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Brive-La-Gaillarde is in fact the most important town of the Corrèze with a population of over 51.000.
In medieval times, Brive was enclosed by a town-wall. Nowadays there is a belt-railway for the motorized traffic, with the original town area in the center.
The sights in the old town centre are within walking distance from each other and a major part of the town centre is a pedestrian-only area. The town is ideal for shopping, also for specialties such as truffles, mushrooms and Foie Gras. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday there is a small market on the spacious Place du 14 Juillet.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Downtown Brive: 20 Km
Just past the town of Vigeois, the D3 becomes the D7 direction Arnac-Pompadour. This is also a town surrounded by a green scenery, mostly visited because of its castle. Arnac-Pompadour has approx. 1.300 inhabitants. The giant castle alone, surrounded by its almost completely undamaged fortifications, is definitely worth a visit. In 1745 Louis XV gave this castle to his mistress together with her title Marquise de Pompadour. What’s even more interesting is the fact that since 1761 the royal stud-farm and stables of Anglo-Arabian stallions are housed here, and of course the international famous hippodrome that is located in the open fields. Nowadays, this site is known for its housing of the French national stud-farm. There are regular equestrian events such as cross country, jumping and chariot rides.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Arnac-Pompadour: 33 Km
In 1317, Sarlat became the throne of diocese, and the abbey church became a cathedral. Sarlat’s marvelous charisma comes from the fact that the French government chose Sarlat as a testproject for the restoration of original town centres, restoring the complete town centre in detail. The street scene shows prosperity, friendliness and is cosy. Sarlat is a sparkling town. Even more so during the market days on Wednesday mornings and Saturdays. The Saturday market is famous for its wide range of local products: poultry and goose livers, truffles and nuts. However, in daytime, Sarlat is surely not like an open-air museum; this town area has become a touristic pilgrim’s town. Therefore, during summertime, between the hours of 12.00 and 15.00 the city centre can be seen as one giant restaurant. From June until September the old buildings are illuminated fairy-like, and the antique gas lanterns are lit so that the visitors feel as if they are in a true fairytale town.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Sarlat: 54 Km
Périgueux, the capital of Dordogne, is situated almost in the middle of the department of Dordogne, in the curves of the Isle, which flows here. When you have entered Périgueux via the Cours St-George that changes into the Cours Féneleon after the bridge on the Isle, and have parked your car in the garage under the Place Francheville, you can directly walk to the tourist information office on the other side of the road for a citymap. In the early ages there were two towns, Vésine and Puy-St.Front that were joined together in 1240 to become one large town: Périgueux. Nowadays, Périgueux is a warm, cosy southern like town. The eastern part of town has small, cool, shaded streets with intimate squares with various cafés and restaurants, all with terraces, that enhance the pleasant atmosphere. The specialty in the many restaurants of Périgueux is the goose liver pate (fois gras) and truffles. Interesting sights can be found in the old district of Puy-St-Front, such as the former Cité de Vésone, and are at walking distance.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Périgueux: 64 Km
Although every holidaymaker visits a pilgrims’ town, Rocamadour is an unforgettable experience, seeing its location on the steep valley wall; the castle, rising high into the blue sky, with the enormous rock wall beneath, forming the décor of the seven churches and chapels and the small houses built alongside the river-bed of the Alzou. According to an ancient popular belief, the site were now Rocomadour is established, used to be the location of a recluse. In the 12th century, whilst digging a grave, a body was found that was almost completely intact. It was believed that is was the body of the recluse. He was named Roc Amatour, he who loves rocks. In the Christian tradition, the legend was extended somewhat. The recluse was believed to be the holy Zacheus, a Jewish publican from Jericho, who had given Jesus a welcoming shelter. In the 19th century the renovation of the building commenced. Since then both pilgrims and thousands of tourists have visited Rocomadour. After Mont-St-Michel it is now Frances’s second tourist attraction.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Rocamadour: 74 Km
Because of the truly fantastic paintings and drawings of approx. 2000 animals as well as the symbolic signs drawn on the walls, the Cave of Lascaux is also known as the “Sistine Chapel” and the “Prehistoric Versailles”. The original cave of Lascaux, 150 meters long, was discovered in 1940 and, after scientific research, opened to the public in 1948. But, both the carbon dioxide that is exhaled by the visitors and the tripling water turned out the be a threat for the conservation of the paintings and drawings. Therefore, the cave was closed in 1963. Two out of four hallways with rooms from the upper floors in the cage have been exactly reconstructed in a cave at approx. 200 meters distance from the actual cave, in a cave construction that was specially designed for this purpose. The cave, Lascaux II, has been open for public since 1983. There also is an exposition of the history of the cave and of the painting- and drawing techniques of the prehistoric artists.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Montignac/Lascaux: 35 Km
The stalagmite cave Gouffre de la Fage is located 12 kilometers south of Brive. This cave is 25 meters deep. A stone stairwell in the cave leads to two halls downstairs. In the first, 350 meter, long hall the walls look like drapes with countless colors. The limestone formations formed as organ pipes produce different tones, when you tap on them. Behind a pile of rocks lives an extensive colony of bats, formed with 12 to 14 different species (this is one of the largest colonies of France). In winter, the cave is closed for the public because the bats fly freely through the cage, in search for some warmth. Warm clothing is a must for your visit; the temperature is only 12 degrees Celsius. Paleontologists have excavated tens of thousands of bones and skulls belonging to extinct creatures such as the mammoth, the giant deer, the woolly rhino, the sable tooth tiger and so on, in only a small part of the cave. The cave is opened from April 1st until October 10th.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Gouffre de la Fage: 30 Km
The most unimpaired limestone, also used for the roofs of Le-Mont-St-Michel, once came from the quarries of Travassac, a village at about 10 to 15 minutes drive from Brive. This quarry is nowadays open for tourists, and together with its small museum that tells the history of the limestone recovery, are both worth a visit. If you are visiting during a weekday in the French holiday season and the gate is closed, you can always walk up the limestone path that leads to the parking lot. At the left you will see the edge of the rock a platform – surrounded by fences – from where you will have a dazzling view into the depths of the quarries. A unique experience, also when you are not afraid of heights.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Limestone pits Les Pans de Travassac: 28 Km
At 13 km southwest of Brive-la-Gaillarde you will find the Lac du Causse, which is 100 hectares. It is situated in the high Causse Corrézien, amidst a wonderful nature reserve. It has three beautiful sandy beaches and besides swimming it is also possible to row boats, canoe, water-ski, to surf or sail. There are picnic tables in the grass, in the shadows behind the beach that will make your stay even more comfortable. The Base Nautique de Port Lissac rents out water bikes, boats and surfing boards.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Lac du Causse: 21 Km
The area is very suitable for walking. You can choose the long GR-walks or the short routes. Almost every Frenchman, born during or after the second world war, has walked a Grande Randonnée (large hiking tour). These national long distance walking tracks have been developed after the war. Ever since, France has had an extensive network of red and white marked walking tracks, that are indicated with the letters GR and a number. They run past ancient villages and towns, through forests, valleys, clefts, meadow-lands, vineyards and alongside lakes and rapid rivers. The most important tracks are the GR 46 (from the Vézere valley in north-southern direction through Corrèze and is 145 km long), the GR 440 (from Millevaches to Monédiéres, through the mountains of Limousin and is 117 km long) and the GR 480 (alongside the rivers Cere and Dordogne with a distance of 200 km). These walking route maps are available with the French Walking Association. More information? Check www.ffrp.asso.fr.
Corréze also has more than 300 short walking routes. The communities, tourist information offices and various clubs together have dearly defined a number of interesting walking routes; a good way of getting to know the beauty of nature, the cultural inheritance and the local traditions. The most beautiful tracks have been bundled in a topoguide of 150 pages: “Chamina”, walking tours and ATB-tours “La Corréze” with 40 tracks. Perfect for those who want to discover all aspects of our department.
Just outside Tourtoirac, the road bends away from the Auvézere and then crosses the D704, leading you to the photogenic, medieval town of Hautefort, situated directly under the Château de Hautefort. The reason why this majestic castle looks more like one of the castles in the Loire than like the typical Périgord medieval fortified buildings, is because it was built in the 17th century. The direct surroundings of the castle, built on the end of a high plateau, are a beautifully created garden in French style and a forest that is accessible for visitors. The central part of the castle was destroyed by a fire in 1968, but it has been rebuilt en decorated. A photo exhibition shows the castle before and after the fire. In the Salle de Damas Aubusson carpets are exposed, in the weaving room Flemish carpets. The for visitors obligatory tour of the various castle halls does not take up too much of your time. In the valley, in the town of Hautefort, it is also possible to visit the Hopital, established by a 17th century lord of the castle. Nowadays, it is a medical museum.
Distance Château du Bois Noir – Hautefort: 27 Km