French property watch: Journey back in time in Corrèze

If a slow-paced lifestyle is what you are looking for, then this quiet department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine might be for you

Corrèze is Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s oft-forgotten gem


MAIN CITIES/towns: Brive-la-Gaillarde, Ussel, Malemort, Saint-Pantaléon-de-Larche, Egletons

There are many reasons for moving to France: the easier pace of everything, escaping the rat race, the climate, the food and drink, the lifestyle – all of it summed up in the three French words joie de vivre. And it is hard to find a part of France more dedicated to those three mots justes than Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s oft-forgotten Corrèze, in the south west.

Its pretty granite houses, pleasant little towns, villages and hamlets, and a slower pace of life are a journey back in time all by themselves. Named after the River Corrèze, which runs through the department, it has mountains, plateaux and valleys, lakes, rivers and gorges. The Millevaches natural park extends across the department, as well as the Creuse and Haute-Vienne.

It is also known for launching the political careers of two recent presidents, Jacques Chirac and François Hollande.

Brive-la-Gaillarde is the largest town in the department – but with a population of around 45,000, it’s not exactly a big city. Prices for a typical home are around €1,651 per m² – but, as always, if you are prepared to shop around, you will find some bargains are available.

In the much smaller prefecture town of Tulle, prices can drop away to around €995 per m² – and in the many small towns and villages, prices can be even lower.

It may be a French land that time forgot, but Corrèze is superbly located and served by low-cost airlines to airports in Limoges and Brive. The TGV rail network from Paris and the motorway connects you to the north of France and to Spain and beyond. You have to sometimes wonder what else this department has to do to get noticed…

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