Guide to property prices in Bagnols-sur-Ceze and surrounds
Within an hour from the beautiful Roman city of Nimes and the picturesque town of Uzes, lies a seemingly untouched beauty spot nestled between the Gardon and the Ardeche rivers: the valley of the Ceze river. Located in the “Gard Provencal”, the area straddles Provence and Languedoc and retains much of the Provencal culture and regional specialities. This is the land of lavender and olives, Cotes du Rhone wine trails and river water sports.
The Ceze river starts its course just south of the small town of Barjac, close to the border with the Herault department in the foothills of the Cevennes and Ardeche mountains; from Barjac it winds down the valley past picturesque stone villages, such as La Roque sur Ceze, Cornillon and Montclus, surrounded by gently sloping vineyards and sunflower fields; a little further north and south of the river plains are more pretty hidden villages, such as Aigueze, Goudargues and Mejannes le Clap; after the village of Montclus there is an impressive series of gorges and the Sautadet waterfall before the river flows through the large market town of Bagnols-sur-Ceze and then joins the Rhone.
A popular tourist destination, the area offers plenty to tempt the house buyer or investor. Within an hour’s drive you can enjoy the many outdoor pursuits on offer, from kayaking or potholing, to hiking or fishing; visit the Pont du Gard aqueduct – a UNESCO World Heritage site; go camping, hiking and skiing in the Cevennes National Park; explore Provence and many historically significant towns such as Avignon and Orange. The area also has a burgeoning arts and cultural scene, with pottery, art, jazz and wine festivals.
The main villages in the Ceze valley are most easily reached via the D980 road which more or less follows the river from Bagnols-sur-Ceze. Bagnols-sur-Ceze is well linked, via the N580 at junction 22, to the A9 motorway. Avignon airport (served by Air France and Flybe) and TGV station are a 35 minutes’ drive from Bagnols-sur-Ceze, whilst Nimes airport (served by Ryanair and Eurociel) is about 50 minutes.
Property remains cheaper here than certain areas closer to Nimes and Montpellier, and significantly cheaper than the neighbouring Provence area. Because of its proximity to the airports and TGV station the triangular area between Bagnols-sur-Ceze, Uzes and Avignon is extremely popular with second home owners, whilst those looking for real rural bliss should look at villages further north into the valley. The wonderful scenery and outdoor pursuits available have made for a thriving environment for the holiday rental market – but buyers intending to rent out their home should research the location and consider the local competition carefully. For those seeking a permanent move with children, local amenities become more important: many of the smaller villages no longer have grocers or bakers (although some do have the local bakers and butchers vans delivering bread and meats); the main supermarkets are located in the larger villages and towns; there are primary schools in several of the larger villages which feed into the secondary colleges and lycées located in the larger towns and cities such as Bagnols-sur-Ceze, Pont Saint-Esprit, Uzes, Ales and Nimes.
Thanks largely to increased prices in Provence and better transport links, much more interest has been seen in recent times from buyers from the northern parts of Europe, such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, northern France as well as UK. The area draws those looking for a typical “Provencal” style stone village house away from road traffic and noise. Naturally these types of properties are available, but buyers need to be realistic about the budget required for this particular “south of France” dream.
With Provence still one of the most popular areas to buy a second home, it seems that investing in this neighbouring Gard-Provencal area is a safe bet. Whilst many property experts do not believe that prices will increase here as radically as they did in the earlier part of the decade, it is almost impossible to imagine that the beautiful stone villages and delightful surrounding scenery will ever lose its charm.
Click here to see Ceze Valley property featured on FrenchEntrée.