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5 towns in south-west France within easy travel distance of Paris

The Local France
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5 towns in south-west France within easy travel distance of Paris
The vineyards at the Chateau de Valmer at the heart of the Vouvray vineyard in Touraine, a short distance outside of the town of Vouvray (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / Guillaume SOUVANT / AFP)

If you want the peace, good weather, cheaper property and high quality of life of south-west France but also need to travel regularly for Paris, check out these towns along the TGV route.


Life in south-west France has a lot to recommend it - property is cheaper, the pace of life slower, the area is beautiful and the weather is great.

On the downside, however, is that employment opportunities are not as great as they are in the capital, while plenty of people like to visit Paris for the cultural or shopping ooportunities.

So if you want to combine the best of both worlds, a good idea is to look at some of the towns along the south-west TGV route - the high-speed train that goes from Paris to the Spanish border.

French daily Le Parisien has ranked the towns within 20km from stations along two major, high-speed train lines: Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-La Rochelle, both of which arrive in central Paris at Gare Montparnasse.


To come up with a rating, the French daily assesed relative proximity to Paris, property prices per square metre, internet access (ie fibre connection), availability of shops and doctors in the nearby area, green space, as well as distance from the sea.

You can also add in your own personal preferences to their online simulator.

Here's what they came up with;


Located between Orléans and Tours, Vendôme is the third largest commune in the Loir-et-Cher département and it is home to 15,856 people. 

Seated along the river Loir, Vendôme has a rich medieval history with plenty of historic monuments in the area. 

The area has become popular for work-from-home. The head of a local real estate firm, Christophe Blot, told Le Parisien that between 2020 and 2022, "sales were crazy. We increased our turnover by 50 percent during this period". 

As of 2023, the average cost per square metre to buy a property was €1,792, in comparison to €3,119 in the closest major city, Tours, which is about an hour away by car, or 30 minutes by high speed TGV train.

The one downside about Vendôme is its proximity to the beach - a little over three hours by car or two by train - to La Rochelle.

READ MORE: MAP: Where high-speed trains can take you in France

Based on French telecom service, ARCEP's fibre connection map, Vendôme is in an area with over 80 percent access to high-speed fibre optics.

Distance from Paris: Vendôme is approximately 42 minutes from Paris Montparnasse by train. 


In between Tours and Poitiers, about an hour by car from each city, lies the commune Descartes along the Creuse river.

It is located in the Indre-et-Loire département in central France, and its name might sound familiar, as it is the birthplace of the French mathematician and philosopher, René Descartes.

As of 2015, the population was 3,600 people. 


In terms of price, real estate in Descartes was quite a bit cheaper than in Vendôme at €1,204 per sq m. Similarly, much of the area had access to fibre optics, but the town of Buxeuil, on the other side of the river, had not yet been fitted for fibre as of November 2023.

Distance from Paris: Along the TGV Paris-Bordeaux line, the closest station from Descartes is Châtellerault, which is about a 30-minute drive away. Then, the train takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Paris Montparnasse, bringing the total travel time to one hour and 45 minutes. 


Just outside of Tours, further down the Loire river, is the town of Vouvray. It well known for its white wine, in fact some call the commune 'Vouvray-les-vins'.

Wines from Vouvray are made with the Chenin grape, and there are a wide variety from sparking to dry and sweet. 

As of 2020, 3,294 people lived in Vouvray.

In terms of distance to Tours, you could cycle there in about 30 minutes, or drive to arrive within 15 to 20 minutes. This means you would be in close proximity of everything Tours has to offer - from its narrow cobble-stone streets, to the historic Saint-Gatien Cathedral, and its Fine Arts Museum.


Price-wise, a metre squared in Vouvray was about €2,787 in November 2023 - still significantly cheaper than Tours while being just a few kilometres outside of the city.

Distance from Paris: Vouvray is less than 15 minutes driving from the St-Pierre-des-Corps SNCF station. From there, you can take a high-speed train to Paris in about an hour, making your total commute time to a little over an hour and 15 minutes.


Located in the Deux-Sèvres département, Le Parisien ranked Bessines fourth in locations at decent proximity from Paris. 

The town was home to 1,774 as of 2020.

Bessines has a lot to offer - especially in terms of nature. It is located within the Regional Natural Park of the Marais Poitevin, which is known for its canals, wildlife, and marshland views. 

It is also a short distance from the ocean, a little under an hour's drive. 

One square metre cost an average of €2,200, in comparison to €4,914 in La Rochelle, the closest major city.

Over 80 percent of Bessines and much of the surrounding area had access to fibre optics as of 2023. 

Distance from Paris: The TGV train from Niort - about a 10-15 minute drive from Bessines - is two hours and 25 minutes from Montparnasse in Paris. This means your total distance would be around two hours and 40 minutes.

La Rochefoucauld-en-Angoumois 

La Rochefoucauld-en-Angoumois, located in the Charente département, is not far from Angoulême, France's comic book capital. 

The town is known for the renaissance Château de La Rochefoucauld, a well-preserved 11th century castle open for visits. In 2013, La Rochefoucauld was awarded the "Village étape" label.

READ MORE: Driving in France: What are the French 'villages étapes'?

The population as of 2020 was 3,984.

Real estate in La Rochefoucauld was the second cheapest of the five, second to Descartes. On average, price per square metre was €1,404 in 2023, despite being only 25 minutes driving distance from Angoulême where averages were closer to €1,841.

The area is also well-covered by fibre optics.

Distance from Paris: First you'll drive to Angoulême, which takes a little under a half hour. Then you can take the train to Paris, which on average takes about two hours and 38 minutes, though sometimes as quick as one hour 44 minutes. You can expect total travel time to be under three hours.


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