La Souterraine is a medieval town in Creuse, founded a thousand years ago by the monks of the St-Martial abbey of Limoges. It has a rich cultural and historical heritage. This Limousin town of more than 5,000 inhabitants is crossed by the Sédelle, a tributary of the Creuse River. More and more sought-after by tourists, La Souterraine emphasizes “green tourism” and lies in an unspoilt nature. Its rail station is very important, as it enables to go to Paris rapidly.
Close to the Berry plains in the north and the Limousine mountain in the south, the area of La Souterraine offers a contrasted relief. It can be discovered by using the hiking tracks, accessible by foot, by cycling or horse-riding. The landscape is also punctuated with numerous watercourses, from small streams to the rivers of the Sédelle or the Gartempe.
Positioned between Berry and Limousin, La Souterraine was a stake of power between the Kingdom of France and Aquitaine during the Hundred Years’ War. It took a strategic importance and caused numerous battles. Of its city walls, the town retains two gates built during the 13th century. Symbol of the town, the gate of Saint-Jean is 20m high and has two corner turrets.
In La Souterraine, almost 10% of its 3,000 properties are vacant and can be purchased at a modest price. Indeed, the Creuse department is the least expensive of the departments of Limousin, already one of the cheapest regions of France. Thus, at the beginning of 2009, prices in Creuse turned around €1,150 /sq m while it was almost €3,197 /sq m for the general average of France.
The proportion of houses in the town is of 60%, which means that apartments are also available for those who are looking for a property that does not need much upkeep.
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La Souterraine is a lovely town where life is enjoyable. It has many assets as standing in a peaceful department and still offering animation and life to its inhabitants. Its streets are wonderful and simply wandering in the town is relaxing.
Religious and historical heritage: the town lies on the ways of Santiago de Compostela, and since the Middle Ages, the town has been a stopover for pilgrims, came in La Souterraine to find a secured shelter. Its Notre-Dame church was built by the monks of the Saint-Martial abbey of Limoges during the 11th and 12th centuries. Its restoration began in 1850 and has absolutely to be visited. Its shrine crypt or Gallo-Roman necropolis today shelters a well, mortuary chests and a paving stone with a Gallo-Roman inscription.
Events: the life of La Souterraine is regulated by the weekly street markets, every Thursday and Saturday, but also the fairs held every on the 12th and 27th of every month. Special events also exist, as the Christmas street market, the squirrel race and the hike of the bricklayer’s track in September. In the town and in its surroundings, some festivals take place mostly during summer. It is the case for the Festival des Arts, Bdcibels (a music and comics festival), Jazz a la Soute, etc…
Ponds & fishery: the area is well-known for its ponds and their carps. The pond of Chaume also shelters a remarkable ornithological diversity, with many species nationally protected, such as the marsh harrier or the pipit. In addition, La Souterraine is the perfect starting point to go and discover the preserved nature of Creuse, scattered with lovely villages.
Stone farmhouses: La Souterraine comprises a rural architecture, influenced by Berry and Poitou. There, the farmhouses are constructed in stones and a barn is usually directly stuck to the main buildings. Depending on the size of the property, more outbuildings can be added to the house. It is frequent to see these houses with the openings framed with large and regular stones. The corners are often decorated with an alternation of these stones.
Large cottages: beside the farmhouses and the stone houses of the medieval centre, large cottages can be found. Sometimes built in stones, they normally have a rendering front facade. Once more, the openings are decorated with either regular large and light stones or small red bricks.
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