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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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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Red, White and Blue

sitting in a cafe in cologne

bright red tables and chairs alfresco cologne

streets in cologne

red print neck tie scarf striped shirt

cafe in cologne red orange

navy blue outfit

red scooter parked in the street

 

Bomber Jacket Outfit

Welcome back to Cologne! The city where I spent a neat 24 hours exploring in the hunt for colour. On our second day, Rosie and I tucked into a lovely breakfast at the Courtyard Hotel we stayed in (we had a little party there the night before to celebrate their 1000th opening!) and headed off out to the colourful cafes by the river front that we’d spotted the day before.

It’s the perfect area to dine al fresco and watch the world go by. I made the most out of the empty chairs and made myself at home in my matching bomber jacket outfit – a get-up that I can only describe as a mixture between Sailor Moon, a Tesco cashier and a patriotic American (from Boston, apparently) on a school trip. Seeing as we found ourselves in sweet shops and were talking photos everywhere we went, we may as well have been!

Check out the rest of Cologne!

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sweets handmade in cologne

art shop in cologne

cute shops alleyways in cologne

jeans striped shirt outfit

blue satin bomber jacket watch detail

sporty silver rucksack outfit

Thank you Courtyard for hosting us!

What I Wore

 Bomber Jacket – ASOS Men / Blouse – Fashion Pills / Jeans – ASOS / Rucksack – John Lewis (similar) / Trainers – Superga / Socks – ASOS / Glasses – Max & Co at Specsavers (online or in store). / Neckerchief – (similar)

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24 Hours in Cologne

bright red wall and red german signposts

mirror menu hippy cafe cologne

lock bridge cologne germany metal love locks

bright green and red building cologne

green fold out chairs cafe wooden

church and houses cologne

 

 

Köln

What would you do with 24 hours in a new city? For me, it’s all about maximising my feet and getting exploring. Of course, when I’m discovering somewhere new, I’m colour-hunting all the way. Remember my colourful trip to Amsterdam? Following in the footsteps of ultimate colour-lover and traveller Will, having something to look for and find makes the discovery process all the more worthwhile. What would you be on the look out for?

The results of a quick Google of Cologne were very promising indeed; bright pastel-coloured houses in front of a church, a triple arching bridge that looked spectacular at night and of course the famous Rhine river. So when, on my first venture out of my Courtyard Hotel room with travel buddy Rosie, I didn’t find much beyond a huge outdoor play area, I knew there was more to find. Time to turn the other way!

Navigating a new city without internet required a bit of unexpected brain power but in hindsight that was no bad thing! It reminded me that my sense of direction is a trait worth patting myself on the back for, plus nearly getting run over by a lorry and loosing half the group in the Cathedral it made for an even more interesting adventure!

Here’s what I discovered when colour hunting in Cologne, Germany last week!

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yellow bike parked courtyard cologne

colourful houses fountain man with dog cologne

green bike and yellow scooter in cologne

flower pots on a metal gate church cologne

german yellow postmans cart

cologne beach rhine river spit of sand

mooring ropes quayside harbour

rhine river boat cologne

blue bicycle with a brown leather saddle

blue pillars underground space

black and white walkways bridge cologne

Thank you to The Courtyard Hotel for hosting us for the night!

See more of my travel posts!

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