France is awash with great value houses but which corners of the country are home to the really juicy deals? To help bargain-hunting readers, we highlight four of the most affordable French urban areas, according to the latest market report from the official Notaries of France association. Then for each, we find you a tempting property for sale…

Restored 17th-Century manor house near Châteauroux – but how much is it?

Shout-out for Châteauroux!
The cheapest urban area included in the French Notaries’ countrywide report is Châteauroux in the Loire Valley. The average selling price of a resale house across the town and its suburbs is just €117,000 (second quarter of 2018). For British people, that’s about £103,000, according to the exchange rate in early November. Delaying a purchase there could mean having to spend more though, thanks to prices rising steadily and jumping 8.6 per cent between the second quarters of 2017 and 2018. By comparison, across France as a whole, prices for resale houses rose 2.5% for the same period.

Birthplace of famous actor Gérard Depardieu, Châteauroux is the capital of the l’Indre department and boasts a pretty 16th-Century old town with castle, and a choice of picturesque villages in the surrounding countryside. Another attraction is the forest to the south of the town at Poinçonnet. And, thanks to its location in central France, it’s a five-hour drive from Calais and the Eurotunnel – so a convenient second-home destination.

Pretty cottage in the Somme – priced less than £100k!

Be amazed by Amiens
An easy 90-minute drive from Calais is Amiens, the majestic capital of France’s northern Picardy region. The average selling price in the city, which is part of the Somme department and its surrounding areas, is the second lowest in France – French Notaries’ report lists it as €149,000 (£132,000). Prices have fallen by 6.3% over the past year too, so now could be a good time to buy there.

With the River Somme running through it, highlights of Amiens include its UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral, the largest gothic structure in France and boasting fantastic stained-glass windows, the city’s pretty canals and the medieval Saint Leu district. So impressed by Amiens was writer Jules Verne he lived there for a number of years.

Feel the love for Limoges
Capital of the Haute-Vienne department and famous for its decorated porcelain, Limoges ranks as the third cheapest place in the French Notaries’ report. The average selling price for a house in the city and the surrounding area is €152,000 (£135,000).

Stone cottage with 3 hectares, just outside Limoges!

But prices have been rising even faster there than in Châteauroux, namely by 10% between the second quarters of 2017 and 2018. Boasting a historic old town with timber-framed houses and an airport with low-cost flights to the UK, Limoges is regarded as the gateway to – and capital of – the Limousin region.

Limousin is located slap-bang in the centre of France and famous for its unspoilt green countryside, cattle farms (hence a breed of cow takes its name), lakes and authentic rustic lifestyle – the only major town or city there is Limoges! The medieval villages around Limoges are an ideal hunting ground for seekers of a cosy village house or restored farm building at tantalisingly low prices.

Poitiers and Troyes
Poitiers and Troyes are the only other urban areas where the average selling price of a resale house is less than €160,000. In Poitiers, capital of the Vienne department and the old capital of Poitou, and its surrounding area, this figure is €157,400 (£139,000).

Great value villa next to golf, near Poitiers

A historic jewel in western-central France, this city has bundles of old-world charm. Not far from La Rochelle, the countryside between Poitiers and the coast is a popular hunting ground for British people.

Heading to the north-central part of the country and with an average selling price of €154,500 (£137,000), Troyes is another beautifully intact medieval gem that was once the capital of the Champagne region. It is also within easy reach of Paris and is located right next to the pretty Orient Forest Regional Natural Park, which includes three man-made leisure lakes.

Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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