With the lovely “pink city” of Toulouse roughly at its centre, Occitanie stretches from its northern and western border, from the Nouvelle Aquitaine right the way down to the border with Spain in the south and the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur in the east.
We have sourced 5 superb villages/small towns to tempt you to come and try this fantastic area. All of these places are hugely appealing to British buyers looking for value for money, a peaceful lifestyle, space and tranquility.
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Occitanie is the largest administrative area of France. It was formed on January 1st 2016 by combining the 2 regions of Languedoc Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees. The area very generally is known for its huge wine industry, rolling hills and rivers, as well as its temperate climate, fabulous coastline, rich green countryside and ancient heritage.
Property prices vary widely in this large area. The good news is that it is perfectly possible to buy a good sized home with garden for under €150,000 in many parts.
Moissac, Tarn et Garonne
Moissac lies just east of Agen and is on the famous Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. This is a lesser-known but very pretty large village, famous for its fabulous Abbey of Saint Pierre with its cloisters, said to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Its impressively huge ancient door dates from the 12th century and the bell tower is of particular note, chiming enchanting tunes at midday and 7 pm!
There is a lovely pedestrianised part in the centre of Moissac with several excellent restaurants on all sides, perfect for sitting in the sun and people watching. All around the village you will find further smaller villages offering a wealth of views, rolling hills and vines.
Property prices are very reasonable and there is a variety of property types, ranging from traditional farmhouses, ancient “pigeonniers” (old pigeon houses typical of the region), to timber framed old houses and modern villas. A budget of around €200,000 will find you a good sized renovated property with garden.
Bagneres de Bigorre, Hautes Pyrenees
Bagneres de Bigorre is situated at the foot of the Pyrenees right on the banks of the river Adour. It is a spa resort and thus a popular place for curative holidays. The old town has some truly beautiful ancient houses as well as beautiful gardens, fountains and even a casino. It is also somewhat renowned for its gastronomy; you will find plenty of up market restaurants and bars here.
Properties are mainly older ones and although you will need a slightly healthier budget to buy a mid-sized home with garden, you can still expect to find a choice of good properties from around €250,000.
Millau is an incredibly pretty village, now made more so by the construction of the quite incredible Millau viaduct. This has enabled the village to be relatively free of through traffic. The village has a gorgeous central square lined with restaurants and cafes, ideal for watching the world go by. It is also a very popular place for hikers, bikers and lovers of water sports with miles of country trails around it, as well as the clear water of the river Tarn. From the river there is a fantastic view of the Millau viaduct.
Properties here tend to be mostly of the older style. Again, a budget of around €250,000 will find you a good sized home with garden just outside of the village.
Ceret, Pyrenees Orientales
Further down south now and we come across this gorgeous village – one of those places that conjures up the true essence of French life for many British people. Lying at the base of the Pyreenean mountains, it has a superb, laid back atmosphere to it, with its majestic plane trees dominating the village. There is plenty going on here from a good choice of restaurants and bars, small boutique shops, to the Museum of Modern Art, housing works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall etc. In the summer, expect plenty of local events: art fairs, fetes, musical soirees.
The location is good too: it has a distinct Catalan feel to it and, being close to the A9 motorway, you can be in Spain in under a half hour. It is also very near to the wonderful sandy beaches of the Mediterannean and the Cote Vermeille (a stunning drive, especially if you are the passenger!)
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Property prices are on the higher side in Ceret due to its location and beauty. Inside the actual village you may find a small old house with a courtyard for a budget of around €200,000. Looking around the outskirts of Ceret, there is a wide choice of property, from elegant “maisons de maitre” to farmhouses with some land and modern villas. A budget of around €300,000 will find you a medium-sized home here and prices are likely to hold their own, making this a good place in which to invest.
Marseillan is a simply delightful village with a working fishing port, sited on a large lagoon “L’etang de Thau”. Nearby is Marseillan beach, a fine sandy beach with plenty of watersports and activities. The port is lined with restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as the old “Noilly Prat” building and some charming small boutique shops. The beauty of Marseillan is that it is totally unspoilt, almost as if stuck in a time warp!
Most of the property for sale here is either new build or substantial manor house type properties. In recent years, there have been several attractive apartment developments springing up around the village and it is still possible to find a good sized apartment for a budget of around €200,000. You will need to find a little more for a 2-3 bedroom house with outside space, say around €300,000 but again, this is an ideal place to buy an investment property.
This large area has many climates! Generally speaking, summers are hot and winters are cold but not freezing. The further south you go, the more sun you will find and down in what used to be Languedoc Roussilon, there is around 300 sunshine days per year. The climate is seasonal throughout the area with both spring and summer being temperate (or hot!) and mild. The winter season, although not as cold as the UK, still means you need some form of heating. So, if you are thinking of buying a property for year-round use, you do need to consider this.
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Access from the UK
Access from the UK by plane is very easy. There is a large choice of airports from Toulouse in the north down to Montpellier, Beziers, Carcassonne and Perpignan in the southern areas. If you like the train to take the strain, consider a direct TGV train from Paris to Narbonne or Montpellier, takes about 4.5 hours. Driving is also fine on the motorways to all parts of Occitanie.
The rental market
The rental market is particularly strong in the southern part of Occitanie, particularly in more rural areas. If you have skills such as gardening, building, decorating, cleaning etc. you will be in demand from other British owners of property.
As mentioned at the start, this really is a huge area with so many fabulous parts to discover for all budgets. Now is an excellent time to buy in France, so let us help you find your very own property!