If you’re looking for a rural home in France that’s both affordable and a nice place to live, have you considered Limousin? It’s a region in central France that’s often overlooked for its more rural neighbours, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have anything to offer. In fact, it’s quite the opposite..
History of the Limousin
The Limousin is a beautiful rural region pretty much in the centre of France, composed of 3 departments: Correze, Creuse and Haute Vienne. In 2016 when the areas of France were reconfigured, it became part of the large Nouvelle Aquitaine area of France. Its history is fascinating: right from the 12th to the 15th century, it was an area of dispute between the French and the English. The marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Hentry 11 of England made the Limousin part of England but Philip 11 Augustus recovered it in the 13th century. Then came the Hundred Years’ War when it was given up to English ownership, only to be recovered by the French king Charles V. Thus it remains a part of France until this day.
This is one of the smallest and least populated regions of France, making it a most attractive area for second home owners seeking tranquillity and rural beauty. Interestingly, the word “limousine” meaning a long car comes from the area, although the cars themselves do not come from here! The region is also known for its cattle.
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Where is the Limousin?
The Limousin lies roughly in the centre of the country with the airport at Limoges offering flights from many airlines from the UK. There is also the airport at Brive which serves the UK. By train, there are regular trains from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz to Limoges and Brive la Gaillarde. By car, the A20 motorway from Paris crosses the region. From Calais to the LImousin area will take just under 7 hours to drive. It is a good place to think about taking an overnight break on any car journey from the north to the south of the country.
The climate in the Limousin is seasonal and oceanic, meaning it has a fair amount of rainfall in the winter and spring months but warm, sometimes quite humid summers. The closer you are to the mountains, the cooler it will be. Summers tend to be lovely with plenty of sunshine and the humidity means that plants and flowers flourish and the landscape is a rich shade of green.
What is it like and what are the capitals of each region?
Geographically, the Limousin is an area of beautiful hillsides, mountains and valleys. Yet it is home also to many stunning villages, is easy to access from the UK and is one of the cheapest areas in France in which to buy property.
Limoges is capital of the Haute Vienne and is the largest town with around 140,000 inhabitants. It was originally a Roman city and lies on the main route between Paris and Toulouse. A stunning town, famous for being a centre of culture and art, it became known for its porcelain industry. The historical part of the town is just lovely with its cobbled narrow streets and ancient half timbered houses where the buildings from each side almost touch each other.
Gueret is the capital of the Creuse department. This quiet and very pretty town is situated on the edge of the Chabrieres forest and is encircled by a park and an archaeloguy museum housing collections of Limousin ceramics, enamels and other art objects.
Tulle is the capital of the Correze department. It was for centuries a centre for the production of lace and the material “tulle” (a fine lace material notably used for veils) was invented here.
Things to do in the Limousin
The area is known for its beautiful green landscapes, hills, forests and rivers as well as its old castles and monuments. If you like the outdoors life, this is the place for you: river pursuits such as kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and fishing are in abundance but there are also numerous hiking, cycling and horse riding trails. If you like fishing, there are also plenty of lakes open for fishing most of the year. Permits can be obtained from local bars and shops. The area is still not as well known as its neighbouring areas of the Dordogne and the Charente and since it is more sparsely populated, you are unlikely to be bothered by crowds of tourists even during the peak of the summer season!
The best villages in the Limousin
There are some lovely ancient villages in all 3 departments of the Limousin.
Treignac is in the Correze department and is in the “most beautiful villages of France” list. A medieval village, well kept and very beautiful, the houses are mostly built of granite and the village spreads out around a very traditional market place. Think little streets with individual boutique shops and cafes. The village is surrounded by lush countryside and nature.
Magnac Bourg is a pretty, little – and less widely known – village in the Haute Vienne department of the region. There are some lovely stone houses, some with turrets and a 15th century church as well as a lively street market. Outside the village are acres of orchards and plenty of hiking and biking trails in the countryside.
Turenne, in the Correze deaprtment, is also classified under “the most beautiful village of France” list. Another medieval village, it is located on top of a hill thus has fabulous views across the valleys. This is a great village if you like exploring tiny alleyways and feeling as though you have been transported back to medieval times!
Other villages of note are Aubusson (famous for its carpet manufacturing), Collonges la Rouge, Uzerche, Saint Leonard de Noblat and Curemonte.
Read more about The most beautiful villages in France 2022
Property types and prices in the Limousin
Farmhouses, manor houses and properties with gites are plentiful in the Limousin. There are also some modern houses. If you are up for a project, you may well find properties in the €50,000 region or sometimes even less! The area really does offer excellent value for money. Here are a few properties currently for sale:
1 – Village house with barn | France Property Guide (youroverseashome.com)
A lovely 2 bedroom house with stone barn and 2 courtyards. Close to small town of Rochechouart.
2 – .Charming family house | France Property Guide (youroverseashome.com)
An impressive 4-bedroom, renovated property in the peaceful hamlet of Azat-le-Ris.
3 –Village house with garden outbuildings | France Property Guide (youroverseashome.com)
Two-bedroomed home with views over the village chateau.
The Limousin is a region which is showing signs of increased popularity amongst both French and foreign house buyers. Now may well be the best time to explore the Limousin.
Don’t forget, you can find all these homes and more on Your Overseas Home’s France property portal.