The Local Area
We are situated on the ‘Millevaches Plateau’, the ‘plateau of a thousand springs’. Its beautiful wild unspoilt scenery, and vast open spaces offer a huge choice of activities.
The village of St Hilaire Les Courbes, two kilometres from us, has a chateau, a church and a small hotel and restaurant, the ‘Auberge des Bruyeres’.
A Little Bit of Geography
The ‘parc naturel régional de Millevaches en Limousin’ is an enormous 314,000 hectare (775,000 acre) national park consisting of heaths, peat bogs, forests and woodlands, ponds, lakes and rivers. Ancient tracks and empty narrow winding roads meander between the scattered farms and hamlets. Small villages built of local granite and roofed in blue-grey slate nestle amongst the rolling hills.
This plateau is a shoulder of the Massif Central and rises to an altitude of almost 1000 metres at its highest. The peat bogs (tourbières) high on the plateau are an important watershed and give rise to the River Vienne which empties far to the northwest in the Loire and the River Vézère which twists through steep wooded gorges to join the Dordogne 200km further south.
The peace and tranquillity offered by the unspoilt wild countryside does have a number of consequences for visitors.
- You really do need a car. A bike is great, but you will still need a car to appreciate all there is to offer and to get around. There is little or no public transport here.
- The only big cities are Limoges which is an hour north or Brive la Galliard an hour south. Both are beautiful places where there are plenty of shops, cinemas, theatres and restaurants. However it’s very different here. Locally there are only a few shops, restaurants and Cafés and they tend to be in the larger villages. On the upside, the picnic opportunities are outstanding. You will not have to walk far from your car to be in glorious seclusion!
This varied landscape has a wide variety of flora and fauna. There are many zones of protected land. The national park (pnr-millevaches.fr) is very effective and works actively to encourage and protect not only the wildlife but also the local inhabitants and their way of life.
There are ‘remarkable or sensitive’ species to be found in all groups…from Allium victorale to black-woodpeckers, from pearl mussels to wild cats.