There are quieter, more rural areas of France than the northern end of the former Midi-Pyrénées region, which has now been subsumed into the larger Occitanie ... but not many.
The 58,000-population Montauban, capital of Tarn-et-Garonne, is the largest town in the four departments, which boast a total area that is a little larger than Wales and has a combined population about that of Birmingham.
The landscape veers from the sheer drama of the Causse du Larzac moonscape in the Aveyron, to the rolling, easy-on-the-eye green hills, winding rivers, vineyard-dotted countryside and shamelessly pretty villages of the Tarn that have prompted some to dub the department “The Tuscany of France”. The area has reasonable transport links. The roads are generally well maintained, while Rodez has an airport with flights to the UK, and the European hub of Toulouse is within easy travelling distance.
It is about to get easier still. After more than 20 years, approval has finally been given for a motorway connecting Castres to Toulouse, making the Tarn town even more attractive to property buyers wanting an easy commute to the Pink City while avoiding the price tag of actually living there.
The advice, then, is to get in quick, as property prices look set to rise in the years to come from their current Notaires de France averages of €1,270/m2 in the Tarn; €1,060 in the Aveyron; €1,300 in Tarn-et-Garonne; and €1,200 in Lot to more closely match the €2,250/m2 average in the Toulousain department of Haute-Garonne.