Why is Collonges red ?

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You are probably wondering why the houses in Collonges are red.
Collonges is located along the Meyssac fault, which distinctly separates two very different geological types of land.

Sandstone to the north, made up by sand and clay deposits, which occured with the erosion of the Central Massif, 280 million years ago: the iron oxide contained in the clay is what causes the intense reddish colour of the sandstone in Meyssac, and the paler red colour in Brive’s sandstone. The sandstone present in the soil is favourable to the growth of chestnut trees, which makes for a lovely green panorama.

South of the fault, there is an abrupt change of scenery, with a limestone plateau that opens up onto the “causse lotois” landscape. Its vegetation is neither high high nor dense. The town of Collonges is located upon this limestone zone.

The red sandstone used for building, is taken from Puy de Valege, north of the town. It is chosen for its quality : it is both resistant and easy to shape. Beige Grammont sandstone is occasionally used with limestone to create a polychrome effect. Elsewhere, these types of stone are used, rather than red sandstone, which is only used as a supplement.

Originally, the red rubblestone used for the shell was coated. The dressed stone used to make coigns and window and door frames was the only stone that was not coated. It was only in 1930, when building renovations began, that stonework started to be left exposed. In fact, Collonges only became « la Rouge» in 1969, to distinguish it from other towns by the same name.

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Between towers and “castels”

Why is Collonges red ?

It’s quite unusual for a village to be red ! This video reveals the origin of this peculiar type of stone : sandstone, which the houses of Collonges are all made of.

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