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Rancon - a sleepy but historic village

Rancon may be a sleepy little village in 2014, but in Gallo Roman times it held quite some importance. The bridge, spanning the Gartempe River, was a vital crossing place, and can still be seen today. Rancon is an idyllic place for anyone who wants to find an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern existence. Its charm lies in its lovely location and gentle pace of life, yet it's only a stone's throw away from many tourist attractions and larger towns, where you can find everything you need.

Life in the village

Let's face it, there's not a lot going on in a tiny rural village such as Rancon. If you wanted nightclubs and non-stop noise, you'd move to a city. But for those who prefer the peace and quiet of the countryside (and nowhere in France does this better than the Limousin), Rancon is just perfect. The village has a sense of history about it too, and there is some interesting heritage dotted around if you care to discover it. There's the old bridge over the Gartempe, a fortified church which withstood attacks during the Hundred Years War, a Lantern of the Dead monument in the churchyard, a military terminal and a couple of historic chapels. Just outside the village is a chapel that was painted by English artists! As for shopping and dining, well, the village does offer a boulangerie/café/grocer's, but that's about it. Bellac, just a few miles up the road is altogether better equipped for everyday needs, and it only takes a few minutes to get there from Rancon.

Enjoy Saint Pardoux leisure lake and salmon fishing in the Gartempe River

If there is a lack of nightclubs and supermarkets in Rancon, the village and its environs more than make up for this in the plentiful outdoor activities they offer. The river at this point is known as "the Salmon River", and it's a real fisherman's paradise. Close by too, is the fabulous leisure lake of Saint Pardoux, which offers fun-filled days out for all the family. Here you can swim, get out on the water in pedaloes and even try a spot of tree climbing in the tree adventure park. Mountain biking, walking and horse-riding are all popular in the area as the countryside is unspoiled, safe and peaceful.

See white tigers at Zooparc Beauval or go hot air ballooning

A couple of hour's drive will get you to the Zooparc Beauval, where you can see white tigers and manatee among many other fascinating animals. Still looking for more to do? Also possible in the vicinity are hot air ballooning, caving and golf. That should just about cover something for everyone!

Absorb Limoges's heritage and culture and learn about Oradour sur Glane

The capital of the Limousin, Limoges, is more than worth a day trip at least. Beautiful and packed with history, the city offers heritage and culture in equal measures. And if you are a lover of fine porcelain, Limoges is the best place in the world to find it! On a different note, but hugely interesting to visit, is Oradour sur Glane. This village is the place where almost all the inhabitants were massacred by the Nazis during World War Two. The village has been preserved exactly as it remained after the massacre, and although a visit here is sobering, it is never less than fascinating.

Visit the twice-weekly markets at Bellac

The Limousin and the Haute-Vienne also abound with lovely market towns, all of which provide colour and a sense of French country tradition. Nearest of these to Rancon is the town of Bellac, whose markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

How to get there

With airports and TGV stations at both Limoges and Poitiers, travelling to the area from the UK is simplicity itself. Driving too is easy, as there are three good motorways that run close to the village - the A20 (toll road), N145 and N147 (both non toll). The village itself lies on the D7/D1.

Property prices and availability in and around Rancon

The best news of all comes, as so often, at the end. Property in and near to Rancon is around the cheapest in France. Really lovely properties, bursting with local character, can be found for unbelievably low prices. Currently on the market is a renovation project for only 19,000 Euros, while at the other end of the scale you could own a restored 15th century Priory with a gite converted from a barn and chapel for a mere 265,000 Euros. Compare that with the UK, or even with elsewhere in France!

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WHERE IS Rancon?

Rancon lies in western central France, in the north of the Haute-Vienne department.

Rancon Property Map


Limousin Guide

Limousin Property Map


Haute-Vienne Guide

  Haute-Vienne Map

Population: 556

Access: By air: Fly to Limoges or Poitiers direct from the UK. By rail: The TGV runs to both Limoges and Poitiers. By road: The motorways N147, N145 and A20 are all close to Rancon. The village itself is accessed from the D7 or D1 roads.

Economy: The economy is agricultural.

Interesting fact: This tiny village was an important place in Gallo Roman times. Its name then was Roncomagos.


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