Leaving Argentat without a real plan…we thought we might stop in at Collonges-la-Rouge and see what all the fuss is about. Chris had FOMO as we had driven past on our way to Argentat as there were tons of people walking along the road towards this village.
It wasn’t far so we trundled along the back roads admiring the scenery. Just before we got there, we spotted a market in the village just before it, called Meyssac. Screech!!! After a little negotiating we found a parking and walked into the market square.
It’s was so quaint and typical of a farmers market that we were completely taken in. We bought some tomato, some haricot beurre( white ‘green’ beans) and a peach. The guy tending the stall loves it that we are from South Africa. As we walked past we see the little restaurant on the square was serving menu del dia for €14. Why not we thought it’s lunchtime let’s eat. Lunch was mozzarella and tomato salad. Grilled lamb chops ( generous meaty chops) with dauphinoise potatoes and salad. And then a choice of a few puddings. We chose fig and nut tarte and a raspberry, soft meringue and coconut base. Need I say more ????
As we ate our lunch we noticed then setting up for a night market. So typical it was that night so we will miss it!
After lunch we headed to the car and off to see this village we are so intrigued about.
So we arrive and we see what the fuss is all about….its the only “les plus beaux” village that has a car park outside the town and charges for it! The cheek…well the first 30min is free but don’t be fooled its hard to park, walk and see anything and get back within 30min, so be prepared to pay.
C-la-R is an extraordinary as the buildings are all made of red sandstone and look so totally different to other French villages. Apparently when it was first built the town’s leaders allowed a reduction of tax which of course meant a lot of rich people all invested and built houses there. It also means the houses are all quite fancy with towers, turrets and beautiful gardens. Nothing changes hey!
Walking around we were amazed by the number of people. Of course it’s touristy and full of shops selling tat but you can’t deny it’s pretty and remarkably well kept. We walked around took pics, explored the church (of course) and then walked back to the car. ( and paid)
That evening we planned to stay in Turenne. A hillside village about 20min from C-la-R. We had researched a free aire and it was right in town. We found it, parked and decided we would take a stroll around. We needed food so first stop the supermarket. So this is when the fail started. The supermarket was totally underwhelming and you know Parsleyspursuits is very unappreciative of poor supermarkets. Then we walked up the hill, the very steep hill to the castle. It’s really quite magnificent at the top of the hill but I’m afraid half way we up we stopped. Too many tourist shops. Menu’s were expensive. Nope! Next?
At the end of the walk back to the camper, we had decided we were heading back to Meyssac. It had a night market and it was less touristy so that’s where we head.
On one of the many websites, we found a wild camping spot location. It’s behind the village school and the sports fields. It’s a 2 min walk into town. And it’s perfect.
That evening we wandered into town for the market. This time we knew don’t go too early so we only walked in around 8pm. It was a buzzing atmosphere with all the bars serving on the streets. There were a lot of stalls this time. Clothing ( very hippy) , glassware ( hideous) , tee shirts ( ok) and food….. well!
Again we had a choice of sausage and frites or sausage on a roll with frites. And of course the obligatory crepe stand. What a pity they don’t use the food of the region to do something really gourmet and different?
But we sat at the bar outside, listened to the band and ate our sausage and frites and had a great night. We even had a crepe!
Then walked back the 2 min to our camper van and into bed!
Tomorrow is another day …. should we head out of this pretty village area ? I mean we think it’s time!
Been special au revoir!