This region of France has almost become a home from home for Brits and is perhaps the most popular region of France for holiday home ownership. Over the past few years, many properties have been snapped up by second home owners or Brits wanting to retire who love the area and appreciate that you can obtain substantially more for your money than on some of the more popular coastal regions.
The area consists of the five regions mentioned above and the capital and centre of the are is without doubt Montpellier. Other important towns in the region are; Alies, Beziers, and Nimes. Alas, to many in the UK, this area is only well known because of the fairly substantial flooding that has taken place in recent years The departments of Aude, Gard & Herault were all badly hit and at times the flood damage to holiday homes in the area was quite severe. However, that said, the prospect of floods or flooding is not stopping people from wanting to settle in this area and it remains enormously popular. What seems to be happening now is that people wanting to settle in this area are really doing their homework and finding out the location in which they wish to settle in greater, more precise detail. Not all areas were overrun with flood water and would be holiday home owners are taking the time too make all the necessary enquiries and obtaining good quality local information before parting with their money for property.
This is an area of France that is famed for it’s beauty and absolute tranquillity, because of it’s proximity to Spain, a number of cultures are fused in this area, you have French, Catalan and Spanish traditions all helping to make a wonderful and atmosphere. The region also has some fine sandy beeches and you can get away here at the weekends on any number which stretch from Camargue to the Spanish border. Their are plenty of water sports to choose from, and sailing, fishing & suba diving are all popular pastimes. Inland you will find a more mountainous regions with the massif central towards the north and the Pyrenees to the South. Both of these regions are popular with walkers and hikers, mountain biking is also very popular. Towards the Spanish border, there are a few small ski resorts that are popular.
Languedoc-Roussillion is blessed with a wonderful warm climate. The coastal areas are hot and dry ( some say too hot in summer) but the winters are lovely and mild. The further inland you go, the colder the winters become and expect heavy rain in spring & autumn. The area is one of the largest wine producing regions in Europe. Agriculture still plays a large part in the economy with l a fairly large number of people employed in the sector. However, as the bulk of people tend to live in the urban areas that border the coast ( as much as 80%), it is here that the bulk of industry is based. Le Gard & Le Herault are very popular but it is in Montpellier that growth is really continuing to happen. As much as half the population of this town have moved here from other areas of France or Europe and it is fast developing a reputation for being a centre for technological companies.
Growth in Montpellier started in the 1960s when it’s size increased by as much as 35% with the arrival of the Pieds Noirs, French forced to leave Algeria. This influx of people provided a work force and helped develop both the economy and culture of the town
Still today, Montpellier is one of the fastest growing cities in the south. It has a vibrant atmosphere with students constituting almost a quarter of the population. Everything revolves around the central region known as’Place de la Comedie’. Here you will find many open-air cafés and restaurants and plenty of street theatre to keep you entertained The buildings in this town are stately and elegant and you will find it a delight to visit even if you do not choose to purchase your holiday home in this part of the region.
If you are thinking of buying a property for rental purposes, then this area is certainly a good choice, as well as the students mentioned above, almost 14 million people visit this region every year. There is plenty to do, from the National Park to the coastal activities mentioned above and no visit to the region is complete without taking in the town of Carcassonne, perhaps the most important medieval; town in Europe.
If you want to compare property prices here to those on the Rivera, you can expect to find they are substantially less. however that said property prices vary greatly so taking your time and looking around is essential. The coastal region is of course more expensive and that is where many people want their holiday home, however, there are still some absolute bargains to be found elsewhere.
As always, one of the major considerations of foreign holiday home ownership is the ability to reach your property cheaply and quickly, this region is well served by budget airlines and Ryanair, Flybe & BMI all fly in to the regions airports at Perpignan, Montpellier & Carcassonne.
Just to recap, if you are thinking of buying property in this region as your retirement home or holiday home, do make extensive enquiries as to the susceptibility to flooding, remember, house by a stream or river may look pretty but consider the implications of flooding and the ability to acquire insurance against this peril.
Guide to Languedoc-Roussillion, France
11 Aude 30 Gard 38 Herault 48 Lozere 66 Pyrenees
For Holiday Home Insurance in France– Contact Assetsure for a quote.