Some years ago, big cities were really popular in France. But nowadays, it seems that small towns and even villages are well appreciated by the British. All these places allow you to live in a quiet area just a few kilometres away from all amenities: shops, schools, airports.
Carhaix-Plouguer is a town of the Finistere, part of the Brittany. With 7,600 inhabitants, the city has plenty of Gaul Empire reliques. In fact, Carhaix was known as Vorgium, the county town of Gaul. The city is at the heart of Brittany where you can appreciate the Breton culture from the gastronomic specialities to the cultural heritage. Carhaix welcomes the festival “des Vieilles Charrues” which brings together Breton artists like Yann Tiersen but also French and International such as Bruce Springsteen or Muse.
Dinan is the strategic point between Normandy and Brittany. This medieval city is surrounding by fortification. Dinan is often called the most perfectly preserved medieval town in Brittany. Situated alongside the river Rance, it is surrounded by parks, trees and 600 year old ramparts. The cobbled streets are full of picturesque C15th and C16th half-timbered houses, traditional craft shops, a delightful selection of cafes and restaurants and a C14th castle. The seaside is nearby. Dinard airport and St Malo ferry port can be reached in 40mins.
Eymet, situated in the Dordogne, is a picturesque medieval village on the edge of the river Dropt. Dating back to 15th century, it is full of character and benefits from the beautiful remains of a feudal castle. It offers all sorts of every day amenities including shops, schools and restaurants. Every Thursday there is a street market with fresh local products and in the summer there is also a lively night market on Tuesdays. The village hosts many festivals including the famous festival of music, gastronomy (especially wine) and vintage cars. The most popular outdoors activities in this area are horse riding, cycling, swimming or golf. Eymet is located only 25mins drive from Bergerac airport with low cost flights to the UK and around 80mins from the international airport in Bordeaux.
Bergerac is the largest town in the Perigord Pourpre department, an area that derives its name from the purple grapes that grow in the region’s 125 sq km of vineyards. Set on a riverbank, it was once a flourishing trading port and has easy access to the surrounding countryside and many famous wine producers. The town of Bergerac offers superb cultural variety and numerous events are organized throughout the year. 5 days a week there is a street market with a wide range of fresh local products. The town has become renowned for numerous disciplines, particularly rowing, woman’s handball, parachuting, rugby and also promotes other activities like horse riding, harnessed horse competitions, tennis, regattas, fishing, cycling, rally and many more. Bergerac has its own airport with several low cost flights to the UK.
Eymoutiers is a beautiful medieval country town set on the banks of Vienne River, in the Haute-Vienne department. The town is built around the old monastery and offers a number of interesting places to visit such as the Romanesque and Gothic church St Etienne, bell tower and an old convent. Although it is fairly small there are many shows, exhibitions and cultural events running throughout the year. The most popular sports activities are kayaking, canoeing, hiking, horse riding, fishing, cycling and even hunting. Eymoutiers is only 50mins drive from the international airport in Limoges with daily low cost flights to the UK.
Chateau du Loir is located in the department of the Sarthe and the region Pays de la Loire between Angers, Blois and Le Mans, cities in the north-west of France. This area of the Loire Valley has the richest architectural, wine and gastronomical heritage. One can enjoy a visit to the 13th century Abbaye de la Clarte-Dieu, the St Guingalois church, the 14th of July street house which is the symbol of the town or a walk in the peaceful parks that the town has to offer and through the Berce forest. Hiking, horse riding, cycling and tennis are among the activities available in the valley. The beautiful lake of Varenne nearby also provides water sports and leisure activities. The town has all amenities and services you would expect including restaurants, bakeries, pharmacies, markets and doctors. Chateau du Loir is just an hour away from Angers international airport.
Jonzac is located in the extreme south of the Charente-Maritime department, set on the banks of Seugne River. The town is famous for its thermal centre with its natural hot springs. It’s also home to the 11th century large castle, an indoor market, many bars, restaurants, the Les Antilles de Jonzac, an aquatic centre shaped liked the Caribbean islands, and a casino with 50 slot machines. One should also visit the two working mills and the Gallo-Roman villa. The Jonzac area offers many sports activities like sailing, rock climbing, horseback riding, trampoline, archery, mountain biking, bowling, and river fishing. Located only 50mins from Angouleme airport with low cost flights to the UK, 60mins from the airport in Bordeaux and only 80mins from La Rochelle airport.
Vire was constructed on a rocky buttress, outlined by the River Vire. There are a range of local delicacies to enjoy and Vire is best known for its andouille sausages; somewhat an acquired taste, or you can sample the local salmon or trout fresh from the river, accompanied by local ‘poire’. The town has several restaurants, bars, schools, cinemas and shops. The most popular activities are golf, cycling, hiking, canoeing, horse riding and fishing. Apart from exploring its ancient forests, hidden lakes and streams there is a lot of cultural entertainment all year round. It is only 60minutes from the car-ferry at Ouistreham (Caen), about 90mins from ferries in Cherbourg and St Malo and the same distance from Dinard airport.
Uzes is a charming medieval town made of narrow streets, alleys and shaded squares, situated in the Gard department between the sea and the Cevennes Mountains. Its old town, listed as a protected historical site, is full of monuments and museums and retains a well preserved Duchy castle. Despite its modest size, it offers a large variety of shops, restaurants, festivals, year-round activities and even bull races. For the sports enthusiasts there is an opportunity to try mountain biking, hiking, golfing (the 9-hole course), canoeing, kayaking, fishing or hot-air ballooning. Every Saturday there is a street market with fresh regional products including truffles, wine and olive oil. Located only 30mins from the international airport in Nimes.
Limoux is a beautiful market town which lies on the river Aude, in perfect harmony with surrounding mountains and vineyards. The town is perhaps best known for its winter festival called Fecos, lasting from January until Easter and its famous sparkling white wine. Thanks to a particularly mild climate with around 320 sunny days per year it offers many different outdoor activities: swimming, tennis, clay pigeon shooting, cycling, cross-country, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and mini golf. There are 3 varieties of markets including evening markets during the summer. Located only 30 minutes from Carcassonne airport, about 60 minutes from the seaside and only 100 minutes from the ski slopes.