The Creuse is one of the least populated French departments. Think space, greenery, a tranquil lifestyle, value for money and beauty. We explore 5 towns and villages in the Creuse department, all of which have a variety of affordable property to buy and are easy to reach from the UK.
This department has a huge amount to offer any property buyer: it is one of the cheapest areas in the country in which to buy with beautiful countryside, rolling hills and the river Creuse, as well as villages and towns with great amenities, wonderful landscapes, ancient castles, monuments and abbeys.
The Creuse is situated right in the middle of France in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Until January 2016, it was in the Limousin along with the departments of Correze and Haute Vienne but then merged with various other regions to form the much larger Nouvelle Aquitaine.
Perhaps the most known town in this department, Aubusson is famous for its carpets and tapestries. The Museum of Tapestry is a must see here, containing tapestries dating back some 400 years. Interestingly, the river Creuse has a particular composition which somehow fixed the tapestries’ pigments, which explains why the tapestry industry developed here many years ago.
The town itself is easy to explore on foot with charming stone medieval buildings and narrow streets. There are some first class but reasonably priced restaurants here serving good local dishes.
Property prices are incredibly reasonable here. Believe it or not, a budget of around €30,000 will buy you a small house with garden just outside the town. There are plenty of attractive old stone buildings with land here and if you are prepared to renovate, even €20,000 will buy you a property and some outside space! For around €150,000 you will be able to find a villa or totally renovated ancient detached property with a substantial amount of land.
Ahun is an extremely pretty ancient village located about a 20 minute drive from Aubusson and boasting a really lovely 11th century church. The river runs alongside Ahun, an ideal spot along which to take a stroll or bike ride. The village itself has a few lovely little restaurants, amongst which “Le Viaduc” which has a fantastic view of the Creuse valley.
This village is small but there is plenty of scope for finding a stone farmhouse property on the outskirts for a budget of around €50,000. If your DIY skills are good, you can even find property at around €20,000 here! A larger budget of around €150,000 should find you a large house with a good deal of land.
Boussac is a delightful little town, best known for its imposing castle in the centre. The little streets here are very picturesque, lined with colourful houses with ornate balconies. Boussac is often referred to as a “city in the countryside”. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in attractive ancient buildings, quaint boutique shops and cosy cafes.
Again, a relatively small budget of around €50,000 will afford you a small house with land on the outskirts of Boussac. Double this amount and you should be able to find a 4-5 bed house with even more land!
Evaux-les-Bains is a beautiful spa town. Blessed with natural springs, the history of Evaux-les-Bains is fascinating, with evidence from as long ago as the Roman times of Julius Caesar. Fast forward to the 19th century and the viaduct of the Tardes was built by Gustave Eiffel, which brought in the railway and ushered in the increasingly popular hydrotherapy age. Evaux-les-Bains offers modern cures in a tranquil setting; just lovely!
There are plenty of lovely ancient houses for sale, both renovated and for renovation around Evaux-les-Bains. A budget of €150,000 will find you a 3-4 bed house with garden and again, if you are up for some work, you can halve that amount and still find a decent house with exterior space.
Gueret is a mid-sized town and is the prefecture of the Creuse department. It is a lovely town with plenty to do and see in terms of culture and outdoor sporting activities, being located near to the Monts de Gueret (mountains) and the Chabrieres forest. There is a superb museum here, the Museum fo Art and Archaeology, which is well worth a visit for its paintings and archaeological exhibits. Lovers of fine food will not go hungry either, as there are some excellent restaurants here serving classic Limousine recipes.
Property here is slightly more expensive, since it is the capital of the department, but still one can find a decent family home for around €150,000.
Access from the UK
The closest airport serving the UK is Limoges airport, about an hour’s drive away (Limoges, by the way, is well worth a visit – super town). By car, it takes about 6 hours from Calais or Boulogne. The driving distance from Paris is around 4 hours so this would be a good stop off point.
The Creuse has a seasonal climate. It can get very hot in the summer and quite cold in the winter. Expect some rain during springtime but the advantage of this is that it has a lush green countryside. It is quite protected too since it is inland so wind is normally fairly light.
This area really is the heart of France, often overlooked by British buyers in favour of the more stylish and better-known Dordogne area. However, property prices are incredibly reasonable and the whole area is rich in history and natural beauty. From tiny villages to larger towns, there is a huge amount waiting to be discovered here. In short, this is a real gem of a department!