La Porcherie, France – Firebug


Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus). Family Pyrrhocoridae.

Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus). Family Pyrrhocoridae.

Spotted these wee beasties gathering on the wall of the gite during our recent stay. Was intrigued by the variety of shapes and markings or perhps that should be the lack of markings. I have them identified as Firebugs but this may be wrong as other similar pictures on the web suggest that they may be “blister” beetles.

Limousin, France – Day 5


If it’s Tuesday,  it must be Collonges-la-Rouge. What the heck is that ?,  you may ask.

Selected as the target for a visit from yours truly this beautiful medieval village, some eighty kilometers from our gite, is listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages Of France” and is entirely built from a red sandstone which comes from the Habitarelle massif.

Collonges-la-Rouge, Correze, France - A hint at what makes this one of the most beautiful villages in France

Collonges-la-Rouge, Correze, France – A hint at what makes this one of the most beautiful villages in France

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church's steeple and other roof features

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church’s steeple and other roof features

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - quaint streets

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – quaint streets

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Le Chat

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Le Chat

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Street view

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Street view

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - detail from eatery.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – detail from eatery.

After exploring the various streets and alleyways we had lunch although not in the establishment featured above. The meal was as usual, very relaxed and delicous and was accompanied by the unusual “Moutarde Violette” which is made by combining mustard with a red grape mash. The version that we were eating is produced at Turenne, just a few kilometers away from Collonges. We enjoyed it so much that we purchased a jar to bring home.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - A local inhabitant

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – A local inhabitant

We, of course, visited the Church of  St-Pierre. The contruction of which was started during the 11th century. Further additions and modifications were made throughout the 14th and 15th Centuries and the church was fortified during the 16th century. Hence many different styles can be observed both inside and out.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church entrance detail

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church entrance detail

Unusual for Collonges, the entrance way is decorated with white limestone, from nearby Turenne, although it is tinted with the red sandstone dust.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Stained-Glass from Saint-Pierre church

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Stained-Glass from Saint-Pierre church

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church detail

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church detail

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church's steeple

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church’s steeple

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - view

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – view

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Happy window

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Happy window

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Through the arch

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Through the arch

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Archway

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Archway

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Twin turrets.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Twin turrets.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - It's that butterfly again.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – It’s that butterfly again.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France

Collonges-la-Rouge, France

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Main street.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Main street.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Leather Workshop

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Leather Workshop

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - One of the more remote properties.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – One of the more remote properties.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Another roofline shot

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Another roofline shot

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Another roofline shot

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Another roofline shot

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Quiet streets

Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Quiet streets

After leaving Collonges our route took us past Turenne. We opted not to visit on this occasion, just stopping to take a couple of quick snaps from afar before heading home to the gite.

Turenne, France

Turenne, France

Turenne, France

Turenne, France

Limousin, France – Day 4


It’s Monday morning and I’ve made the run to Massaret for fresh bread.

Masseret, Limousin, France - Hilltop Tower

Masseret, Limousin, France – Hilltop Tower

French bread is wonderful but it doesn’t stay fresh for long. But that’s OK because I get to meet all these friendly people. Everyone says “Bonjour” when they meet you in the street or inside the boulangerie. Then “Au Revoir” when either they or you leave the shop. It is such a refreshing change from the sullen brits who just stand there avoiding eye contact.

Masseret, Limousin, France - The 12c. Church of St. Catherine.

Masseret, Limousin, France – The 12c. Church of St. Catherine.

So this morning I request a baguette, and a boule, in my rather fractured franglais and make it known that I would like the boule sliced. Madame returns with the loaf in a bag and promptly drops it on the floor with the individual slices all trying to make a run for the space under the counter. With many typically gallic shrugs and embarrassed smiles a second boule makes its way through the slicer, into a bag and safely into my arms and back to the gite.

Today we have decided to go into Limoges for a bit of a reconnaissance. Surprisingly we make into the centre, park up and find the tourist information office all in one smooth move. We discover that there is one of those “tourist train” things due to leave from just outside the tourist office in a short while. The consensus was that this would be a quick way to orientate ourselves to the Limoges sights. Then we can cherry pick those that we want to do in detail. So into a cafe we go for a quick coffee and cake and not long after we are sat aboard in anticipation.

Limoges, France - Hotel de Ville

Limoges, France – Hotel de Ville

To describe the journey as  the ride from hell would be extreme but it was anything but pleasant. The coaches shuddered back and forth like the folds of an accordion and the cobble streets jarred our spines through the virtually non existent suspension and thin padding on the seats. I should also point out that there is an audio commentary available with translations. We were all issued with earphones but the translated commentary was fragmented possibly breaking up in harmony with the reverberations radiating through the chassis of the coaches. The translated commentary was pretty much drowned out by the volume of the native commentary blasting out over the speakers. Thankfully, after an hour it was over.

Limoges, France - Chapelle du College des Jesuites - Built 1629

Limoges, France – Chapelle du College des Jesuites – Built 1629

After the trauma of the train ride we decided that what we all needed was a quiet walk by the river. This turned out to be a good decision.

Limoges, France - Pavillion du Verdurier

Limoges, France – Pavillion du Verdurier

The walk by the river led us to the saint-Etienne Bridge ….

Limoges, France - Saint Martial Bridge -  dating from the Roman era

Limoges, France – Saint Etienne Bridge – dating from 13c.

The following description I have plagiarized from one of the many info plaques ….

The St Etienne bridge was built in the 13th C to divert some of the traffic away from St Martial bridge, aboy 1km downstream. It was on the “via Lemovicensis”, a main route to Santiago de Compostella and is  used by pilgrims to this day. It linked the right bank quarter of washerwomen, who until the middle of the 20th C washed the towns bourgeoisie’s linen in the river, to the “Clos Ste Marie”, nowadays a village in the city centre, on the left bank.

The bridge also marked the end of the stretch of river used to float lumber from the mountain to the construction sites and industries of Limoges.

 

It was very peaceful here, away from the noise of the city traffic. So much so that there was a bit of billing and cooing going on ….

Time for amour

Time for amour

 

Another, more modern, bridge …….

 

Limoges, France - Pont Neuf. Built 1838

Limoges, France – Pont Neuf. Built 1838

Limoges, France - Wonky buildings en route to the cathedral.

Limoges, France – Wonky buildings en route to the cathedral.

 

Limoges, France - Rue du Pont Saint-Etienne 1907

Limoges, France – Rue du Pont Saint-Etienne 1907

Limoges, France - Rue du Pont Saint-Etienne 2014

Limoges, France – Rue du Pont Saint-Etienne 2014