Well, today we wrap up our week in Périgueux. We have gone to the outlying areas to get an idea as to the distance and population of various towns and villages as well as to look at the lay of the land. The more we get to know this area, the more we are getting a sense for the southwestern part of this country. Like much of France, large towns and cities are few and far between. The three largest cities that we will have visited are Anguolême in the Charente Department, Périgueux in the Périgord Blanc of the Dordogne Department and lastly, the largest city, Bordeaux. Interspersed all around these cites are towns and villages ranging in population from a few hundred to the thousands although none of them are much larger than what a small town in the U.S. would be. The way this area was settled since ancient times, many of the villages are very close to each other. Some of them a half day to a day’s walk away. A large percentage of them are composed of buildings that date back several centuries. The warmer weather and milder climate here has attracted many Brits who have settled in the area. Some have bought older buildings or farms and renovated them and rent out rooms/cottages, others come here for summer vacation or have purchased homes and have retired here.
The appeal of the larger cities where there are colleges and universities, better employment opportunities and a more active lifestyle has caused the younger generations to leave their small towns and villages. This fact and partially because of the slump in the economy, the rural areas, especially in the south are less populated by the young. The housing market has been suppressed by this and as the younger generation’s parents age, their houses may go on the market for lack of interest by their children.
There are new communities that are springing up here and there. On our journey we have passed a few areas of new construction in what seem small planned communities although they are the exception to the rule.
What separates this area from the Charente to the north is that the north is much more agricultural, has flatter terrain and is more open visually. Each area has its appeal and specialized products that are produced there.
So on to our next stop where we will enjoy a vacation from our vacation. Really looking forward to that!