Southwest France is unlike the rest of the country so many people are unsure what to expect until they arrive. Without the weight of major tourism, residents can enjoy a free and easy lifestyle, opting to get away from the hustle and bustle only when they feel the need too. If you’re considering buying a home in France, consider these five beautiful locations in Southwest France.
This small city is predominantly built on the Garonne’s left bank, but its right bank is where you’ll find exhibitions, galleries and parks. For the best view around, head to the Tour Pey Berland (the Gothic bell tower located next to the Cathédrale Saint-André) and walk the 229 steps to the top.
Bordeaux’s most popular square is the Place de la Bourse, known for honey-colored architecture from the Late Baroque Period, as well as the Miroir d’eau, a row of small fountains that create a large water mirror during the spring and summer. Located behind the Place de la Bourse is the historic Saint Pierre quarter, where you can see the city’s original plans, complete with twisting streets and secret squares. Today, the area has restaurants, wine bars and lively nightlife.
Time seems to move a bit more slowly in Dordogne, a department of France known for countryside landscapes, rich cuisine and vintage artwork. You’re encouraged to go through your days at your own pace, and to never feel rushed to see the area’s beautiful and historical sights. You’ll also notice a heavy influence of foie gras here, found in specialty stores and on restaurant menus.
The small village of Limeuil has cobblestone streets and narrow lanes that climb a steep hill, where you’ll find the Panoramic Gardens, full of chestnut, oak and walnut trees that look down upon the Dordogne and Vézère rivers. You’ll also want to visit the Lascaux IV museum, which has a simulation of the prehistoric cave art that was discovered in 1940 by French boys in the village of Montignac.
Interchangeably referred to as Gascony and The Gers, this department of France has unspoiled, rolling countryside with sunflower fields and a strong agricultural presence. Boasting more chateaux than most other French departments, The Gers is admired for its stress-free atmosphere, offering an aspirational rural lifestyle beloved by British expats (it’s just two hours from London by plane).
Spend your days exploring nearby castles or market towns; dining on local produce, like cheese and foie gras; or visiting the many traditional farms and vineyards. For a livelier experience, head north to the energetic town of Lectoure or to the annual music festival in Vic-Fezensac.
You can’t miss remnants of the Middle Ages in Lot, seen in its many bridges, castles and villages. There are a variety of landscapes here to keep you busy, from hillsides and mountain ranges to wooded areas and vineyards. Rivers have carved their way through limestone, creating lovely gorges and valleys. Note that you may see The Lot referred to as Quercy, as this is what it was called prior to the French Revolution.
The Regional Natural Park of the Causses of Quercy crosses nearly 100 towns and is filled with abysses, caves and underground rivers. In Cahors, visit the famous Pont Valentré fortified stone arch bridge. The cliff-side village of Cabrerets is home to the Pech Merle caves, which have prehistoric paintings that can be viewed by the public.
Referred to as French Tuscany, Lot-et-Garonne is one of France’s best-kept secrets. Favored by the high-caliber sports crowd, you can get involved in cricket or golf by becoming a member of a local country club. The Canal de Garonne crosses the entire department and is perfect for bike riding or walking.
In Villereal, shop at the weekly medieval market, which has been held every Saturday since the 13th century. Agen has more shops and restaurants than other Lot-et-Garonne towns, while the Henri IV museum in Nérac is a must-see.
If you are looking to find some of the best places to live in France and buy property there, then contact HOMEHUNTS. We are an award-winning property buyer’s agent who are able to select beautiful, high-end, luxury French property based on your specific search criteria. Search our website and browse our selection of luxury homes or call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.