Located on the French Atlantic coast, Mimizan is a sought –after town during summer. The ‘Silver Coast pearl’, as it is often called, gathers 6,707 permanent inhabitants (called the Mimizannais), even though the population is duplicated by more than ten in summer. Mimizan, as many other villages along the Atlantic coast, is divided into two parts: the traditional village, where all the shops and the historical are to be found, and the beach resort, called ‘Mimizan-Plage’. The later was created not long ago, to meet the increasing demand from tourists. Between the two part the pine forest is to found, even though the gap is becoming smaller and smaller with the extension of both parts.
Mimizan and the surrounding villages gather over than 10km of sand beach, while 85% of the area is covered by the pine forest. Mimizan is also renowned for its lake, called the Aureilhan-Mimizan lake, which stretches over 320hectares.
Mimizan’s economy is mainly based on tourism. The beach resort started to develop during the Belle Epoque, in the early 20th century, when it became fashionable among wealthy people to go to the coast. The development of the town was also possible thanks to the arrival of the railway (which has today disappeared). With the increasing number of visitors many hotels were built and the town started to increase.
If Mimizan accounts for 6,460 houses and flats, only half of these are main homes. Mimizan and the Landes are ideal holiday destinations; this explains why so many houses are used as second homes in the area. With €2.545/sq m in July 2009, Mimizan is surprisingly if compared to the department average (€2,726/sq m) and to the national average (€3,200/ sq m). Moreover, with the real estate crisis that hit the whole world this last year, house prices in Mimizan are still decreasing (- 1.7% for July 2009). This can be explained as investors are not willing yet to invest in the town; they prefer to wait and may be to rent a house in the meantime.
It is probably the best time ever to invest in the area, as property prices have never been that low. Prices are going to increase again, fairly soon, and if you have bought a property these last months you will be able to make a huge profit within few years. You can also invest in a buy-to-let as demand is always increasing, especially with the crisis, as people do not have the funds to buy, but they still go on holidays and as a consequence they are forced to rent.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Dordogne, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Aquitaine Property Prices.
Charming environment: located between the ocean and a lake called the Aureilhan-mimizan lake, Mimizan offers a lovely and quiet environment to its visitors. The area of the village is also covered by 85% by the pine forest, the largest forest in Western Europe. Thanks to its natural environment, Mimizan is ideal for families in search of quietness. Recently, Mimizan received an award for the quality of its welcome to families.
Sport activities all year round: Mimizan has the following sport and leisure clubs: two horse riding clubs, canoeing club, windsurfing club, surf club, fishing association, two swimming pools, bicycle rentals, quad bike tours, one golf course and a paintball club. The ocean and the lake give the opportunity to practice all kind of water sports. Moreover, as the area is rather flat, it is ideal to go biking. Thanks to the cycle lines in the pine forest, you will be able to go from a village to another, from a beach to another without being bothered by cars.
Heritage and culture: the Landes department has a fairly strong culture, which has not been lost in Mimizan. Basically the culture is based on three main aspects: the wood culture and industry, with the largest forest of Western Europe; the local gastronomy based on ducks, cheeses and charcuterie; and the ferias which are traditional festivities that take place once a year.
Street markets: they are very typical and very appreciated by visitors who have the opportunity to find all kind of local produces, from charcuterie to wines, including cheeses, fruits and vegetables and local art craft. They are the opportunity to meet with locals; however if it is what you want you should go there early in the morning, as locals prefer to escape the crowd that takes place from 10:00 to 12:00. In Mimizan beach there are three kinds of markets: the covered market, which takes place every day from 8:00am to 1:00pm, the street market, every Thursdays and the night market on Thusdays and Saturdays. In Mimizan village there is one street market that takes place every Fridays.
As in every town of character, there are particular architectural styles to respect if you build a house in Mimizan. Here are the most renowned:
Landaise houses: the original Oustaù is a half-timbered property boasting a wood pigeon-shaped roof. These houses are generally located in or around woods. A carpenter would basically build the whole house, using local wood and trees. The walls are traditionally made up of a clay mixture with straw and filled with cob (sometimes replaced by bricks).
Arcachonnaise houses: if the Victorian architectural style of Arcachon villas is nowadays considered to be charming, this architecture style has yet been criticised for decades. These houses generally feature stained glass, ornate balconies and intricate brickwork.
Basque-style houses: the traditional Basque property is the Etxe. With its white and red shades, its door exposed to the east, the date of construction and the name of the owner that traditionally displays above the entrance, the Maison Basque is unique. This rectangular property style is often of large dimensions and represents the very strong Basque identity and culture. The main feature they all share is to provide warm accommodation for the occupying family - and their livestock (in years gone by).
Longères: the longere is a lengthwise house oriented with the back of the house facing the dominant wind direction. These properties are usually very simple, offering accommodation on only one storey and affordable, since the main materials are local stones.
Maisons de Maitre: this type of house is large and elegant. The shape of the house is square or rectangular with a tiled - almost flat - roof, the walls are made up of stone and sometimes covered with stucco or whitewashed. The layout is symmetrical with many windows. A large piece of land comes with the house, ideal for your summertime BBQs!
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