Lapped by the lazy waters of the Dordogne river, Lalinde is a gem of a town that offers an easy pace of life with amenities right on the doorstep, as Julie Savill discovers
With its honey-coloured stone buildings capped with steep clay-tiled roofs, the bastide town of Lalinde is typical of the pretty towns that line the Dordogne river and draw people back year after year. The fact that it is one step off the well-beaten tourist track gives it a special character that lends it appeal for both holidays and year-round living.
This is not a town that is reliant on the summer trade to make its living; shops, bars and restaurants stay open during the winter, the popular market pops up every Thursday of the year and it has a sense of being a real village for real people.
For second-homers, this really is an ideal setting. A mere 20-minute drive from Bergerac airport with its regular low-cost flights in and out of the UK, you can be off the plane and enjoying a glass of something cool on your terrace within just half an hour.
Moreover, there’s no need for separation anxiety if you are planning a more permanent move and fear missing friends and family. This easily accessible town is just a hop and a skip from the wealth of historical and geological treasures that make Dordogne a perennial favourite. Buy a property here and you’ll never be short of visitors.
The property market along the stretch of the Dordogne river from Bergerac to Sarlat is buoyed up by tourism, and the closer you get to the latter, the higher the premium you’ll pay. However, there are still good buys to be had if you take time to find the not-quite-famous towns and villages.
Around Lalinde, a traditional three-bedroom property with a manageable garden will typically cost between €200,000 and €300,000. Expect to pay more for a riverside location or stunning views, more land or lots of outbuildings. Those looking for a bolthole could find a quirky wooden chalet, a modern lock-up-and-leave bungalow or a more modest two- to three-bedroom house for well under €200,000.
If your dreams run to running a business this is a terrific area with plenty to see and do. Within an hour or so of Lalinde you have golf at Château des Merles near Siorac-en-Périgord, canoeing at any number of bases on the river, horseriding at St-Capraise-de-Lalinde, the world famous caves of Lascaux, markets, châteaux and stunning old towns to visit.
All this makes for a great holiday and holidaymakers need accommodation. It has been said that the days of being able to make a living from gîtes or chambres d’hôtes are over. I would disagree. You need to choose your area carefully and lots of local attractions earn a place a big tick. You also need to give thought to your potential audience and how you are going to reach it.
If you are heading into an area already popular with tourists you will have competition but you can also tap into the fact that people will already be searching for your town or area.
There are two options when looking to run a business: start from scratch or buy into something that is already up and running and could generate an income straight away. A house with one or two small gîtes will cost between €400,000 and €500,000 while something bigger with three or four gîtes could be anything up to €900,000.
If you like the idea of welcoming people into your own home, a chambres d’hôtes with five bedrooms (say, three for letting) might be between €300,000 and €400,000 while something with more bedrooms and possibly a small gîte thrown in could be in the €600,000s.
All of which provides much food for thought. If you don’t already know the Lalinde area I heartily recommend a trip, whether as a holiday or a property finding mission. And talking of hearty, the renowned Périgordine cuisine is not at all bad, either.
Julie Savill is marketing director at Beaux Villages Immobilier
Tel: 0033 (0)5 53 90 35 91