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Oradour sur Vayres - saved by a fateful confusion?

Oradour sur Vayres is a small country town that is found in the Haute-Vienne department of the Limousin region. It is sometimes confused with the tragic memorial town of Oradour sur Glane, which lies nearby. There are many who believe that the massacre which took place in Oradour sur Glane in June 1944 was, in fact, supposed to have been perpetrated in Oradour sur Vayres, but for a mistake on the part of a German officer.

Authentic and pretty

War references aside, though, the town is a pretty, unassuming little place, authentic and typical of the area, attractively set in glorious countryside and named for its "small river" (in fact, you would probably call it a stream) the Vayres. The name Oradour means "place of prayer".

All needs met in Oradour sur Vayres

Oradour sur Vayres has pretty much everything you need for a comfortable everyday existence. In town you can find banks, doctors, a post office, a supermarket, bakeries, local food and clothing shops, restaurants and bars. Oradour sur Vayres hosts general markets too, where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other local produce. It's about as different from shopping in Tesco as you can get, and twice as enjoyable! If you need access to larger town facilities then head for nearby Chalus, or take a city day and enjoy the lovely old capital city of Limoges.

Out and about

There are few areas of France more suited to lovers of walking than the Haute-Vienne. The countryside is gently rolling, making walking interesting rather than exhausting, and the landscapes that unfold as you go are utterly beautiful in any season. Yes, it's true that the Limousin sees a fairly high rainfall, but this also keeps the land green and fresh. The Haute-Vienne is a land of rivers and lakes too, and many of the local lakes offer water sports or at least swimming and sunbathing areas.

Plenty of outdoor activities on offer

If you want to do more than just walking, there's plenty more on offer in and around Oradour sur Vayres. Locally you can play tennis, obtain permits for fishing (this is one of France's most acclaimed fishing regions), or try floating through the skies in a hot air balloon, enjoy exploring on horseback, or hire a bicycle and take some healthy exercise.

Explore Oradour sur Glane and Limoges

Places to see include the memorial town of Oradour sur Glane. It's a sobering experience, but the least we can do is remember. Limoges is also worth a visit, as are the much smaller towns of Rochechouart and St-Yrieix-la-Perche.

How to get there

The town lies close to Limoges and Angoulême, so it is easy to get there by air or by rail, with Angoulême having a TGV station, and both towns having airports with direct flights to the UK with budget airlines. If driving you will find the town on the D901, near the N21.

Property prices and availability in and around Oradour sur Vayres

This is one of the few remaining regions of France where you can really find yourself a bargain. Property prices are still low, although the area has been opened up to the foreign property market through an increased tourist interest and the coming of budget airlines. Look out for renovation properties, as there are still a good few to be found near Oradour sur Vayres.

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Oradour sur Vayres AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Oradour sur Vayres?

Oradour sur Vayres is situated to the west of central France. It lies in the west of the Haute-Vienne department.

Oradour sur Vayres Property Map


Limousin Guide

Limousin Property Map


Haute-Vienne Guide

  Haute-Vienne Map

Population: 1,558

Access: By air: Fly to Limoges or Angoulême. By rail: If you like to travel by train, you can take the TGV to Angoulême. By road: The town lies on the D901, near the N21.

Economy: The economy is agricultural.

Interesting fact: There is a widely supported theory that Oradour sur Vayres was the intended site of the Nazi massacre that took place in the nearby town of Oradour sur Glane.


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