The Attractions of Buying Property in Dordogne and Southwest France
by Cecil Jones

If you are looking for an idyllic location for your future home in France, you should consider searching for a house in the Dordogne, or in the Lot, Lot-et-Garonne and Gers, départements in Southwest France that lie to the south or east of Dordogne. (A département, conceptually similar to the English shire or American state, is an administrative area, as declared by the French government in 1790.) This region's magnificent scenery, old villages, gently flowing rivers and mild climate have made it a perpetual attraction for both vacationers and buyers seeking to buy a home in France or invest in French real estate.

In comparison with other regions of France that attract large numbers of foreign buyers, in particular Provence and the Côte d'Azur, this region offers a chance to acquire a property in France at a price well below the areas most frequented by Anglophone buyers. Dordogne is the best known of the départements in Southwest France. It is a picturesque region, dotted with ancient forts and castles, that is named after the Dordogne River, a peaceful, meandering waterway that joins with the Gironde River near Bordeaux and eventually flows into the Atlantic. Equally stunning for sheer natural beauty is the Gers, the region of Gascony, which lies south toward the Pyrenees. The countryside of Dordogne and its nearby départments is exceptionally beautiful and largely unspoiled, which makes the region especially attractive to visitors accustomed to the lush greenery of the English countryside, or the rolling fields and farms of New England and Middle Atlantic States.

Physically active tourists find Southwest France a vacation paradise because of the excellent opportunities it provides for camping, swimming, canoeing and fishing. For history and photography buffs the region has a wealth of scenic and historic attractions, including close to 1,000 medieval castles. Among Dordogne's most visited tourist attractions are the magnificent prehistoric caves of Lascaux, followed by Roman ruins at Périgueux. Southwest France is one of the country's prime agricultural regions, as a trip to a local outdoor farmer's market, teeming with all kinds of fruits and vegetables, will amply demonstrate. The region's most famous culinary product is foie gras, although it is also known for its fruity and sometimes quite elegant wines, among them Cahors from the Lot, Bergerac and Monbazillac from Dordogne, and the fortified wine Armagnac from Gers. In addition to pastures, farmland and vineyards, the region is heavily forested, and its several million acres of trees constitute the largest wooded area in Western Europe.

Southwest France's fertile fields and its moderate climate have made it a favorable spot for human habitation since the time of the Stone Age. In modern times it has become a magnet for buyers from America and the UK who wish to put down roots in France. In fact there are so many British expatriates in Dordogne that the region is sometimes jokingly called "Dordogneshire". There is a wide range of property available in Southwest France. Homes for sale range from venerable manor houses to renovated farmhouses, village homes and g�tes, the last being properties (often barns and stables) that have been renovated specifically for the rental market. These homes are situated on terrains ranging from a few hundred square meters for a village house, to hundred of hectares (a hectare is 2.47 acres) for country estates.

Real estate in Southwest France is especially well priced, whether your primary desire is to acquire a residence or vacation home, to launch a bed and breakfast, or to offer your property for rent. In short, the départements of Dordogne, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne and Gers should not be overlooked for an astute investment in real estate, or for realizing personal dreams of buying and owning a home in France.

Southwest France is easily accessible from UK (London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, etc.) with flights going directly to Bergerac, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Limoges, etc. Visitors from North America can take the TGV directly from Paris to Périgueux, Agen and Bordeaux. So rather than just looking at the real estate listings in a newspaper or surfing for properties on the Internet, why not take advantage of these convenient connections to visit Southwest France on your next trip to the continent? When you're ready to explore real estate opportunities in this accessible and stunningly beautiful part of France, contact Just France Sales to discuss arrangements to view properties that suit your needs and budget.

Cecil Jones is a Philadelphia attorney, businessman and dedicated Francophile. He is the CEO of Just France Sales, , a United-States based company whose mission is to help people seeking to buy a property in France and the South of France. Visit his website for more information about buying real estate in France.