Les Marronniers The Forgotten France

Local area

We are based in the beautiful rural Creuse département (23) of the Limousin region, close to the borders of Indre (36) and Haute-Vienne (87). All three départements contain a wealth of attractions for every taste, from the simple pleasures of quiet country life to the lively nightlife and student scene in the regional capital, Limoges.

Within a very short distance, you will find breathtaking scenery along the banks of the River Creuse; cultural sites with strong local connections to George Sand, Chopin, Monet, Guillaumin and the other impressionists; historical towns, chateaus, ancient churches, and fortifications dating back to the days of the crusaders and even earlier; tennis, water-sports, fishing, horse-riding, nature walks, and farm visits; lake-side restaurants and bars, outdoor cafes, gourmet auberges, a state-of-the-art discotheque (4 miles from us - well out of earshot!) and even a "cottage pub".

Delicious seasonal produce is available direct from the farms, and from weekly markets in Eguzon and Dun-le-Palestel. Specialist shops in several local towns and villages offer art and craft items, bric-a-brac and antiques at reasonable prices, and there are also regular open-air markets for these goods in the larger towns.

You won't find a Tesco or a Sainsburys, but the supermarket at Eguzon has recently been expanded, and now stocks a fair range of everyday needs, including many international items. There is a good selection of French wines at very reasonable prices, an excellent fresh fish counter, superb meat served by a friendly and understanding butcher, and fresh fruit and vegetables - but if you must have baked beans or Branston Pickle, please bring your own!

Moving around by car is easy, with excellent uncrowded local roads, convenient parking, and for longer trips, a toll-free motorway running North-South through the region and numerous well-maintained Routes Nationales. For the more energetic, cycling is a popular way of getting about, whether on organised tours or just as the fancy takes you. Everywhere you will be passing through woods and lush rolling green countryside, populated by the world-famous Limousin cattle, as well as sheep, goats, ducks, horses and donkeys. Wild and cultivated fruit and nut trees abound, and wild-flowers now rare in Britain pop up on the field margins. Herons are a frequent sight, poaching fish from the many well-stocked étangs - somewhere between a small lake and a large pond - as well as hawks, kingfishers, and many other birds.

Further afield, excursions to Limoges, Châteauroux, Guéret, Aubusson, Bourganeuf, Lac de Vassivière, Valençay, Issoudun, and even Poitiers are all within range as day trips, and all bring their own rewards too numerous to list here. Worthy of mention are the Brenne and Perigord-Limousin Regional Nature Parks and the 'Martyr's Village' - site of a notorious Second World War massacre - at Oradour-sur-Glane, just West of Limoges.