The department of Corrèze, in southwest France, region Nouvelle Aquitaine (formerly Limousin) is a land of outstanding natural beauty. Unspoiled countryside, dramatic rivers and forests as well as gentle farmland.
It’s a great place to live says British expat Ann McCarthy, you can go skiing in the mountains, go to the beach, a day out in Spain – or Paris, and all of them within a morning’s drive. The weather is clement with long hot summers and clearly defined seasons. And, there’s a huge range of house styles, plus you get more for your money than in neighbouring Dordogne…
What brought you to France?
I first moved to France in 2007 to live on a cow farm in the countryside of Lubersac but moved to a house in the town in 2011 and set up a cleaning business. I worked hard and the business was a success, I made good friends and learned to speak French.
One night in Feb 2017 I was in a bar in Limoges and this gorgeous French man came in and winked at me .. and that was it! Alex, his name, was a mechanic from Limoges and we now live together in a beautiful house with wonderful countryside views.
I started working for Leggett Immobilier, the award winning property agents in 2018 and Alex joined me there last year – we’re the perfect team to help people looking for property in the area.
We are on the border with the Haute Vienne, not far from Limoges and an easy drive to the A20 main auto route. We love the rolling countryside, tractors passing, cows in the fields and apple orchards. It’s proper France. The people are kind and down to earth. The community around us have made us welcome.
What do you love about the area?
My children love to do the geocaching game Terra Aventura, where you visit villages and follow a treasure hunt. You learn about the village and the walks are beautiful. Great fun for all the family. There are villages I have driven through so many times and never actually realised how beautiful they were or what treasures they were hiding. We sometimes pop over the Dordogne border, Sarlat is just 90 minutes away. And from where we are we are only about 3.5 hours from the coast so if it’s a nice weekend we may book a night at the beach or somewhere like La Rochelle.
We can even pop to Spain, San Sebastian for a weekend is brilliant.
The area where we live is stunning. We have 5 Plus Beaux Villages. Ségur-le-Chateau is especially lovely with a river running through the medieval village and a 12th century chateau. There is a Monday night farmers market with music and dancing. In nearby Arnac Pompadour, horse racing takes place throughout the summer months and the festival highlight is the 14th July celebrations with the firework display over the chateau.
Further afield there’s the city of Brive, historic and great for shopping. Close by, the Canal des Moines at Aubazine is a must see. The beautiful walk follows a little mini canal which the monks constructed through the rocky hills to bring water from a source into the village. The views are incredible. It’s also on the Chemin de St Jacques.
We are very lucky to live within walking distance of one of the best restaurants in the Limousin, Le Tilleul de Sully in Montgibaud. In Meuzac, perched overlooking the lake is the Escala dau Lemosi which is brilliant.
Property guide to Corrèze
Ségur-le-Chateau is very popular with British buyers, as is Coussac-Bonneval which has a lovely chateau. People generally include on their wish list: stone-built house, lovely gardens and views, not too far from a village or town with a bakery and a bar. There’s plenty of choice here, for instance Coussac is ideal.
The big draw for this area is the closeness to the A20 autoroute and to Limoges, and easily accessibility to the airport. And France is becoming more popular for Brits who want to live the good life but also to earn an income. There are lots of opportunities to run a B&B, gite or b&b and plenty of properties with barns that can be used as workshops.
If you’re looking for a friendly town that has everything, I recommend Lubersac. It’s the sort of place that gets missed off property searches. A beautiful and historic town with a lively market square and pretty chateau, this little town has it all. There are three supermarkets, schools all the way up to college and all amenities in the town. Pompadour, Ségur and Coussac are popular searches but check out Lubersac too – it has lots of possibilities.
The Dordogne department is only a short distance away but you’ll get more for your money in a Limousin postcode. Pick the right area and you’ll be just a short drive away, Dordogne will be your playground but without the price tag.
House styles vary but there are lots of stone properties, not the light stone like in Dordogne, but darker stone. Converted barns are also plentiful. There are lots of properties with lakes, or even lakes on their own. And if you’re after a bargain do-er upper, you’re bound to find something here.
Tips for home hunters in Corrèze
Be realistic about what you need. You might love the look of the pretty cottage in the middle of nowhere but consider the reality of a cold snowy morning when you need to go out for bread and milk.
Make sure you understand French “ways”. Things can be very different from the UK when it comes to buying a property. France is famous for its bureaucracy and paperwork and when it comes to buying a property, it can take time. Relax, enjoy the process and let your agent help you deal with the details.
See Ann’s property portfolio in the Corrèze
Find out about becoming an agent for Leggett: www.frenchestateagents.com/pages/recruitment