in the valley making it unusually adept for cultivation. Weird!

Walking tours by locals in various locations.Visit the tourist offices for details

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view from a derelict window in france over dordogne valley

picnic in the woods traditional french food la correze arbour

walks in correze with the Association la dordogne de villages en barrages

 

EAT:

A Picnic Amongst the Trees

After a brisk walk up and down the valley, it’s time to fill up. On the regions’ delicacies that is. Wine, cheese, pâté, soufflé and duck are all just about carry-able so pack them in your car and then set out a nice spread. Don’t hold back on the courses, you’re in France after all!

Pick up your supplies from the local farmers markets.

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picnic table in the woods traditional french food la correze

picnic in the woods traditional french food la correze wine

picnic in the woods traditional french food la correze duck and foie gras salad

picnic in the woods traditional french food la correze cheese

picnic in the woods traditional french food la correze cherry flan

 

DARE:

To Paraglide!

Corrèze is the place to fly. Yep, just book your slot, get driven up to the highest hill in the region, get strapped in and off you fly! 5 minutes later you’re at the bottom wanting to do it all over again. Sign me up!

Of course sign up I did, except our flight was unfairly cancelled last minute due to wind speeds being too high. Gutted! Our would-have-been instructor didn’t let no wind stop him from at least showing us the kit though and kindly unrolled the ‘planche’ and started kicking around in the gusts. Next time I 100% want to get my feet off the ground!

Book with the paragliding school online. Flight from 60 euros.

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pointing on a map

paragliding in the dordogne valley

 

DISCOVER:

A Century-Old Quarry

Ok so this may not be every twenty-something’s idea of a holiday destination but stick with me. No matter what your interests, you’ll no doubt be in awe at Les Pans de Travassac, the beautiful slate quarry which from above looks like a tiger has scratched slices out of the ground.

The incredible pans of ‘waste rock’ have remained standing since they were first excavated around at the beginning of the 20th century. Years worth of mining the lucrative strips of slate, has made way for pathways allowing you to wind your way around as if in a film set. Look at the rock face carefully to see the dynamite blasts carved in the rock and imagine how the pans have moved vertically since starting life as sedimentary rock. Geography geeks, this one goes out to you.

Once you’ve sufficiently imagined you’re in Jurassic World, watch the artisans splice slabs of rock down into beautifully shaped tiles in the traditional fashion. After two years of solid work by 4 men, the company re-roofed the whole village of the Mont Saint Michel. Now that’s a lot of tiles. Have a go at cutting one yourself and you’ll see that trad techniques are harder than they look.

Tours are 1.5 hours long from 8 euros per person between May and August. Check the website for opening times.

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les pans de travassac slate quarry in le correze

les pans de travassac slate quarry in le correze

les pans de travassac slate quarry in le correze

how to cut slate les pans de travassac slate quarry in le correze

les pans de travassac slate quarry in le correze

 

SEE:

The Waterfalls in Spring

The best way to discover the Corrèze region is by car and on most days you’ll find yourself winding along narrow lanes scooting from village to village. Be sure to add Gimel-Les-Cascades to one of your routes, parking up in the town and then walking down to the entrance to the waterfall park.

Taking a walking trail down the valley, you’ll see 3 amazing waterfalls of different kinds including the ‘horses’ tail and the ‘inferno’ at the end. Your first point of view though is arguably the most awesome – the Big Jump. See it in Spring and you’ll be treated to the gushiest of all the falls!

 

Open every day from March to November. Check website for latest prices. Bring a jacket!

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cascades de gimel waterfall in la correze france

gimel les cascades village illustrated map

cascades de gimel waterfall in la correze france

cascades de gimel waterfall in la correze france

 

 Thanks so much to the Corrèze Tourist Board for inviting me to re-live my school holidays!

Visit their brilliant Corrèze Tourisme website for all other details.

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