Limousin, located in the central France, is one of the most rural régions in the country and is perfect for those looking for tranquility and remote, unspoiled landscapes. Its green wooded hills are dotted with old churches and castles and charming villages and bastides. Watersports lovers will be in their element as there are deep gorges, numerous rivers and "1,000" lakes. It's excellent territory for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and fishing. The only large town is Limoges, a pleasant place famed for its pottery.
It's often called France profonde (meaning the "heartland of France"). Another way it's been described is as the gateway between the serious industrious north and relaxed southern world of the Mediterranean. Property and living costs are a lot cheaper than neighbouring régions and this sparsely populated région is largely undiscovered by foreigners. Located next to the Dordogne, it is however becoming more popular with British second homebuyers. There is still plenty of run-down or deserted property to be found here, perfect for those keen on searching for restoration projects.
Limousin's major industry is agriculture, but as the soil is not particularly fertile, livestock - particularly cattle - accounts for more than 90% of total output. Several years ago, a mass exodus from agriculture resulted in the French government going so far as to advertise in the British agricultural press, offering support to British farmers wishing to go to France to revive Limousin's farming industry. The large agricultural sector has attracted the agrofoods industry, with companies such as BSN, the French food conglomerate basing themselves in the région. The région also supplies France with 25% of its gold production and 50% of its uranium.
In recent years impoverished Limousin has been the focus of economic development and many companies have been offered incentives and subsidies for installing themselves here. New investment such as a science park, research institutions, and 12,000 companies are coming to the area. Legrand, a world leader in low-voltage electrical equipment, has located its headquarters and manufacturing centre in the area. Also, Limousin's pulp and paper industry is undergoing a good deal of expansion, as until now its 550 000 hectares of woodlands has been very much an untapped resource.
All this new activity, combined with cheap property, means that this is potentially a good place for newcomers on the look-out for employment opportunities and a peaceful, green living environment.
- Population: 710,939
- Pop.density (people per km2): 42