Donzenac travel guide

Photo of Donzenac

Visit Donzenac (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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Located in the Corrèze department, the small town of Donzenac is 10 kilometres north of Brive-la-Gaillarde in the Limousin region of southern France.

Explore Donzenac

One of the best views of the town is from the parking area behind Avenue du Salavert - from here you are looking across a valley at a long row of old houses.

Donzenac town itself is not very large and easy to visit. You will start your visit in the main square next to the church, in the centre of the town - you should be aware that there are interesting sites in both directions from this main square.

Start by walking up the hill towards the north, passed the tourist office of Donzenac.

medieval houses in Donzenac

Pass through Porte Roche, one of the original entrances through the defences in the town and on Rue du Puy Broche you can see a stone house that was built in the 13th century and is the oldest houses in the Limousin.

The facade of the house is built of granite and has attractive arched windows and doorway, and has received an award for the quality of its restoration (it is in very good condition and you would not guess it is one of the oldest houses in France). Inside the houses is also supported by a central pillar. 

Note: the original house had four stories, but the top floor was later replaced by a roof.

Close to here you can see two more of the 11 original entrances to the town centre and a pair of medieval houses.

Returning to the main square, take a look at the 13th century belltower on the church.

A short distance south of the square there is a second, smaller square where you can see a small market hall wth stone columns and a very lovely colombage houses with three stories, now used as a hairdresser salon.

There are picnic tables under the market hall (and a shop selling sandwiches and cakes on the Tour de Ville a short distance east of here), and you will also find restaurants in this square so it is a good place for lunch.

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Elsewhere in the town centre you will notice other minor attractions including two historic chapels, parts of the Convent des Cordeliers, founded in the 13th century, and a cemetery wall incorporating tombstones from the 13th century.

Donzenac contains all the local businesses – butchers, small supermarket, bakers and restaurants serving the traditional cuisine of the Corrèze. Those who enjoy confit de canard will be especially at home!

After exploring the town centre you can follow the walk around the ramparts.

Festival of Donzenac

We arrived at Donzenac at the beginning of August, when the town was holding its annual two-day medieval festival. This festival is a true journey back in time, with the streets filled with entertainers, jugglers, dancers and various other spectacles, and people wearing traditional medieval costumes.

There are also storytellers, minstrels and demonstrations of traditional trades and crafts, and the chance for children to participate in various activities. The medieval festival ends with a traditional feast.

Travassac Quarry

In Donzenac, as in much of the region, the roofs of the houses have a peculiarity – they are in blue-grey slate, rather than the red clay tiles that are more usual in the southern half of France. The slate for these tiles is quarried, as it has been for 300 years, in the neighbouring hamlet of Travassac.

The quarry can be visited – the enormous rocks (known as the Pans de Travassac) create an interesting and fascinating landscape with crevasses up to 100 metres deep. Your exploration will take you across suspended footbridges and up staircases carved into the rock.

There is also a small exhibition and museum showing the history and techniques used in a slate quarry.

Eau de Noix

There is a drink that is local to the area around Donzenac called ‘eau de noix’ and made using a recipe handed down from generation to generation. As a base the recipe uses walnuts that are still green and in their shells, eau de vie, wine and sugar.

Our friends offered us some to try and it was delicious, and even better it apparently has medicinal qualities!

market hall in Donzenac

The area around Donzenac

The region around the town is valleyed, interspersed with steep escarpments, which contributes greatly to its beauty. It is also very verdant, and interspersed with numerous streams and small rivers – much appreciated by the many trout fishers in the region.

For those who enjoy nature and walking in the countryside there are numerous marked pathways in the vicinity, in the beautiful Valley of Maumont – a guide is available (small charge payable) in Donzenac.

There are many other places to visit in the region, although many of the most popular are south of Brive around Collonges-la-Rouge (to the south-east) and Saint-Amand-de-Coly (in the Dordogne department to the south-west of here).

To the north of Donzenac you should visit the historic centre of Uzerche and to the west you can visit one of the most popular castles in France at Chateau de Hautefort.

Explore elsewhere in the Massif Central. You can find more travel ideas in the Correze guide and the Limousin guide.

See also: 

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Hotels in Donzenac

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Map of Donzenac and places nearby

 
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Tourist classifications for Donzenac

Donzenac is classified as a recommended place to break a long journey (village d'etape)

Address: Donzenac, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Limousin, 19270, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 45.2281, longitude 1.525

Plan your visit to Donzenac, Correze

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Gouffre de la Fage: site of natural beauty (14 km)
  • Turenne: most beautiful village (20 km)
  • Jardins de l'Imaginaire: remarkable garden (21 km)
  • Collonges-la-Rouge: most beautiful village (21 km)
  • Uzerche: village d'etape (22 km)
  • Cascades de Gimel: site of natural beauty (27 km)
  • Segur-le-Chateau: most beautiful village (28 km)
  • Saint-Amand-de-Coly: most beautiful village (28 km)
  • Abbaye de Saint Amand de Coly (Saint-Amand-de-Coly): religious monument (28 km)
  • Jardins du château de Hautefort: remarkable garden (30 km)
  • Curemonte: most beautiful village (31 km)
  • Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac: remarkable garden (32 km)

The French version of this page is at Donzenac (Francais)

 
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