Cheap long term rentals in Limousin France
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The old French province of the Limousin is centered around the city of Limoges and covers the modern departments of Haute-Vienne, Corrèze and Creuse. This is one of the least densely populated areas of France and definitely the place to find cheaper long term rental properties in France.
The Limousin is located in the heart of France and borders Dordogne to the South-West, the Auvergne region to the East and the Central Loire region to the North.
The Limousin is a quiet, but beautiful part of rural France. Nobody is ever going to claim that it is the most exciting place to live in France, but that is the whole point. You would want to come to the Limousin to enjoy a simpler, less-stressful life. If you enjoy nature and the simpler pleasures in life, then this part of France is ideal. There is some fabulous walking country and the Limousin is reputed to have among the best air quality in France.
The Limousin is also one of the cheaper places to buy property in France, with median prices averaging around €120,000 - €140,000 (house prices in Creuse average around €600m2 compared to over €4,000m2 in Provence and Cote d'Azur). There are plenty of houses available for renovation projects and local builders in the area have for centuries been regarded as some of the best masons in France.
In 2016, the Limousin region was merged with the Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes regions to become the new French administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, covering the whole of South-West France. Although it has ceased to be an administrative region, the Limousin continues to be widely used as a term to describe this part of France and the Tourism sector still uses it as a brand to market the area.
The empty France
The landscape of the Limousin is mostly hills and valleys with green pastures, forests and lakes. The region is famous for its distinctive Limousin cows and agriculture forms a significant part of the local economy.
The only town of any real size in the Limousin region is the city of Limoges, with about 140,000 people. The area surrounding Limoges provides about half of all the jobs in the region. In addition to Limoges, the second biggest city in the Limousin is Brive-la-Gaillarde, with just under 50,000 residents.
The Creuse department in the North-East of Limousin, has only 117,000 residents, making it the second least populated department in France. The department has seen its population decline by over 50% since the time of the French Revolution and nearly 25% since 1968. On average, there are now just 21 people per km2.
The capital of Creuse is Guéret, a town of just 12,000 people. The department is located high up on the Massif Central plateau and large parts of the department contain the Limousin forest.
Aubusson, in the Creuse department grew to fame as an celebrated centre for tapestry production in the 16th-19th centuries.
The town of Bourganeuf was once the headquarters of the Knights Templar in this region of France.
The inhabitants of Creuse, lay claim to the French desert of Clafoutis, as a local delicacy. This popular baked dessert is made with batter and cherries.
The Creuse is noted for its long winters, often with snow (especially in the South of the department). Summers are short but pleasant (around 23°C / 75°F) and the Autumn is generally the best time to be here, with mild temperatures, crisp blue skies and the foliage of the trees turning yellow and burnt orange.
It does rain quite a bit in the Creuse, with around 1,000mm per year in the South and 600 mm in the North of the department. But during the year, there is an average of 15 dry days per month, with no rain.
The Haute-Vienne department is relatively over-run with people compared to the neighbouring departments of Creuse and Corrèze. The department is home to 373,000 people. However, when you consider that over 300,000 people live in the greater-Limoges area of the department, it shows you how few people live in the rest of the department.
Over one-third of the department is taken over by forests and there are many rivers and lakes, as well as plenty of historical castles (with Chateau de Rochechouart perhaps being the most famous).
Throughout the Haute-Vienne you will find plenty of medieval towns and villages, such as Solignac, Uzerche and Aubazine (home to the orphanage where Coco Chanel grew up). There is a famous 180km tourist trail called 'La Route Richard Coeur de Lion', which links up 19 churches, chateaux and villages all besieged by Richard the Lionheart, before he was killed in battle at Châlus-Chabrol, in the department.
Despite its lovely countryside, Haute-Vienne has always been an important industrial centre in Central France, especially for porcelain and leather work (shoes and gloves).
It also has a reputation as a centre for political militancy (a large strike in 1905 left one person dead and scores injured). Today it still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in France and Limoges (see below), is fast becoming one of the best places to live in France for studying and working.
The Haute-Vienne department is also home to one of the 160 officially listed Most Beautiful Villages in France. The village of Montemart was built around a 10th Century castle that was later destroyed on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu. Today only the tower of the castle remains, together with the medieval centre of the village, with market place and old merchant buildings.
Just over 240,000 people live in the Corrèze department, but nearly one-fifth of the population is centred around the town of Brive-la-Gaillarde. The department has seen a 25% reduction in its population since 1901.
Tulle is the capital of the Corrèze department. Tulle was formerly an important centre for textiles and its local MP, François Hollande, would later go on to become the President of France. It is also noted in France for the production of accordions - which may or may not want you to move here.
Brive is quite an attractive small town, with its distinctive sandstone buildings. It is a transport hub in the South of the Limousin, lying at the cross-section of the A89 motorway between Bordeaux and Lyon and the A20 Motorway between Toulouse and Paris.
Corrèze is home to 5 of the Most Beautiful Villages of France:
- The village of Collonges-le-Rouge is probably the most distinctive village in Corrèze, being built almost entirely from the local red rock.
- The village of Curemonte has a stunning hilltop position with lovely views. Located in the far South of Corrèze, on the border with the Lot department, the village features three castles, a 12th century Romanesque church, some well-preserved some medieval houses and a lovely market square.
- The lovely of Segur-le-Château is located on the banks of the river and features some beautiful medieval houses.
- Organized around a Benedictine monastery, the village of Saint-Robert, also features a beautiful fortified 12th Century Romanesque church and many medieval mansion houses
- The medieval village at Turenne has two fortified towers and comes with beautiful views across the Limousin countryside.
The Haute Corrèze area of the department, located on the Massif Central plateau, has developed an important tourism sector for hiking, climbing and mountain biking. In the southeast of the Corrèze department, there is a really picturesque section of the Dordogne river as it meanders past the towns of Bort-les-Orgues, Bassignac-le-Haut, Argentat and Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne. The river valley here has been granted UNESCO status.
Re-population - Retiring to Limousin France
Large parts of Limousin have been suffering from de-population for over 100 years, as younger people left for the cities in search of work. But around 2000, this decline started to level off, as house buyers from Holland, Belgium, the UK, Scandinavia and North America, all came in search of cheaper houses and a peaceful, tranquil life-style.
The French Statistics office, INSEE, has noticed a clear trend of Foreign residents favouring the least populated areas of France in which to live. Foreign residents from North America and other European countries are 16 times more likely to choose to live in areas with a declining population or a low density of population. The analysis showed that this group favoured moving to Nouvelle-Aquitaine, especially in the area covering the departments of Creuse, Haute-Vienne, the south part of Vienne, the north part of Charente and Dordogne [SOURCE: INSEE July 2020].
The reason for this trend, is that these areas tend to have lower house prices. For example, The city of Limoges remains one of the cheapest place in France to live (average house sale prices increased to €183,200 in 2022, a 6.5% increase over the previous 12 months).
INSEE found that over 92% of foreign residents in this area were home owners and they had bought their house as their main residence. Furthermore, over 56% of this group are classed as retired or economically inactive.
Discovering the Limousin
In addition to Limoges, the second biggest city in the Limousin is Brive-la-Gaillarde, with just under 50,000 residents. There is no other town in the Limousin with more than 20,000 inhabitants. Towns such as Tulle (the capital of the Corrèze department), Aubusson and Guéret (the capital of the Creuse department) are really just small market towns that haven't really grown at all during the last 100 years.
The famous brown Limousin cows are mainly reared for their high-quality meat. Traditionally, the cows also supplied the leather to the local tanning factories and were turned into high quality shoes and gloves. There are over 2.5 million Limousin cows in France today, second only to the famous Charolais breed.
The Limousin is not just home to cattle, it is also famous for its baronet lamb and the cul noir pork from the area around Saint-Yrieix. The region is also famous for its apples (there are more than 5,000 hectares of orchards dedicated to growing them) and its plentiful supply local chestnuts.
The Oak forests in the Limousin have for centuries been used to produce the oak barrels for Cognac (and Rémy Martin is reputed to still have a monopoly on all the local oaks).
The Limousin has an endless supply of natural lakes and rivers where you can sail, canoe, swim and fish. There are two regional natural parks (the Parc Naturel Régional Périgord Limousin and the Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches en Limousin) which are popular for hiking and mountain biking.
Best place to live in France: Limoges
The city of Limoges recently featured at #4 on the Top 10 list of best cities to live in France and it also scored highly in terms of quality of life on the Association Villes et Villages in-depth research (coming in at the 22nd best French town).
The Michelin travel guide summarises the best features of Limoges
" . . . it is a lively city, dotted with attractive boutiques which you can explore as you stroll through the streets and along the banks of the river Vienne . . ."
L'Express magazine nominated Limoges as a great place to live in France because it offers:
". . . a peaceful living environment with the purest air quality in France, it is a lively university town and there is a rich and varied theatre and musical cultural programme . . ."
Limoges is a small city, the 28th largest in France and due to its University, around a third of the population is under 30 years old.
Throughout its history, Limoges has been known for producing ceramics and porcelain, as well as oak barrels (used for storing Cognac), both of which made the city very wealthy.
Limoges is home to some of France's largest companies, including Legrand (electrical component manufacturer), Renault Trucks, Valeo, Schneider Electric and Haviland (a manufacturer of luxury porcelain goods, which draws on the city's long association with the Porcelain & Ceramics industry). The rate of unemployment in Limoges is below the national average (7.10% in 2022)
Limoges has a very famous basketball team (CPS Limoges), who play at the futuresque looking Stade de Beaublanc. They are the only French team who have won the European Basketball League. The city also has a decent Handball team and a not very good football team.
The climate in Limoges is pretty decent. It gets warm in the summer, but not baking hot (a nice 24°C/75°F). In the winter, it rarely drops below zero, with day time temperatures around 7°C/48°F. The only downside is that the winter months can be wet, especially in November.
Limoges is still definitely an affordable place to live. Despite property prices in the city booming over the last 2-3 years, in 2022, apartments in Limoges cost an average of €1,490 per square meter (which represents a staggering 17% increase over the previous 12 months) and the average sale price for houses was only €183,200.
In terms of travel, Limoges has a TGV railway (with direct connections to Paris and Toulouse). The A20 motorway connects Limoges with Orléans and Paris to the north, and Cahors, Montauban and Toulouse to the south. Limoges has its own airport, with regular flights to the UK (Bristol, Stansted, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Nottingham). Some seasonal flights are available to Portugal, Croatia, Majorca and Malta. In the centre of Limoges there is a quite well-developed public transport network (including one of the few remaining trolleybuses in France).
The area around Limoges is great for visiting grandchildren. Apart from the fantastic Futuroscope theme park located close to nearby Poitiers, you also have a good aquarium, the Reynou safari park, the Limousine Park, which is fantastic for kids and the huge indoor pools at L'Aquapolis.
Moving to Limousin rural France
If you are interested in moving to the Limousin in France, we feature a number of long term rental properties in the area. Rental house prices in the Limousin tend to be a lot cheaper than the rest of France and certainly a lot different to the neighbouring departments of Dordogne and Charente. You can often find a one bed property for around €550-600 per month + bills and a 2 bed property for €650-800 per month + bills. Here is a selection of the long term rental properties in the Limousin region:
Stone Cottage near Limoges long term rentals France Ref: 1946
The cottage is located in the small village of Nouaillas, close to Chateau Rochechouart in the Haute Vienne department. Haute Vienne is located just North of Dordogne and East of Charente. The popular town of Limoges is just 25 mins drive and features a lovely old town centre. Limoges was recently voted the 4th best place to live in France and was nominated as the best French city to retire to.
The cottage is very handy for the airport at Limoges (20 mins drive) which features flights to the UK (London Stansted, Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds-Bradford). Limoges train station, with TGV services direct to Paris, is just 25 mins away.
The cottage contains:
- 1 bedroom
- Private garden
- Fully-fitted kitchen
- WiFi and TV
This Stone cottage near Limoges, France, is available for long term rentals from €600 per month + bills. The cottage can be rented from 3 to 6 months between October to May.
Le Poirier cottage long term rentals Vienne France Ref: 2007
Le Poirier is a beautiful 18th century barn-conversion, with original oak beams and exposed stone walls. The cottage is situated on the border of the Vienne and Charente departments in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of South West France. Le Poirier is available for long term rentals between October to May from €600 per month + bills.
Inside, Le Poirier is deceptively spacious (60sqm) and is ideal for a couple looking to rent a place in France for a few months on a house-hunting trip or just a long vacation.
This well-equipped cottage contains exposed oak beams, a wood burning stove and plenty of original features.
- Large open-plan living room with original oak beams.
- Fully-equipped Kitchen
- Double bedroom with fitted wardrobe.
- Private terrace with BBQ, table and chairs.
- Secure on-site parking.
- Wood burner
Les Coindres cottage France, is available for long term rentals over the winter period from €650 per month + bills.
La Perdrix rural cottage for long term rentals France Ref: 2008
La Perdrix is a beautiful 18th century cottage, with original oak beams and exposed stone walls. The cottage is situated on the border of the Vienne and Charente departments in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of South West France. The cottage comes with 2 bedrooms and can sleep 2 people.
This beautiful cottage is located in an idyllic part of France with beautiful open countryside, slow running rivers and streams and quaint villages. The nearby towns of Civray and Charroux provide the local shops, supermarkets, restaurants and services that you will need on a day-to-day basis and the cities of Poitiers and Limoges provide all the big town services you will require. Both are 1 hour drive.
- The spacious living room features a double height ceiling with original oak beams and exposed stone walls.
- Fully-equipped Kitchen
- Double bedroom with fitted wardrobe.
- Private terrace with BBQ, table and chairs.
- Secure on-site parking.
- Wood burner
La Perdrix is available for long term rentals between October to May from €600 per month + bills.
Where to next . . . ?
If you are interested in renting a house in France on a long term basis in 2023, but if you are looking for more ideas on where to be based in France or the likely rental costs of properties, then the following articles may be of interest to you. We have also summarised some information on the rental process in France
Read our article on the Moving to South West France with your family.
Find out what type of property you can afford for your budget Long term house rental prices in France
Read about Where to rent in France long term to find the best locations, towns and villages in France to rent
See our full selection of Cheap long term rental properties in France
Contact Iain by Email if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about living in the South of France.