Perhaps you dream of owning a place on the Med, where you can sit and watch the sun go down, sipping a glass of wine as you look out over your very own expanse of aquamarine heaven. Maybe you hanker for a traditional stone house near Carcassonne, dripping with history; or would love a funky ski chalet in the Pyrénées so you can hit the slopes whenever you want. Or would you prefer a city-centre crash pad in Montpellier right at the heart of the action? In beautiful, varied (and completely affordable) Languedoc-Roussillon, you can make your dreams come true – and enjoy a Mediterranean climate to boot…
Where Exactly Is Languedoc-Roussillon?
Sitting in the middle of France’s south coast, Languedoc-Roussillon comprises the départements of Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère and Pyrénées-Orientales. Now part of the Occitanie super-region, it is said to have all the advantages of the French Riviera without the downsides: you get the coast, countryside and the climate without the intensely populated high-rise zones or over-commercialised tourist developments. Then you have the added bonus of the ski resorts of the Pyrénées.
Because of its geography, this area includes a wide range of property options: from seaside villas and rural hideaways to urban apartments, ski chalets and everything in between – all enjoying the glorious Mediterranean climate. You could say it’s not really a question of why move to Languedoc-Roussillon, but more one of why on earth wouldn’t you?
Location: Where to Get What You Want
The great news is that the transport links here are brilliant: the area has five airports, plus good rail and road connections, making it easily accessible from abroad and elsewhere in France.
While Montpellier is undoubtedly the area’s flagship city with over 400,000 residents, Languedoc-Roussillon also includes Nîmes (150,000), Perpignan (120,000) and the popular tourist destination of Carcassonne (47,000) inland. These are top spots for city apartments, with studio flats in Montpellier costing around €75,000 and two-bedroom apartments closer to €120,000. In Nîmes, Perpignan and Carcassonne, you can buy a studio flat from €40,000 and two-bedroom apartments for as little as €80,000, but as always, you need to factor in likely return if you’re buying to rent. The proximity of ski resorts is also a big plus point for this area. The seven main ones are: Font-Romeu, Les Angles, Cerdagne-Puigmal, Formiguères, Cambre d’Aze, Puyvalador and Porté-Puymorens. Les Angles is the most expensive resort and Cambre d’Aze the least, but you can still pick up a tiny studio from €30,000 in Les Angles (depending on how close it is to the slopes) and a wider choice from €80,000. As a bonus, outside the winter season the fantastic scenery continues to attract visitors for walking and hiking holidays.
If you’re looking for a low-cost holiday home, try less-populated Hérault, Gard and Aude, where you can find rural village homes for under €40,000 and a range of family homes for around €80,000. Even within reach of historic Carcassonne, there are stone houses for €65,000 and three-bedroom family homes for €85,000 with gardens and views. For those considering a renovation project, you’ll find plenty to whet your appetite, from an eight-room country coach-house for €75,000 to a three-storey detached villa for €150,000 or a stone-built property with two outbuildings in a historic village for €110,000 – but you’ll need to be realistic about building costs, timescales and the return on your investment.
Properties: An Overview
As you’d expect, with such a large region and diverse landscapes, agents offer properties for every taste and budget, but with serious price variations depending on location. Generally, prices increase the closer you get to the coast or the popular region of Provence. While this area has avoided the mass tourism that has spoilt others, it continues to attract huge numbers of visitors, as well as overseas buyers – particularly those who want to enjoy the Mediterranean climate but prefer not to pay the prices in Provence. This means that there is competition for properties in the more popular spots, but, of course, it also means you’ll have a steady stream of tourists from France and elsewhere if you want to rent out.
Here, temperatures regularly rise above 30°C in summer and you can reasonably expect 300 days of sunshine a year. There are huge regional variations, though – mountainous areas get enough snow to support successful ski resorts, and sheltered coastal spots further south will get much hotter in summer than rural areas inland.
The cold Tramontane and warmer, wetter Marin winds can seriously affect quality of life for some residents, so ensure that this is part of your criteria when you’re researching where you want to live.