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Six towns that are influencing the Languedoc property market
The Languedoc Roussillon region, in the centre south of the country, is one of the most popular in France among British and other overseas house hunters. Its current status as a hot property location began in the early 1990's, as buyers were forced out of Provence by escalating prices. Still seeking a piece of the Med, they moved across to the Languedoc, which has a similarly sunny climate and glorious coastline, but much cheaper property. The Languedoc is also rich in history and has a long standing wine producing tradition.
More and more buyers have discovered the region and all its attractions since the advent of low cost airlines like Ryanair, who have several destinations within the Languedoc. Airports served by Ryanair include Carcassonne, Montpellier, Perpignan, Nîmes, Rodez and Béziers. Toulouse is not officially in the Languedoc, but so near that it is another option. Then there's the excellent road network that lets you drive the length of France in just ten hours. And, there are TGV stations all over the region. All this allows holiday home owners to get to and from the UK with little hassle and little expense. Most of the region is easily accessible now, and properties within easy reach of Ryanair airports and TGV stations sell especially well.
According to FNAIM, the region is bucking the trend in some areas, and property prices are actually increasing. So, in the difficult economic times of 2012, where are the Languedoc towns that are driving the property market?
Everyone loves Carcassonne. Its fairytale walled mediaeval cité, set up on a hill overlooking the rest of the town is stunning and never fails to charm. The old cité gets busy in summer, so residents of Carcassonne tend to stay mainly in the lower town during the season. But both parts of Carcassonne have lots to do and see, a proliferation of restaurants and bars and good shopping. The lower parts of the city manage to offer city facilities but retain the atmosphere of a much smaller market town. There are good schools, hospitals and sports facilities, all in a delightful setting. The River Aude runs through, as does the Canal du Midi. The Mediterranean coast is less than an hour away by car.
Property is reasonable, and there's lots of choice. On the outskirts of the city you can pick up an apartment or small village house for as little as 50,000 Euros. Property in a prime location in the city is higher in price, but never loses its appeal and holds value well. Carcassonne has a TGV station, is set on the auto route that runs between Toulouse and the Med (A61) and has its very own Ryanair airport that has flights to London Stansted, East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds (in season) and Glasgow.
The gorgeous town of Sète lies on the Mediterranean Sea. It's the last town on the Canal du Midi too, giving it an even greater appeal. The picturesque fishing and commercial port is one of the most important in the south of France. The town has some 42,000 inhabitants, and property is always highly sought after. Noted for its quality of light and clarity of colours, Sète has many delights. There's the sea, the harbour, and the beaches, of course. But there is also the Canal du Midi and the Étang de Thau. The Étang is an inner sea, or a saltwater lagoon that lies between land and sea and is a haven for flamingoes and other wading birds, as well as a rich source of oysters and mussels. The town has a lively ambience and all amenities. Sports on offer nearby include golf, white water rafting, sailing, walking and cycling. It's reached by air or TGV from Carcassonne or Montpellier.
Property in Sète isn't the cheapest in the region, but that doesn't stop the buyers from coming. Apartments are the least expensive types of property , with prices from 71,000 Euros. Luxury and unique properties can also be found around Sète.
Uzés is an old town, packed with character and heritage. Throughout its history, Uzés has been home to diverse groups of peoples, with the Jews and the Cathars among those being drawn to the town. True to tradition, today its residents represent many nationalities, religions and cultures. Uzés has a lovely market selling fresh, local produce (don't miss the displays of colourful olives, some stuffed, some natural, some marinated in olive oil and herbs), and all shops and services.
Property in and around Uzés is surprisingly cheap, and compares very well with that of neighbouring Provence, just to the east. It's best accessed from Nîmes airport or TGV station if you don't want to drive from the UK.
Narbonne is the oldest town in the country, so there's lots of history and heritage. But it's also on the Med, making it doubly attractive as a holiday location. It's quite large, with a population of 46,500, and has endless attractions including cultural venues, festivals, a seaside resort, sports and leisure activities. It has also got excellent shopping and many superb restaurants. No wonder everyone wants to own a little piece of Narbonne!
Surprisingly, you can pick up property in Narbonne for less than you might expect. The seaside and town centre remain the most expensive areas, but there are many developments beside the sea that give you apartments and small holiday homes for as little as 65,000 Euros. The nearest airports are Carcassonne, Béziers and Montpellier.
Labelled a "town of art and history", Pézenas is filled with elegant old buildings from its past as home to the wealthy lords of the Languedoc. It is also a place where you can enjoy browsing the shops and market stalls for unusual artisanal products, arts and crafts. Pézenas lies amid the vineyards of the Hérault department, and there are many opportunities to visit the wine estates and enjoy courses and tastings. There are plenty of leisure activities on offer in the surrounding areas, with golf, walking, cycling and horse-riding. The town is about a 20-minute drive from the sea, where you can sail, swim and sunbathe to your heart's content.
Property is generally accepted to be pricey (in Languedoc terms) but when you can find a nice apartment in the town for just 42,000 Euros, it isn't so bad! To get to Pézenas, Béziers, Montpellier and Carcassonne are the nearest airports, but Perpignan and Toulouse are also within reach.
Agde is the old town to the seaside resort of Cap d'Agde, one of the Languedoc's liveliest and best known resorts. While "The Cap" is noted for its sun, sea and sand frolics (not to mention the nudist beaches!), old Agde is a gorgeous historic town with winding streets and lovely architecture. Plenty of heritage treasures to enjoy there! Of course, the beaches and bars are just down the road, so by living in Agde you can have the best of both worlds. And Agde, like its better known neighbour, has shops and restaurants and all the usual services. It just does everything in a more tranquil fashion.
Property in Agde offers apartments from just 55,000 Euros, but there are plenty of luxurious large properties on the market too. Agde is in the Hérault, so the best airports to use are Montpellier, Carcassonne or Béziers.
French Property Links (English language) and its sister site in French can help you to find a property in the best locations of the Languedoc. The company works alongside estate agents and private sellers showcasing properties at very reasonable rates, and also offers guides to towns and departments to help you find that perfect spot. It is an easy to use site, with prices offered in Euros or Pounds. Take a look today to see what's on offer in the Languedoc and find out just why these towns are so special.
French Property Links - English version
Agent Immobilier France - French version