The 20 French cities to buy a property in if you want a rural lifestyle

PUBLISHED: 11:58 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 20 July 2020

The Charente capital of Angouleme ©Leonid Andronov Getty Images

The Charente capital of Angouleme ©Leonid Andronov Getty Images

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A new study has revealed the top 20 French cities that offer a good compromise for those who are keen to live and work in more rural surroundings

A better balance between work and home has become a priority for French people since the end of the coronavirus confinement, with many now keen to move to the countryside to enjoy a more rural way of life ‘au vert’. A study by Cadremploi and Figaro Immo has ranked the top 20 French towns for living and working ‘au vert’, based on average property price per square metre along with other criteria including unemployment rate, job opportunities, pollution level, climate, quality of schools, and journey time from Paris. With low average house prices and a dynamic job market, Angoulême Poitiers and Quimper were considered to offer a good compromise in terms of infrastructure, environment and property, coming first, second and third respectively. Arras, Tours, Rennes, Le Mans, Nancy, Angers and Bourges complete the top 10 thanks to their low average property prices and journey time of roughly two hours to Paris.

The top 10 in brief:

1. Angoulême

Where: Charente, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Average property price: €1,230/m2

Green fact: Angoulême holds the highest rating of four flowers as one of France’s Villes et Villages Fleuris.

The medieval church of Notre Dame la Grande in Poitiers ©walencienne Getty ImagesThe medieval church of Notre Dame la Grande in Poitiers ©walencienne Getty Images

2. Poitiers

Where: Vienne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Average property price: €1,590/m2

Green fact: The Parc de Blossac is the largest public park in Poitiers, composed of several different gardens and covering an area of nine hectares.

3, Quimper

Where: Finistère, Brittany

Average property price: €1,520/m2

Green fact: An approach known as ‘differential management’ is used to manage the city’s green spaces in order to encourage biodiversity.

4, Arras

Where: Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France

Average property price: €1,550/m2

Green fact: The Citadel of Arras was once a military site but is now referred to as the city’s ‘little Central Park’.

5. Tours

Where: Indre-et-Loire, Centre-Val de Loire

Average property price: €2,120/m2

Green fact: The Observatoire des Villes Verte report found that Tours offers denser and more varied green spaces than many other French cities.

6. Rennes

Where: Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany

Average property price: €2,880/m2

Green fact: The Ecocentre de la Taupinais was established in Rennes in 2003 with the aim of encouraging greater environmental awareness among its citizens and promoting sustainable development.

Parc du Thabor in Rennes ©Cecile Haupas Getty ImagesParc du Thabor in Rennes ©Cecile Haupas Getty Images

7. Le Mans

Where: Sarthe, Pays de la Loire

Average property price: €1,650/m2

Green fact: Known as the ‘ville nature’, Le Mans boasts over 350 hectares of open spaces within the metropolitan area.

8. Nancy

Where: Meurthe-et-Moselle, Grand-Est

Average property price: €1,750/m2

Green fact: Nancy’s largest park is the Parc de la Pépinière, created in the 18th century and where the trees for the city’s grand new streets were cultivated

9. Angers

Where: Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire

Average property price: €2,180/m2

Green fact: Regulary named France’s greenest city, Angers allocates 3.5% of its budget to the creation of public green spaces.

This nine-bedroom chateau in Angers is on the market for ¬850,000 francepropertyshop.com ID 561625This nine-bedroom chateau in Angers is on the market for ¬850,000 francepropertyshop.com ID 561625

10. Bourges

Where: Cher, Centre-Val de Loire

Average property price: €1,390/m2

Green fact: The Art Deco Prés Fichaux garden is both a jardin remarquable and a monument historique.

With the exception of two, the remaining 10 towns in the top 20 all have an average property price below €2,000/m2. Ranked from 10th to 20th, these are: Limoges (€1,440/m2), Montauban (€1,640/m2), Orléans (€1,970/m2), Agen (€1,360/m2), Colmar (€2,230/m2), Valence (€2,040/m2), Brest (€1,690/m2), St-Brieuc (€1,410/m2), Brive-la-Gaillarde (€1,350/m2), Amiens (€1,830/m2).

Meanwhile, for those who want a rural lifestyle while still being less than an hour from Paris, a separate study of towns in the grande couronne has shown St-Germain-en-Laye in Yvelines to be the best place to buy a property. Located 20km from the city and accessible by the RER A, it offers plenty of green spaces and has an average property price of €6,080/m2, considerably lower than in Paris where the average has exceeded €10,000/m2.
For properties for sale across France visit francepropertyshop.com

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