Maison du Midi

Although the British tend to think of somewhere with a population of 2,000 as a village, the French are probably right to call Magnac Laval a town. Certainly it has many more facilities than one would expect in such a small place.

Within a few minutes' walk of Maison du Midi, you'll find two supermarkets, a specialist up-market grocery/deli, a tourist information office, three bakeries, a petrol station, a restaurant, five bars, two tabacs, a bank with an ATM that accepts British cards, two pharmacies, two hairdressers, a newsagent with yesterday's British papers, and a post office. If you need more facilities, the towns of Le Dorat and Bellac are seven and 15 minutes' drive away respectively.

The town dates back at least to Roman times, when it was a settlement on the important main road between Trier and Bordeaux. But today, Magnac Laval could not be more typical of a small, rural French town. The architecture is simple yet pleasing, the narrow medieval backstreets make every walk an adventure, the pace of life is extraordinarily slow, and - although few of them speak English - the people are infinitely charming, friendly and patient.