Rural France is the perfect place if you’re after a quiet life. Homes here are fully renovated, with tons of space for entertaining and hosting guests. Outbuildings provide opportunities for extra accommodation, office space or even business premises. There’s often enough land to build on, plus easy access to lakes or mountains. If you are looking for a mellow lifestyle then consider these picturesque areas in France.
Known for luxury chateaux and mansions, Dordogne has homes with can’t-beat views and stunning landscapes. Plus, many of the houses here still have their original architectural features. Warm and inviting, homes in Dordogne are comfortable without losing their opulence. If your dream day is one spent in nature, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be close to hot springs, lakes and beaches, plus the Dordogne river.
The Gers, in the south-west, is one of France’s least-populated departments, filled with agricultural villages, old market towns and early architecture. Apple orchards, vineyards that grow Armagnac grapes, and sunflower fields make up the rest of the scenery. Historic stone homes have terraces that are large enough for dining and that look out on the Arrats river. Chateaux here have traditional features like high ceilings and ancient beams, plus pools, pool houses and outbuildings like cottages. During the week, head to one of the many outdoor markets to pick up produce and specialty foods.
To some, Languedoc is the truest part of the South of France. Set against the Mediterranean coastline, the villages here look like they’ve come straight off a postcard. You’ll be surrounded by simple shops selling fresh food and treats; medieval stone houses; and Roman ruins. In Minervois, a remarkable wine region in the French countryside, you’ll find hidden chateaux throughout the authentic, preserved hamlets. Your property could be situated with access to both the beaches on the Mediterranean and skiing in the Pyrénées.
Scenes fit for a fairytale make up Provence, which has almost any type of scenery you could want, including coastline and mountains. You’ll be able to head out for a quiet afternoon walking or bike riding in the peaceful Regional Nature Park of the Camargue. Luberon, a massif in Provence, has medieval hamlets and dramatic hilltop villages that date back over 1,000 years. The area also has a rich history, noteworthy regional fare, and a strong arts scene, plus festivals and events throughout the year. Provencal properties include restored mills, manor houses and stone homes. Large estates have upgraded features like outdoor lounges and horse stables.
Lot et Garonne
Lot et Garonne is close to both cultural and natural pastimes, like Shakespeare performances and seasonal festivals, as well as biking, canoeing and kayaking. Some of France’s most beautiful villages can be found here, with accessibility to everything you’ll need for daily life, like cafes, butcheries and markets selling fresh produce. View the churches along the countryside from your hilltop stone house, and watch as your fruit trees flourish in the spring. Landscapes here are varied, from thick woods and mysterious caves to colorful fields.
Poitou Charentes is a study in contrast: chateaux that look like they were created for a romance novel have both antique, original features and contemporary amenities for comfortable living. Stately castles with moats and fortified walls have an unexpected warmth to them once inside, plus mod-cons like game rooms and underfloor heating. Some homes even have on-site taverns and other types of outbuildings, plus enough space to host events like corporate functions and weddings. Most impressive, though, is the history that is sure to accompany your Poitou Charentes property.
In the Var, homes from the 18th and 19th centuries have been renovated with contemporary conveniences, but without losing all of the décor and architecture that give them their charm. On top of the prime location, property in the Var often has something unique and exceptional, like a chapel, cinema or wine cellar. The interiors of homes in the Var are just as impressive as the exteriors. Guests houses and renovated farmhouses provide extra space for accommodating visitors. The Var has an appealing coastline, but the countryside is an even nicer getaway. As one of France’s greenest areas, you’ll love the perfectly-landscaped properties that act as a viewpoint for forests, mountains, lakes and the sea. Try locally-grown wine or regional cuisine, visit a market or exhibition in town, and head to Bandol to tour vineyards.
Remember that being in a slow-paced town doesn’t mean you’re completely removed from any hustle and bustle. Many sleepy towns are just a short drive from a city, and most areas of France, even the secluded ones, tend to have a town centre. You can also increase the likelihood of having a relaxed lifestyle by purchasing a home with its own land so that you’re always surrounded by your own property.