Location spotlight: Dordogne vs Languedoc

The 12th-century castle in Carcassonne

The 12th-century castle in Carcassonne - Credit: Archant

There’s no shortage of spectacular places to own a holiday home in France. Steve Jones and Diana White compare the attractions of the place they call home

The River Dordogne flowing past the village of La Roque-Gageac

The River Dordogne flowing past the village of La Roque-Gageac - Credit: Archant

Languedoc-Roussillon and Dordogne are two of France’s most popular destinations, so it’s no wonder these two areas are among the most popular for Brits looking to run a French holiday letting business.

With both having their own merits, charms and property markets, here is a comparison so you can choose for yourself.

The lure of Languedoc

With endless miles of golden sandy beaches, the appeal of the Languedoc region will not come as a surprise for anyone who has experienced its stunning coastline.

Step away from the shores and you’ll soon stumble across an abundance of historical sun-drenched towns, such as Nîmes, Montpellier, Narbonne, Béziers, Perpignan and Carcassonne. Each offers its own charming characteristics and is within easy reach of the UK, thanks to the many low-cost airlines which serve the towns.

This has certainly helped to ensure they are firm favourites for holidaymakers looking for a quick getaway or longer retreat, and likewise they have helped to open up this southern stretch of France to property owners based in the UK.

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Whether hoping to delve into the region’s history with a visit to the Cathar castles in Aude and Roussillon, to tuck into delicacies and pick up local produce at one of the many village markets, or to experience the great outdoors via one of the many fantastic walking routes in the regional nature parks, Languedoc has something to suit all tastes and interests.

However, with so much to boast about, the region has remarkably held on to its authentic French ambience. Free of the touristy resorts which tend to clutter many other parts of the country, Languedoc offers a genuine taste of life in France. It is also much cheaper than many other popular destinations such as the Riviera, which shares the south coast to the east.

Property owners will struggle to find a location that is better suited to offering holiday accommodation than here, with properties ranging from beachside apartments to luxury villas with private swimming pools in some of the best areas of Languedoc-Roussillon.

Dordogne delights

Brits have long had a love affair with Dordogne. Its longer, warmer summers and hours of sunshine compared to those in the UK were bound to play a part in its rise to popularity; however, it was the area’s pace of life which stole my heart and those of the countless property owners I meet day to day. The uncrowded roads are reminiscent of a scene from Heartbeat, without the hustle and bustle often associated with modern life.

Dordogne spans a huge area, and as such offers a variety of scenery from forests to lakes. Its geography is much more varied than Languedoc which, although it has some impressive mountain ranges, is generally flatter, and offers a different style of architecture more reminiscent of the Cotswolds.

Watersports are prevalent along the river from which the department inherits its name, with canoes now a more common sight than the traditional wine barrels which used to travel aboard boats from Bergerac and Bordeaux. That said, wine still plays a major role in the regional economy and is a draw for both property owners and visitors worldwide.

Other delicacies produced in the region include foie gras and, like Languedoc, Dordogne is awash with well-attended markets including entertaining night markets at most towns and villages.

As if further evidence to support its popularity were required, there are world-famous tourist attractions throughout, such as the bastide towns of Domme and Monpazier, and the riverside village of La Roque-Gageac which clings precariously to the rocky cliffs that plunge into the Dordogne river. Pre-historic cave paintings are plentiful in this region with the most famous being at Lascaux II. A centre for pre-history called Lascaux IV is due to open in 2016, and with 1,001 châteaux in the region, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to visit them all.

Dordogne is a great choice of destination for anyone considering investing in a holiday rental property, as despite its many attractions for tourists, there are also still lots of properties available at good prices. Modern villas are rare, and by far the most popular properties are attractive stone cottages with beams, exposed stone interiors and tiny flat roof tiles, called tuiles plates. Houses with a pigeonnier are also popular. For the best deals, look outside of the area known as the Golden Triangle comprising Beynac, Domme and Sarlat.

Steve Jones and Diana White are regional managers for Cottages4you

Tel: 0845 268 0760

www.rentmycottage.com