Friday 10 June 2016

The Dordogne Valley: From Brive Airport to Terrasson-Lavilledieu

In my latest post about the Dordogne Valley I gave you a little teaser of what to expect, now we get to it properly. I'm going to detail my itinerary and the places we visited.
We spent five days there and there are so many things I want to tell you about, it might be useful if you're ever planning a visit to this part of France.

Day 1: From Brive to Terrasson-Lavilledieu

We flew into Brive Dordogne Valley airport where I arrived on a Ryanair flight from London Stansted. As I mentioned in my previous article, if you're leaving from Ireland you will have to take two flights but trust me, it's worth it!

We stopped at Château de Lissac which is situated 10 km from the airport in an idyllic location overlooking a lake. We had a French casse-croûte here (it's like a snack/brunch/feast of delicious French things) and got to visit the premises. Château de Lissac is a swanky guest house with five tastefully decorated bedrooms located in a part of the castle dating back to the 15th century. Because I'm in wedding mode I immediately thought it would be a perfect wedding venue where guests could stroll around the gardens and terrace with their glass of champagne! I fell in love with the decor, a mix of contemporary and country chic and I wished I could have stayed for the night. Prices start at €120 for a bedroom to €240 for a suite while breakfast costs €12 per person. 

We left the Corrèze département to head off to Bovetti chocolate factory in Terrasson-Lavilledieu in Dordogne. They have a small chocolate museum where you can learn about the history of cocoa and how cocoa beans are transformed into chocolate and the visit ends with a tasting of some of their chocolates. Personally I loved the spices coated with chocolate; fennel, coriander and pink peppercorns, which were unusual but worked very well. Chocolate addicts beware, there is of course a chocolate shop and plenty of products to buy!

Later during the day we checked-in at our hotel, L'Imaginaire in Terrasson-Lavilledieu. The building dates from the 17th century and they have seven elegant rooms (standard double €125 in low season/€175 in high season) in a quiet part of the town. There is a Michelin-starred restaurant on the ground floor in which we had dinner in the evening in their beautiful dining room, I don't think I will ever forget their divine dish of white and green asparagus with morels. In the morning I enjoyed a feast of carbs, a perfect French breakfast of viennoiseries, bread, cakes and fruit salad.

We missed the main attraction of the town as the gardens (Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire) were closed when we arrived. We wandered through the old part of the city where all the little shops were picture perfect. They were lots of artisan shops included glass-blowers which was amazing to see. I felt like I was in the movie Chocolat...

That's it for our first day in the Dordogne Valley, make sure to tune in for the next instalment as it will be about a French département very close to my own heart, the Corrèze! 

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!