Picardy which contains the above departments is located in the northern eastern part of France. Climatically, it is very similar to southern England but for some reason, (some unkindly say it is the climate) this has not proved a popular destination for purchasers of Holiday Homes and it remains one of the cheapest and most undiscovered regions in France in which to buy property.
The French people view Picardy as the birthplace of France, Soissons was the first capital of the Franks in 486AD and Picardy is rightly proud as being the original French region, today it still has many ancient monuments recognised by UNESCO and it has many fine cathedrals worthy of recognition.
Although holiday home ownership is not in much evidence in this region, it’s proximity to Paris, being only 30kms away at the southern boundaries is sure to mean property prices will start to increase soon and Picardy may be the place to secure your dream holiday home.
Its a shame that this area is not more popular with holiday home owners and holiday makers as it has a lot to offer, stretching from close to the outskirts of Paris eastwards towards Champagne and the Belgium border and west to the English channel, this region has some very pretty countryside with over 4000 hectres of Lakeland and the coastline is well looked after and unspoilt. The landscape is mainly flat in appearance with much given over to agricultural usage, both dairy and beef cattle are reared here and there is also some crop production. However it must be added that in recent years, farming has been in decline in Picardy and many old farm buildings are now standing idle and are falling in to a state of dilapidation. If you are thinking of buying a barn or old farm building to turn in to a holiday cottage then this area provides many opportunities. There are a large number of these buildings available for purchase at very modest prices and this area would make an excellent base if nothing else for exploring other French regions. Communication between Picardy and other areas of France notable Paris is excellent.
Sadly, the Somme region of Picardy is a region that most people have heard of for all the wrong reasons. It is mainly made up of flat chalk downlands and is viewed as one of the worst battlefields in history, anyone that visits this region will tell you that the sheer scale of the human tragedy inflicted in this location is one that is unforgettable.. Amiens is the largest city in the Somme district and today it is the administrative centre of Picardy and was briefly occupied during the first world war and was almost destroyed in the fighting of both wars. It has many fine buildings and makes a good base to explore this region. Architecturally speaking, the Gothic Cathedral is the star oo Amiens and many memorial plaques to the allied forces.
The river somme provides plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities, fishing is very popular. Part of the river is canalised and there is a footpath running beside it. On some stretches, it is possible to hire boats and there a number of harbours and pools which you can stop at for refreshment. The topography of the land lends itself well to walking and cycling and because this is an area of low density, you will have plenty of peace and quiet. St Varley sur somme is a lovely little port with some fortified walls and here you can witness beautiful views access the vast stretches of sand ( tide permitting of course). There is a marina and this is very popular with cross channel yachtsmen.
Aisne is located in the west of Picardy and this area is mainly agricultural farmland. it borders the Ardennes forest and Belgium in the northeast As mentioned above, many of the old farm buildings are presently in ruins and you can often pick up a bargain. Cereals form the bulk of produce from Aisne but quantities of potatoes, hemp & flax are also grown. As you drive through the region you can see the crops growing on the undulating hills. part of the region is also densely wooded and you you also encounter a small number of vine yards. There are many steep rock formations in this location and The town of Laon which is an old city perched on a hilltop has some interesting ramparts which along with a cathedral look down on the town is well worth a visit.
Oise is located 35 kilometers north of Paris and is an area that will surely increase in value as commuters from Paris look for cheaper homes in the suburbs, this area is so close yet you still feel it is in the country. Parc Asterix is a major attraction as is Chantilly a small town steeped in tradition well know for it’s race course to which Parisians flock to view quality horse racing.
Transport to Picardy from the UK is fairly easy, it is close to all the major ports and you could fly to Paris on any number of flights. This is an area where you can still obtain an absolute holiday home bargain if your prepared to hunt around. The major draw back is that tourism out side of the Somme area is not highly developed thus holiday rentals are poor. In some places houses are few and far between although there are plenty of properties ripe for renovation. If you are considering a holiday home in this area and you don’t want to rent it out then that’s fine, otherwise, you may be better to look elsewhere.
Guide to Picardy France- Departments.
For Holiday Home Insurance in France– Contact Assetsure for a quote.