Gironde department is located in southwestern France, in the Aquitaine region. The west of this department fronts onto the Atlantic ocean. Gironde is the largest department of metropolitan France, covering 10,000 sq.km of land.
This department inherited its name from the Gironde estuary, made by the confluence of the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. The department shares borders with the Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne and Charente-Maritime departments. The department is basically divided into four distinct areas: the Atlantic coast with some renowned and sought-after beach resorts, the foret landaise (half of the territory), the Bordelais (the wine-producing area) and the bazadais around the town of Bazas (where most of historical monuments are to be found).
The Gironde department is very diversified, as much as the landscapes is concerned (as exposed above), as the culture is concerned. As a matter of fact, almost the entire area is part of Occitania (even the southern part is part of Gascony), however, three small territories are part of the Oil language, and more specifically of the Saintongeais language. These three territories are located in the northern part of the department.
Gironde’s economic activities are based on the forest exploitation, the wine industries (Vins de Bordeaux) and on tourism. Indeed, the department has developed its beach resorts and has also taken advantage of the Landes forest (the largest forest in Europe).
One of the Gironde features is that, in some cities, more than 73% of the available accommodation is made of second homes. This percentage proves that it is really pleasant to live in this department, especially to spend holidays.
The housing prices in Gironde have increased a lot over the last years. Indeed, cultural events are increasing: scènes d’été (100 events from June to September: dance, theatre, music, cinema, literature, etc), Printemps des Poètes (poets’ spring) and international music shows have attracted many tourists.
The improvement of the travel network also contributed to make the department more famous. Nowadays, Gironde is a very sought-after destination and property prices are pretty high.
As far as housing prices are concerned, Gironde is the second most expensive department of Aquitaine after Pyrénées-Atlantique. The average amount to buy an ancient traditional house there is about €220,000. You will pay €2,400/square metre for an ancient apartment and €3,100/square metre for a new one.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Dordogne, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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Historical heritage: the historical heritage of this region is very rich, with medieval wars and the Enlightenment, famous writers and very old wine-growing techniques. It can be divided into two main categories: the religious heritage, with some cathedrals (Bazas, listed as a UNESCO world heritage); and castles, among others do not miss the seven Clementin castles, built by the Gascon pope Clement V. The most famous ones being the Roquetaillade, Fargues, Villandraut and Budos.
Girondine cuisine: do taste the delicate Pauillac lamb, Bordeaux cèpe mushrooms and the Bazas beef! You should serve these dishes with a glass of the worldwide renowned Bordeaux wine. Gironde inhabitants cultivate a taste for the good things in French life. Good food, good wine, a rustic table, a crunchy loaf of bread, a ray of sun: that is the perfect Girondine lifestyle!
Vins girondins: the Vins de Bordeaux are probably the most renowned French wines worldwide. Their reputation is due to the soils of the territory, which are perfect for wines, but also to the prestigious castles and domains where wines are produced. Actually, in Bordeaux a castle just means a property where the wine is produced. However, the property is usually luxurious and prestigious. Red wines are made with the following cepages: Cabernet-franc, cabernet-sauvignon, merlot and the local cepages of petit verdot, malbec, carménere and Cot. White wines are made with Sauvignon, sémillon, muscadelle and the local cepages of ugni blanc, colombard and merlot blanc.
Scenery: you will enjoy the different types of landscapes of the Gironde department. Just make your choice: either the Atlantic coastline with its sea resorts, or the Landes forest, which covers half of the department surface! Arcachon with its Dunes du Pilat offers visitors a beautiful combination of both. If you go up the dunes you will have a breathtaking view over the ocean on one side and the forest on the other side and as far ad the eyes can see.
Transport infrastructures: Gironde is very well-linked to the main French cities and European capitals, whichever means of transport you choose. By plane, the Bordeaux Merignac airport is the largest international one of the whole south west of France. If you want to go by train, the railway infrastructure is also very well developed in Bordeaux, making the city the third railway stations on province, after Lyon and Marseille. By train you are only 3 hours from Paris, 5h40 from Lyon, 6h50 from London. Road networks are also well developed.
Arcachon property: this city is well worth a visit for its wonderful bay, where thousands of surfers meet every summer at surfing contests. The largest European sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, is another Arcachon’s attraction.
Bordeaux property: capital city of Gironde department, Bordeaux provides a wide choice of museums, exhibitions, festivals and shows. The préfecture of Gironde, once granted the “city of culture” title, is also worldwide renowned for its excellent wine. Visit one of the numerous chateaux and wine properties or take wine-tasting classes, you will definitely enjoy it!
Libourne property: the wine-making capital of northern Gironde, which lies near Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, is also the sub-prefecture of the Gironde department. The Gothic church of this city, restored in the 19th century, has a stone spire 71 metre (232 feet) high.
Medoc property: situated north of the Gascony, the Medoc is an area part of the Gironde department, which includes some villages and small towns. The principal ones are Eysines, Lesparre and Castelnau. Especially renowned for its world famous red wine, it is also an enchanting area which attracts lots of tourists during the sunny days of the year.
Pessac property: site of a former Gallo-Roman villa of the patrician Pesus but also of a housing project designed by Le Corbusier. The 17th-century château of Haut-Brion, with its famous vineyard, is also located in Pessac.
Talence property: member of the metropolitan Urban Community of Bordeaux and its 3rd largest suburb (828 ha – 40,700 inhab.). Bordeaux University I is located in this commune. The University was built in the 1960s and is nowadays an educational centre of quality, as well as a major research area.
The different periods of Gironde history are engraved in its architecture. This department is a great place for lovers of magnificently preserved 18th century architecture.
Maisons de Maître: these tremendous houses date from the 18th century, representing wealth and power in France at that time. Composed of a plenty of rooms, the front is characterized by a massive door, many huge windows and balconies. The Maisons de Maître stone houses are often surrounded with a range of outbuildings, a swimming-pool and a big garden.
Wine property: Girondine houses situated in vineyards are also numerous and very sought-after. These wine properties have been recently restored and renovated to very high standards. Their architectural style is really similar to the Maison de Maître one.
Bastides: This type of house is close to the classic farmhouse, but it is larger and more elegant. Its architectural features are the following ones: rectangular or square shape, tiled roof (flatter than in other parts of the region), stone walls sometimes whitewashed. Famous bastides are located in Creon, Cadillac and Libourne. These villages are now places of great markets where we can buy vegetables and local specialities.
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|Take a closer look at the Gironde property market:|
|Arcachon Property Information||Bordeaux Property Information|
|Libourne Property Information||Medoc Property Information|
|Pessac Property Information||Talence Property Information|