DEPARTMENTS: Aveyron, Lot, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne
MAIN CITIES: Cahors, Figeac, Rodez, Millau, Albi, Castres, Montauban, Castelsarrasin
THE NORTHERN half of the former Midi-Pyrénées region, now part of the larger Occitanie super-region, is a green and pleasant combination of rolling hills and mountain foothills.
It is a place of busy towns and sleepy villages that oozes southern French olde-worlde rural charm.
And yet, sandwiched between the more sought-after eastern ‘Dordogneshire’ and western Paca (just a small part of Languedoc-Roussillon keeps them apart), it’s a relatively forgotten no-man’s land for anglophone property hunters seeking a personal slice of the France idyll.
That’s not to say it’s undiscovered country. You’ll find plenty of English-speakers in and around the main towns, along with popular haunts such as the bohemian village-on-a-hill Cordes-sur-Ciel, if that’s what you’re looking for – but this corner of France is forever, proudly, French.
House prices are, on the whole, lower than in better-known hotspots for British home-hunters – though it seems an increasing number of investors are catching on.
Property prices in Montauban, for example, have risen 13% year on year, report the Notaires de France – though a typical older property in the largest town in the four departments will still cost about €190,000. And you can find similar properties in Aveyron for under €150,000.
Transport links are reasonable. Rodez airport has flights to the UK, Toulouse is within easy travelling distance – and while Castres (which also has a small, internal airport) is currently the largest town in France not to have a direct motorway link, that will change after plans for an autoroute connecting it to Toulouse were approved.