The southern Gers region in the Midi-Pyrénées is the France of many people’s imaginations; sunflowers and gently rolling hills, medieval bastide towns and classic French farmhouses, vineyards and typical French country restaurants, rivers and lakes, castles and historic villages all of which is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Pyrénées mountains.
The Gers is one of the least populated departments in France and, as a result, property prices have remained stable and affordable. Moreover, this is a part of France which is known for its beautiful stone houses in traditional French style and pretty bastide villages. The southern Gers offers particularly good value for money and is less developed than the northern part of the region. The average price of an old, three-bedroom stone house in the Southern Gers is €154,500 compared to an average of €193,000 for the Midi-Pyrenees region in general.
Types of property in Southern Gers:
The Gers is home to many architectural styles, influenced by the region’s history and its economic activity and this history is reflected in the names, hence Castelnau (houses gathering around a castle to be protected), Sauveté (rural village being an asylum/ protected by the church) or bastide (fortified villages).
In terms of materials used in the construction of properties; to the south, river stones are much used to build houses, to the east the architecture is more likely to be farmhouses built from local earth bricks. In the northern part of the department, sandstone is used, whereas to the west, pretty half-timbered properties are a common sight. There are also a huge variety of property styles. Some of the most recognized are:
The Gers has the highest number of Châteaux of any department in France. Early examples were primarily defensive while later examples, from the C16th onwards, were built more for comfort and as a sign of wealth. Many of these châteaux change hands in the region for a fraction of the price of those in other parts of France so, here at least, making your home your castle really is possible.
Maisons de maître and manoirs:
Grand residences usually dating from the 18th and 19th century but designed on a more intimate scale than the chateaux, often for landowners who lived from agricultural rents. Most are symmetrical with a grand entrance and hallway, a beautiful wooden staircase, high ceilings and lots of huge windows with either exterior or interior shutters.
The typical Gers farmhouse:
The Gers is famous for its L and U shaped farmhouses constructed around a central courtyard; often the outbuildings and barns are larger than the house itself. They are usually built with thick walls and huge timbers, facing south with their backs to the worst weather and hence make excellent conversions for those looking to extend the living accommodation and make the most of the protected situation and usually great views.
Town and village houses:
Often substantial in size, in the style of manor houses or farm houses, with lovely hidden gardens in many cases and usually very good value. For those looking for a safe place to live within a local community, there are ample lovely villages to choose from and these properties make perfect holiday homes.
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