Turenne sits perched high on a hill with its towers making a pleasing symmetry. In the central Correze department, it is deservedly designated one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.
This hilly region is rich in beautiful castles and villages and Turenne was once a stopping point on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. It has many houses and buildings from the 13th through to the 17th centuries.
Interestingly, this region was not part of the kingdom of France but an independent fiefdom until the 18th Century. In 1738 the feudal lord of the manor sold the viscounty to the French king to pay off his gambling debts. Louis XV demanded that the fortified castle be destroyed but the Marechal du Tourain insisted on retaining the two towers that we see today. From then onwards Turenne had to pay taxes to the French state.
Perhaps even more fascinating is the adjoining village of Nazarette sur Turenne, which was named by the Viscount on his return from the Crusades.
In the 1930s a kibbutz was established here by refugees from Nazi Germany and Jewish people were given agricultural training before emigrating to Palestine. Around 800 Jews lived here over three years, going on to help in the establishment of the state of Israel.
History aside, Turenne is a gorgeous place, filled with flowers in summer and surrounded by rich green countryside. It fully deserves it’s inclusion on the list of the most beautiful villages of France.
By Natasha von Geldern