The ethereal village of Collonges-la-Rouge consists of structures that were built from red sandstone quarried in the region. Founded by the monks of Charroux Abbey in the 8th Century, the village attracted a population of peasants, craftsmen and tradesmen who lived and prospered around its fortified walls. The initial priory buildings have since been destroyed, but still remaining are several influences from the 16th and 17th Centuries, including the Maison de la Sirène (House of the Mermaid) and several sandstone houses along the Rue de la Barrière.
We arrived in Collonges-la-Rouge and were able to walk through it in less than an hour. The village is quaint and there are several artisan shops throughout, all of them made of the same red sandstone described above. France’s “red” village could work for our film, but I got the sense that it’s designed as more of a tourist destination than it appears as a town that is “lived in” and this concerns me. Also, hotel accommodations in the area are sparse and technical assistance could be a challenge. Having said this, there is something alluring about Collonges-la-Rouge that I didn’t find in every village we visited.