Montmorillon is in the department of the Vienne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine (formerly Poitou-Charentes) in south west France. The town is situated on the Gartempe river at the geographical crossroads of Indre, Haute-Vienne and the Vienne. Around 50 miles from the city of Poitiers and 30 miles from Limoges, both of which have airports with flights to the UK, the town has a lot to offer those looking for a permanent move or second home in France.
Montmorillon is famous for its Cité de l’Ecrit et des Metiers du Livre, a town of books and writing. It specialises in second-hand book sellers, book specialists and craftsmen from calligraphers to illustrators..
We talk to Debra and Les Bush, a former childminder and plumber from Surrey about life in the Vienne. Both now local property agents they share some of their top tips for property seekers in the Montmorillon area.
Can you tell us a little about you and where you are from?
We moved to the Vienne in 2005 to seek a more relaxed way of life. We bought a barn which we slowly renovated. Initially, we lived in our caravan which was no easy task with a 5 year old, a dog and a cat. We kept chickens and reared sheep on our land which was a really great learning experience for us all.
In 2016 we moved into Montmorillon to start a new renovation project and so that our daughter could go to the school there. Our daughter is now training to be a nurse in Poitiers. We feel really lucky to live in such a beautiful area with friendly locals who have such strong family values.
What inspired you to move to the Vienne?
Wide open spaces. Easy to get back to the UK either by plane or road. Diverse terrain for walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing. General relaxed lifestyle. Family friendly. Excellent healthcare, great schools and good roads…
We like renovating and our current project is a three storey property in town – we would never be able to afford it in the UK.
We fell in love with the history of the region and love to visit the chateaux in this area. The countryside with its lakes and rivers reminds us of the Surrey countryside.
What are the attractions of Montmorillon and the area?
Montmorillon is a great town. Not so big you can’t get to know it well, and not so small that you never run out of things to do. We love to have a picnic by the river and enjoy water sports such as water skiing and kayaking. The town has good restaurants and shops.
Futuroscope, the theme park which is all about multimedia is easy to get to. It’s an amazing place, not like any other theme park you’ll have been to. Science, technology, cinema – including 4D, it’s hard to describe but it’s brilliant for the whole family.
There’s a great monthly market at nearby Coulonges Les Herolles. It’s one of France’s largest open air street markets, and the oldest in the region. You can find just about everything here! At St Savin, along the river Gartempe, the 11th century Abbey church has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s a great place to visit and take a wander.
There are loads of outdoor activities to do in the area from hiking to horse riding, fishing and cycling.
The surrounding countryside is wonderful.
We feel like we have the best of everything here, countryside, seaside and great facilities.
Expert Property guide to Montmorillon and around
Montmorillon and the outlying smaller towns and villages are popular with expats as there’s plenty of property choices to suit every budget. And for those who don’t mind doing a bit of DIY and renovating, there are some real bargains to be found.
Home seekers usually like to have a bakers and a café within walking distance and a local market they can visit once a week.
For those who want lots of space and not to be in a busy town centre, there’s a lot of choice where you can be close to villages and amenities.
There are pretty villages around Montmorillon with properties for sale at reasonable prices. Places like Saulgé, La Trimouille, Journet, Lathus St Remy and St Leomer are well worth looking at.
What are typical properties like in the area?
The town of Montmorillon has fine old houses and town houses. In the surrounding area, stone built houses and barns with land are typical. This area has appeal for young families, middle aged people, retirees and professionals who can work remotely. There is a mix of holiday home purchasers and those who are looking for a permanent home.
You’ll find a wide range of properties in this area – complete renovations to beautiful homes that are completely finished. Modern bungalows may not have the character that typical British buyers crave, but for retirees they offer all the mod cons, lock up and leave security and ease of maintenance that an old property might not. There really is something to suit all tastes and budgets in an area that offers a true French taste of the good life…
See Debra and Les Bush’s portfolio of property in and around Montmirillon and the department of the Vienne, Haute Vienne and Indre: www.frenchestateagents.com