We took two days to complete the drive south from the Loire Valley to Quillan a week ago, breaking the journey with a night in the Correze, a region I don’t recall visiting before. Though it was brief, it was beautiful, I hope to make it back one day for a longer stay.
We had done a bit of research on likely halfway points, deciding from a look at the map that somewhere near Brives would be good for a stop, allowing for a maximum of four hours’ driving each day, plus comfort stops – which, with a baby in tow, are unsurprisingly frequent.
Most of the journey would be on the autoroutes, and we didn’t want to have to detour far from there in our night’s stopover, but we wanted somewhere with a rural feel, preferably in a small village. Our googling resulted in a booking for a night at the ivy-covered rural auberge La Diligence.
The auberge was undeniably charming, and something of a rural idyll, situated on a tiny country road above the small village of Noailhac – so small that it was one of those villages that does not even have a bar.
The place did have a touch of the Fawlty Towers about it though – we couldn’t get any hot water on the first evening, and the free wi-fi was limited to a patchy service in certain corners of the communal lounge – which was locked for most of the evening, and then inhabited by the owner and his male cronies. We did not have so much as a kettle in our room, and with breakfast service not starting downstairs until 8.30am, this made handling Nick’s 6.30am milk bottle a little challenging. Nothing is impossible though, as we are fast finding out.
The inn did not do evening meals, and with no commerce in Noaihac, we jumped in the car to drive to the nearest village – which turned out to be Collonges-la-Rouge, ‘un des plus beaux villages de France’. The more I see these villages sign-posted, the more I wonder just how many ‘most beautiful’ villages one country can claim to have, but this village was admittedly quaint, being extremely well preserved as a collection of original buildings entirely constructed in the local red stone.
We had a beer, then later a (totally un-French) curry pizza by special request from Tomos. Pity the Creperie we had intended to go to had closed by the time we got there as it looked rather cute, and the pizza was particularly average in quality.
Nothing average about the village at all though.