Central France

Central France is generally understood in a north-south perspective, with a transition between the two in both climate and ladscape. The most popular areas here tend to be Centre, Burgundy and Limousin and Auvergne.
 

Image

Centre

 
The centre of France has great access to Paris. The centre often refers to the centre part of northern France, and stretches from slightly north of Paris down to the north of the Limousin and Auvergne regions. It is bordered in the west by Normandy and the Pays de la Loire and Poitou and to the east by Paris (Ile de France) region and Burgundy.
 
The Centre is the heart of historic France and was for many centuries the centre of the Kingdom of France, at a time with the France we know now was divided among the kingdoms and duchies of Burgundy, Normandy, Aquitane, Anjou and others. The Loire, France’s longest river runs through it providing a natural boundary between north and south. The prefectural capital of the region is Chartres, which boats one of the world’s greatest cathedrals (a UNESCO world heritage site).
 

Top Tips

 

Brits know the centre as the Loire Valley and the main attractions are the chateaux and churches. There are plenty of less expensive properties in the more southerly hours, and an active second homes market in the northern part, particularly Eure-et-Loire, which is 45 minutes by train from Paris. Across the region, there are plenty of villas, bungalows and similar modern style brick houses.
 
The region is popular due to its proximity to Paris and its reasonable prices and fertile region for growth. The climate is very similar to England, but there are usually warmer, sunny summers.

 

Getting there

 

Air France and Flybe fly from Gatwick to Nantes, which is also served British Airways from Heathrow. Ryanair flies daily from Stansted to Tours. RailEurope operates TGV trains to Chartres, Nantes from Gare Montparnesse. There is also an excellent train serves from St. Malo to Nantes. Eurolines operates services to La Roche sur Yonne, Le Mans, Les Sables d’Olonne, Nantes, Orleans and Tours. Eurostar runs to Paris Gare du Nord from St. Pancras in 2 hours and 15 minutes.
 
The region is also accessible by road – the A26 from Calais leads to the A16-E10, the A16 and the A26. From there the A16-E402 takes you to Rouen following the A28 and A28-E402. From Rouen you can take the N154 to Chartres. From Paris, the A10-E6 runs into the centre and continues on to the south of the region.

 

Burgundy

 
Burgundy is of course well known as wine country, and is ideal for those who prefer the countryside to seaside. The main towns are Dijon, Auxerre, Nevers, Beaune and Macon. There is a largely continental climate with very cold winters and hot summers, although the weather can be unpredictable. Autumn, when the grapes are harvested, is the most pleasant time, with warm, sunny days.
 
It is a very peaceful region, renowned for its historic architecture, abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants and of course the production of fine wines – primarily produced in the Cote d’Or (Hills of Gold) vineyard area.
 

Top Tips

 

There are not a great many British buyers here, as many overseas buyers prefer to be in a Mediterranean climate and nearer the coast. However, the area is becoming more popular, especially with those who wish to truly embrace ‘la vraie France’. A British food stall has been opened at Villefranche-sur-Saone and there is an Ikea in Dijon. Burgundy is a culturally rich, gastronomic centre and many see it as the ideal retirement location, of place to own a second home.
 
The region’s canal system attracts many holidaymakers, along with the beautiful countryside and the ease of access to Paris and Lyon.

 

Getting there

 

Air France flies to Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon (just south of Burgundy) while Lyon is also served by British Airways and Flybe from Heathrow, EasyJet from Stansted and Aer Lingus from Dublin. The Eurostar and TGV service from London St. Pancras to Dijon takes just over 5 hours, and there are numerous services from Dijon. Eurostar also runs through Lille, and there are TGV services from Lille to Dijon.
 
If driving to Burgundy, the best route is from one of the northern ferry ports, such as Calais. From there the A26 leads you down to Reims then on to Troyes, where you can take the A5 into Burgundy, passing through Sens, Chablis, Beaune, Macon and finally Dijon. The A43 also runs south from Lyon through Burgundy and on into the Rhone Alps.

 

Limousin and Auvergne

 
This a very competitively priced area, with a fascinating countryside of gorges, mountainous areas and forests. It is perhaps more suitable for a second home than all year round living, although prices are very attractive indeed.
 
The regions of Limousin and Auvergne lie roughly in the centre of France, and Limousin is one of the least explored areas of the country and remains relatively unspoilt in comparison to the coast. The landscape is blessed with lakes, rivers, valleys and rolling tree-covered hills. There are many beautiful medieval towns and villages. The Auvergne is a land of volcanic mountains and rural landscape. The area is particularly popular with outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, fishermen and windsurfers. The main issue in the area is the remoteness and indifferent public transport.
 

Top Tips

 

The Auvergne is in the heart of the Massif Central a vast mountain range with spectacular gorges and more than 80 dormant volcanoes. The capital of Limousin is Limoges, which is renowned for its fine porcelain and enamel – produced in the city since the 1770s; the museum in the city houses an outstanding ceramic collection. Montlucon is the economic heart of the Auvergne and Clermont-Ferrand is the regional capital, where Michelin Tyres has its headquarters – the symbol of the city and of Michelin guides, the Michelin man, was dreamt up in 1898 by a cartoonist called O’Galop.
 

Getting there

 

Air France flies to Clermont-Ferrance and Limoges via Paris from London City, Heathrow, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Ryanair also flies directly to Limoges from Stansted, as do Flybe from across the UK.
 
TGV services operate between Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris and Limoges. Paris to Limoges is just 3 hours by train and Gare de Lyon is linked with Clermont-Ferrand. Eurolines operate services to Brive and Clermot-Ferand.
 
To drive here, take the A10 from Paris on to the A10-E5 and then the A71E9 at the junction with the A71 for Limoges. From the A85, take the A20-E09 into Limousin and Limoges. For Clermont-Ferrand and the rest of Auvergne, follow the A10 from Paris to Orleans, taking the A71-E9 and junction 5 onto the A71-E11 then the N9, into Clermont Ferrand.


Further reading for Buying In France

Image

Viewing Guide

Finding the right property and can be a challenge. What do you need to think about early on?
Read more...

Image

Legal Matters

Buying a property in France has very different legal requirements to the UK. 

Read more...

Image

Hidden Costs

Spending tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds on a property in France is a HUGE decision.
Read more...

Image

Currency Zone

Did you know that you could save thousands of pounds when emigrating by using a currency specialist?
Read more...


Right Image

Image

Don't forget to download your own copy of the France Buying Guide, your guide to successfully purchase a property in France
Download the Guide

 


Image

Don't forget to download your own copy of the the Currency Specialists Guide to buying overseas property and consider how to protect yourself financially. 
Download the Guide


Image

We can put you in touch with a trusted agent in your desired area, who will immediately send you example properties so that you can clearly define what you are looking for in a property.
Find out more...


Latest news

France article

Funding your lifestyle

France is still the most popular country for us Brits to move to for many – quite obvious – reasons! But of course...
Read more...

Alexis and Santa

Harvest time in the Languedoc

I don’t know about you but I can scarcely believe we are already into September. We have been blessed with...
Read more...
 

Image

A new Black Monday

On Monday 24th August, now known as ‘Black Monday’ in reference to the global stock markets crash of 1987
Read more...