Property guide to Creuse: the cheapest department in France
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With an average property price of just €62,400, we’re putting a spotlight on France’s most affordable department and what your money could get you.
Creuse at a glance
Creuse is a department located in the former region of Limousin, which in 2016 was absorbed into the larger region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In addition to the beautiful landscape, pleasant villages and relaxed way of life, it is remarkable for two reasons: the sparse population and the low cost of housing.
The second least populated department in France, Creuse certainly has space for more residents. According to the new interactive map released by INSEE, the French public statistics body, the majority of Creuse has fewer than 20 inhabitants per square kilometre. Even the prefecture, Guéret, has only 2,833 inhabitants at its very centre.
As for price, the average house price of €62,400 is around half the average in popular expat destinations Dordogne (€114,800) and Finistère (€145,000). Meanwhile apartments in Creuse will set only set you back an average of €860 per m².
Why so cheap?
But what exactly makes Creuse so cheap? The overwhelming reason is a lack of industry. The landscape is very rural and agricultural, with fewer business opportunities than other departments and not much tourism.
Generally, this means that many French people move away from Creuse in search of better job prospects. On the flip-side, the quietness and seclusion of the towns and villages in Creuse offer a haven for expats seeking a peaceful holiday home or retirement property.
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Those who have made the move to Creuse praise the simple way of life, with an abundance of nature and agriculture meaning there are many opportunities to be self-sufficient. Properties are not necessarily close to amenities - although technological advances mean that we can now rely on the internet for most daily conveniences.
The nearest airport is Limoges, which is just over an hour's drive from Guéret and has routes to several cities in the UK.
Alternatively, take the Eurostar to Paris and then the TGV to La Souterraine.
Since Creuse is right in the centre of the country, it's also a great base for exploring other areas of France. The TransCreuse bus network has lines running across the whole department, while trains run from Guéret to cities including Limoges, Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Clermont-Ferrand several times a day.
In addition to a wide range of amenities, Guéret hosts an excellent museum of archaeology, history and decorative arts, as well as several weekly markets. One of the other main towns in the department, Aubusson, would also make a lovely property base. The pretty town is famous for its historical tapestry production and has scenic views of the river Creuse.
If it's the country life you're seeking, there are numerous hamlets throughout Creuse, situated in the stunningly varied scenery that the department enjoys. From plateaus and lakes to gorges and fountains, Creuse is perfect for lovers of the great outdoors.
Whether you're interested in village life or total seclusion, this property round-up should demonstrate how much of a bargain Creuse really is - you won't believe the price of the château!
Creuse property round-up
near Lake Vassivière, Creuse
This beautiful three-bedroom house is filled with wonderful features including a large main living area with mezzanine level, wood burner stove and even a wine cellar. The property has been updated with double-glazed windows, electric heating and a septic tank conforming to newest standards. The house benefits from a large garden and only a short walk to amenities, but best of all is located close to the stunning Lake Vassivière.
In a peaceful hamlet surrounded by beautiful countryside, this adorable cottage would make an ideal French bolthole. Two attic bedrooms, an open plan, stone-floored living space and spiral staircase give the house plenty of character. 7km away is the town of La Souterraine, with weekly markets and good transport links.
Want a good sized property, fabulous outdoor space and change leftover from €50,000? This lovely stone house in the pretty commune of Bourganeuf will get you all that and more. With two main bedrooms and the attic converted to a third, the house also has a conservatory and cellar. Attached to the property is a large barn which could also be converted, while the well-kept garden includes a small outbuilding and a well.
€249,950 is a relatively modest sum in some departments, but in Creuse it will get you (brace yourselves): a four-bedroom farmhouse, a two-bedroom barn conversion, one large barn, two small barns, several outbuildings, two garages, a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, 3,600m² of garden and a lovely view. If that wasn't enough, the entire property has been beautifully refurbished and the gardens are in gorgeous condition. Set in picturesque countryside close to rivers and valleys.
Move straight into this immaculately renovated three-bedroom property in the commune of Saint-Germain-Beaupré, close to scenic Crozant. There is a separate living room in addition to the large kitchen diner, two bathrooms and a useful workshop outbuilding. The landscaped garden has been lovingly tended and includes a terrace and polytunnel. This house would make either a perfect permanent residence or holiday home.
For just a taste of how far money will stretch in Creuse, take a look at this splendid and enormous 18th-century château. Just outside the pleasant riverside commune of Felletin, the vast main house contains 13 bedrooms and three bathrooms, with large reception rooms in magnificent condition. Attached to the property is a two-bedroom house, in addition to stables and a pigeon loft. The accompanying land is just phenomenal - 24 hectares of walled parkland, meadows, forest and two lakes. The possibilities really are endless.
Look out for more on getting the most property for your money in the upcoming Affordable France issue of FPN in October!
And scroll below or visit France Property Shop for the full range of bargain properties in Creuse:
For more information about life in Creuse, read our insider's guide
Or to find out about other areas of France with the lowest property prices, click here