Located in south central France, Corrèze belongs to the Limousin region. This department was created in 1790 after the French Revolution. It includes part of the former province of Limousin - the Bas-Limousin - (lower Limousin), which was composed of four viscounts (Comborn, Ventadour, Turenne and Ségur).
Correze is the name of the eponymous river. The prefecture of the department is the town of Tulle, Brive-la-Gaillarde and Ussel being the two subprefectures. The population is around 233,000 inhabitants. The Correze department accounts for three arrondissements (Tulle, Brive and Ussel), 37 cantons and 286 towns and villages.
The major part of Correze’s territory is situated on the western edge of the Massif Central mountain range. Lanscapes in this department are mainly composed of mountains, plateaus and Brive’s basin. The highest mountain is the Mont Bessou that culminates at 978m. Correze has many pretty villages or towns.
The department is home to no less than six villages belonging to the ‘prettiest villages of France’ club (label awarded to the most beautiful French villages): Collonges-la-Rouge, Curemonte, Saint-Robert, Ségur-le-Château, Treignac and Turenne.
Until the 16th century, the official language was the Limousin - a regional dialect that is nowadays still spoken in some rural areas. The inhabitants of the department are called Corréziens. Correze’s main assets are a great gastronomy and agriculture as well as remarkable natural landscapes of breathtaking diversity.
Limousin belongs to the cheapest French regions in terms of property. Buying an apartment in 2009 in the Correze department costs in average €1,430 / square metre. As far as houses are concerned, you should plan to spend on average €143,000 for a house with several rooms. It will depend of course on the location and your personal expectations: a 3-room house costing on average €95,900 and a 6-room property €186,200.
Only 13% of all properties in Correze are second homes. But do not underestimate the potential of this area in the future. Indeed, Limousin is really sought-after amidst foreign people looking for tranquillity. It is interesting to notice that there are some disparities between local towns in Correze.
For instance, house prices are pretty expensive in Brive-la-Gaillarde (€2,000 / square metre in December 2008) and really affordable in numerous surrounding villages with an average price of €1,700 / square metre. Investing in this little-known area of which an unspoilt nature and a rich heritage are the main assets is still great value for money.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Correze departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
The Correze department has many undeniable assets: a real cultural inheritance, pretty and unique villages, a thriving agriculture (apples, strawberries, raspberries, cereals, chestnuts, poultry-farming, etc), plenty of places of interest, religious and medieval heritage - to give but a few.
Medieval heritage: the Correze department has a rich medieval past that can easily be noticed in its towns and villages. Many old half-timbered and granite houses attest this historical heritage.
Culture: museums in Correze have a real cultural diversity and allow holidaymakers to discover the region’s history. To name but a few ones: the resistance and deportation museum (Neuvic), cloister’s museum (Tulle), museum of old weapons (Musée des Armes Anciennes) and the accordion’s museum (Tulle).
Local produce: the department is a great apple, strawberry and raspberry producer. Fruit-growing in this area is essential for the economy. Many events are held such as the fête de la fraise (Strawberry’s celebration). Truffles, wine and veal, fish and cepe mushrooms are also produce that can easily be found in the local markets of the department. Do taste the Bréjaude - a bacon and cabbage soup - the Menassous - a pâté made from grated potatoes and the black cherry clafoutis that are traditional dishes of Limousin.
Nature: Limousin is a real heaven for nature lovers. There are outstanding landscapes all over the department of Correze: deeply embanked rivers in wonderful valleys, basins, etc. The breathtaking Plateau de Millevaches (‘plateau of 1,000 cows’) that separates the basin of the Loire and Garonne from Correze is worth visiting as well as the valleys of Dordogne and Vézère, the massif of Monédières and the Causse Corrézien (limestone plateau of Correze). The Corrèze river rises in the Plateau des Mille vaches and flows in the Vézère river a few kilometres to the west of Brive. The Dordogne river is also important in the region as it produces numerous large lakes in the south of the area. It is worth investing in this area where nature is unspoilt.
Outdoor activities: water sports are very popular throughout the department. The Dordogne, Vezere and Auveze rivers are perfect for canoeing. But many other outdoor activities are available such as horse-riding, practising kayak, mountain bike, basket and rugby.
Transport links: Correze has a central position in France. Penalised for years due to a restricted access to the Massif Central mountain range, the area boasts nowadays good transport links. Due to its location on the major north-south railway axis ( Paris - Toulouse.), it is easy to reach Limoges from Paris by train. Moreover, the A20 motorway (Paris-Toulouse) runs the length of the department with the recently completed A89 motorway ( Bordeaux - Lyon) providing efficient links east to west. Limoges-Bellegarde and Rodez airports both provide regular flights from and to England. With the long awaited airport of Brive-Souillac (2010), the demand for properties in the surroundings will soar as the area will be once again easier to access.
Xaintrie houses: Xaintrie is an area covering the Bas Limousin, Auvergne and Quercy regions. It is a plateau with deep gorges made by three rivers: the Maronne, Cère and Dordogne rivers. Typical houses of this area have a sloping roof constructed of lauzes (schist and chalky stones). The southern front is whitewashed. There are no windows or a few ones on the northern front that has visible stones.
Manor houses: these very luxurious properties originally represented the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system. The majority of manors in Limousin are constructed of stone and are actually large farmhouses that were occupied in the past by gentry, noble and bourgeois people. These houses are made foremost of granite, the roof being foremost made of tiles and steeply pitched. Wood is also used a lot in such properties. For instance doors, windows and chimneys are made in wood. The general features of manors are their imposing dimensions: a huge stone entrance gate often gives way on a large courtyard and garden with a path leading to the house. This type of Limousin property often comes with a large piece of land, many outbuildings, a gardener’s house, and so on.
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