The New Year’s just round the corner, and, with it, thoughts of where we want to be in 2019. For you, could that mean life in a French village in Aquitaine? This gorgeously unspoilt region is a favourite among the British and is dotted with hundreds of picturesque, old villages. Plus, if you choose wisely, property can be eminently affordable. That’s why we’ve put together our guide to the best villages to buy a house in Aquitaine – so keep reading to find the perfect place for your dream property.
Our best villages to buy a house in Aquitaine
Crowned as a ‘village in bloom’, Oloron-Sainte-Marie sits in the pristine environment of the lowlands of the Pyrenees. Vineyards and the Jurançon countryside surround the village, and the Gave d’Ossau flows through the centre, with both banks housing traditional stone houses. The Bellevue Promenade gives a beautiful view over the ancient Quartier Sainte-Croix.
The historic nature of the town means there are all sorts of converted properties on the market, such as a watermill for €499,000. Prices in general are low, however. You can get a farmhouse for €179,000.
Voted one of the most beautiful villages in France, Auvillar is made up of narrow streets lined with ancient buildings in the local honey-coloured stone. As a stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, there’s an active cultural life and vibrancy in the commercial centre. You’ll find numerous restaurants where you can enjoy an evening meal for as little as €15, mainly on the Route de Valence.
The Espalais Golf Course is just 1km away, and there’s also a cinema at Valence d’Agen – so you’ve plenty to keep yourself busy with! Property here is nowhere near as expensive as you might expect, due to the rural location. A house of character with a pool and 3ha of land can sell for just €230,000. The family will find it easy to come and visit, as the airport at Toulouse is just 55 minutes’ drive away.
If you want to live in a traditional bastide village, look no further than Fourcès. A bastide is a medieval village built on a circular plan for defensive purposes, and that has been perfectly preserved here in Fourcès. The original castle, which it surrounded, has been changed and is now a pleasant tree-lined square called Place des Cornières. In April every year, it hosts a colourful flower festival and the famous Marciac Jazz Festival comes to town in the summer.
A period home right on the square will cost around €150,000. Further away from the centre (which in reality means being just five minutes’ walk from the square…), you can find traditional homes for €110,000.
This pretty hill village offers sweeping views over the Lot-et-Garonne countryside. The old town, around the Place des Arcades, has a number of restaurants, bistros and services. The quaint cobbled streets are a joy to explore, with numerous small, winding streets offering surprise discoveries of cafés, shops and historic buildings.
Property prices are extremely varied here: a farm just outside the village can go for €175,000, while a perfectly renovated historic home sells for up to €600,000. It’s worth using our free Negotiation Guide to brush up your bargaining techniques – you could surprise yourself with how much you get for your euros!
Bisected by the Rivers Douze and Midou, Mont-de-Marsan is slightly larger than the rest of our list of the best villages to buy a house in Aquitaine. Its bustling centre, following the roads radiating out from the Place Jean Jaures, has any number of restaurants, bars, cafés, supermarkets, banks and a secondary school.
It’s an ideal place to live if you want to work – the higher population means there are much more opportunities than in the interior. In the suburbs, a villa can sell for as little as €175,000. For an architect-designed home with land and a swimming pool, you’re looking at around €350,000.
Further south lies the fortified village of Navarrenx. It’s one of the best villages to buy a house in Aquitaine, as, although it’s old, most of the properties have spacious outdoor areas – relatively rare in historic village homes. A spacious detached home will sell for as little as €169,000.
The village is known for its delicious salmon, and holds a Salmon Festival every year. It provides easy access to the beautiful surrounding countryside, having been awarded the status of a Station Verte for a number of years. You’re also around fifty minutes’ drive from the lively city of Pau and an hour from quaint Bayonne.
The riverside village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is largely made up of whitewashed homes with timber details, giving it a more ‘Basque Country’ feel than the northern part of Aquitaine. Houses here are quite spacious, as the town was never built to be fortified, and is less tightly packed. Many have views over the green, rolling countryside that surrounds the village. It’s almost like the English countryside with a bit more sun! There are ten different cultural associations in the village itself, from choral singing to photography, as well as the summer theatre festival.
Property prices range from around €60,000 for an apartment up to the €300,000s for a large, detached house with land. A two-bedroom house in walking distance of the centre, with a bit of work to do, will cost around €175,000.
Find out everything you need to know about buying a home in France: get our comprehensive, up-to-date advice all in one place by downloading your free France Buying Guide
Don’t let worries about Brexit put you off your French dream. Find out about how you can live in France even in the event of a no-deal in our free Guide to Living in France After Brexit.
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