Walking in France: Videix in the Snow
The walk begins at Les Trois Chenes
Snow is an event in Limousin
At the end of November it snowed which is quite an event in Videix. When the sun came out we just couldn't wait to get out into the countryside and enjoy the "winter wonderland". Of course I took pictures so that I could share them and to show that Limousin is the perfect holiday destination in winter as well as summer.
Where is Videix?
Walking and rambling in Limousin, France
Limousin is a wonderful place for ramblers and walkers. The roads are empty and the paths numerous. There are short walks and long walks and plans are a-foot (no pun intended) to link the local paths to regional long-distance trails. In 2003 the Conseil Général, (the governing body) of the Haute-Vienne put in place a plan to create a system of paths in order to promote walking and tourism in the area. You'll find that the footpaths are well maintained on the whole and clearly marked. Although we have rolling hills, we don't have mountains and you are rarely far from a village so the walking is not too trying.
This region is lovely all the year round. The winters are cold but often clear and sunny. We do get snow sometimes but not more than a few centimeters and it rarely lasts more than a few days. Of course, for a land of lakes and rivers, we get a fair amount of rain, especially in winter. The countryside in spring is a-wash with flowers, summers can be hot, but then you can cool off in the swimming lakes, and the autumn colours are spectacular.
For a very long walk indeed why not join the Pilgrim Route of Saint Jacques, the Camino de Santiago? One of these 'ways of Saint James' begins in Vézelay, France, and then passes through Limoges and Les Salles, not far from Vayres where the pilgrims would visit the church of Saint Eutrope. Of course it ends in Santiago de Compostela in western Spain.
Have you thought of a winter walking break in France?
Or are you a strictly summer walker?
This winter walk takes you around the hamlet of Videix
How to use Google Maps to mark a route
- How to mark a route on Google Maps, save personalised maps and get backlinks
How to mark a route on Google Maps. This is a simple, illustrated explanation which will save you time and effort. Useful to mark boundaries, walks, roads and areas. Useful for me to mark footpaths in and around our B&B in France
The path to the Charente
If you begin at Les Trois Chenes, (follow the route here), turn right and cross the road. You'll find yourself at the War Memorial and the start of the walk to the river Charente. At this point the river is just a tiny stream and the children go there to catch cray fish and watch the dragon flies. If you cross the river you eventually arrive at the village of Saint Gervais.
You can see a board on the left which has a diagram of the longer walks in the area.
We, however, are going to turn left and onto the footpath that goes behind the Mairie. The Marie is like a little town hall and the fact that it exists at all shows how much bigger and more important Videix used to be. It was also the local primary school in days gone by and Monsieur Besse, who sold Les Trois Chenes to us used to go there as a boy. How times have changed. The local school now is Rochechouart, about ten minutes away by car and the children are picked up and taken to and from school by bus.
Le Parc naturel régional Périgord-Limousin
Videix is situated within the Natural Park of Perigord-Limousin. The area was designated a protected region in 1998 because of its value as a natural resource. The land here is one of lakes and hills, fields and woodlands that offer very high natural diversity and so support an incredible range of wild life and plant life. The population is sparse and the farming methods relatively low-tech and so nature flourishes.
The park was set up to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the area, to care for and to preserve the landscape, the plants and animals, but also to protect the human population and to preserve their way of life. The old skills of the foresters, farmers, and artisans are promoted, along with traditional recipes and foods. In Limousin every village has at least one well and a bread oven. In Limousin, you take a step back in time.
There are deer and wild boar in these woods
The woods are full of wild life. You'll see owls, buzzards, deer and so much more. If you are really lucky, you might see one of the many wild boar that cause havoc in the farmers' fields here.
The local men spend much of their time out hunting the deer and the boar in order to control them as their natural predators, the wolf, have been eradicated from Limousin, the last one was killed in the 1950s. In the north of Limousin, Gueret, there is a wolf reserve where you can go and see, and hear, these animals. Read more in Land of Wolves and Witches
The path takes you past oak and chestnut woods
The path takes you through the oak and chestnut woods. These trees are used for wood, building and for firewood, also for the paper and cardboard industry. The paper factories at Saillat constitute one of the largest employers of the area.
Limousin and sweet chestnuts have a long history. This was a poor region and in the past the people relied on chestnuts to make flour and see them through the winter. Many of the local recipes use chestnuts; glacé, in black sausages, cakes and a most delicious chestnut liqueur.
There are several chestnut drying houses, or Clediers, in the area and a walk starting from Vayres takes you past one of them: Vayres and the Chestnut Drying House
There are also open fields used to graze cattle or sheep, and to grow grass for hay or sweetcorn for winter fodder. Although not typical of the region, there are fields of sun flowers. In spring the meadows and verges are full of wild flowers, and in Autumn the colours of the trees and bracken are breathtaking. Have a look at my Limousin Scrapbook.
You can pick mushrooms in autumn and see the famous Limousin cattle all the year round.
The sky really was this colour
The countryside around Videix is beautiful
The tiny hamlet of La Veyrie
After about twenty minutes, you'll arrive at the road, and if you cross over, you can continue down a tiny road signed 'La Veyrie'. This is a pretty little corner of France that time has forgotten. Most of the houses were empty when I arrived here eight years ago, but people have spotted the potential and are buying up property at very low prices. Despite the 2002/3 property rush, there's still plenty of beautiful properties for sale here.
I love this village because it is on a loop from the main road and so it has no passing traffic. There is also a footpath down to Videix lake with its restaurants, beach and water sports.
The ditches of La Veyrie are yellow in spring with flag irises and full of frogs. It is a delightful place.
Five minutes later and you'll arrive in the village of Videix. The first thing that you'll see is the cemetery with its rather magnificent monuments, (by comparison with the much more modest houses). There's a wealth of local information and history here for anyone who cares to look. I won't dwell on it here, though.
At the cemetery, turn right and you'll arrive in the 'cenrtre' of Videix. The commune of Videix is small, it extends for 16,6 km² and has 256 habitants, but this includes not only Videix itself, but La Veyrie, Saint Gervais and all the little pockets of houses and farms as well. Videix village was once much larger with a bar-tabac, an auberge, grocers and cycle shop. Alas, all these have now been converted to houses as the population plummeted due to lack of work in the area. The church is tucked away behind the houses and is listed as an ancient monument. It dates back to the 12th century and obviously had frescoes in the past but there is practically nothing left of them now. Still, the church makes a pretty centre piece.
A well in the snow
I'm going to finish the walk with a photo of this quaint little well. There are a couple of magnificent houses in Videix, and a little chateau some way away, and for that reason not a part of this walk, but I'll save these for another time. Instead I've included the well because it is such a pretty picture, but also because the wells here are still in use, and when we had our well water tested when we arrived it was declared potable.
We don't drink the water, but many people link the wells to the baths, toilets and garden taps so they don't have to pay water charges. The joys of country life.
I hope you've enjoyed this armchair walk
I hope that you have enjoyed these pictures and little bit of history, but more than that I hope that it has whetted your appetite and that you'll come and have a look for yourself.
For more walks have a look at Walks in the Haute-Vienne Marked maps of great walks for you to print out and take on your walks. Lots of extra information about things to see, wild life, places of interest.
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Limousin really is a winter wonderland
A Painting holiday in France is the perfect gift to give on a cold, winters day
Not sure what to get your loved one this Christmas? A birthday celebration or wedding anniversary gift? Give a painting holiday in Limousin, or a week to relax in France.
What about a shopping break in the home of Limoges porcelain for anyone who loves fine china or who simply loves to shop? (Lets face it, this includes most women, doesn't it?)
To book a surprise holiday with us contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
In winter your thoughts turn to summer holidays - why not join us for a painting break in France?
Videix lake singing as the ice melts
Other articles about Les Trois Chenes and the Limousin Region
- The Big Limousin Almanac 2011
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