Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Dordogne Valley: Brive-la-Gaillarde & Collonges-la-rouge

In my series of posts about my press trip to the Dordogne Valley I wanted the département of Corrèze to have its very own article. The truth is even though I was born in the Loire Valley, the Corrèze has always felt more like home. Since the age of three I've spent all my summers in a tiny village in this department, until I left to live in Ireland. When I was in secondary school my parents bought a holiday home there and a few years ago they retired permanently so now the Corrèze is technically my French home.

I've flown a few times to Brive airport but never actually made it to the city itself so I was delighted of being introduced to the capital of Ze Corrèze on the 2nd day of our trip. 

Day 2: Brive-la-Gaillarde and Collonges-la-rouge

Brive Food Market

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday there is a food market called Marché Brassens at les halles Brassens in the heart of Brive-la-Gaillarde. Saturday is the best and busiest day to visit it to pick up some local ingredients. As in any good French market you can buy breads, cheese, beautiful vegetables and fruits, lots of duck products and lots of food that's bad for the diet but so good for the soul!

The Denoix distillery was founded in 1839 in Brive and specialises in the making of walnut liquors. During the tour you learn about the production, see the pot stills and beautiful copper cauldrons where the liqueurs are aged, smell the fruits and peels while they macerate and get to taste the finished products at the end. Besides the walnut liqueur they're known for, they now have a larger range of flavours.


I'm quite embarrassed to say that even though my parents only live 117km from there, I've never made it to Collonges-la-rouge until this trip. I've always wanted to as it's often mentioned by the locals as a must-see. Collonges-la-rouge is a small village which is a member of 'the prettiest villages of France'. Only 153 villages across France are part of this association and the Corrèze départment has 5 of them. Collonges-la-rouge is a picturesque village with all the houses made of red sandstone. We wandered around the narrow streets and stopped at Distillerie des Terres Rouges, a little distillery with shops selling many of the local liqueurs. We had a taste of cocktails made with Salers, a local gentian liqueur with a bittersweet flavour. It has an acquired taste if you drink it pure, but works quite well in cocktails I have to say. After a hearty lunch at Auberge de Benges I met my parents for a few hours as they drove all the way especially to see me, which made my first but certainly not last visit to Collonges-la-rouge even more special.

This part of France has a special place in my heart and next time I'll be home I will make sure to blog about other sites you can visit in the Corrèze département.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Dordogne Valley tourism board, the local tourist boards and airports on this press trip. The full trip was complimentary, however I was not paid to write this article nor the upcoming ones. As usual, all opinions (including my love for French food and France) are my own!