Cantal is a French department located in the south east of the Auvergne region. Its name comes from the mountains which can be found on its territory: the monts du Cantal. The department accounts for about 150,000 inhabitants. The préfecture is Aurillac . Cantal has borders with Puy-de-Dôme (north), Haute-Loire (east), Lozère, Aveyron and Lot (south) and Corrèze (west).
Like the other French departments, Cantal was created after the French revolution ie in 1790. It corresponds to the French province of Auvergne, formerly known under the name of ‘Haute Auvergne’ or ‘Montagnes d’Auvergne’. The territory is covered by the vestige of a volcano, the diameter of which is 60km,being thus the biggest in Europe.
When it comes to economy, agriculture and tourism are the main sources of income in the Cantal department. Auvergne is indeed a very rural area, which is a good condition to do livestock farming or cultivate cereals and vegetables. Cantal is renowned for its production of cheese: fromage de Cantal. As far as tourism is concerned, given the numerous fields and mountains, green tourism is particularly present in the department. Other economic sectors such as services and industry are also a part of the local economy but they are less significant.
The Cantal department is perfect for those looking for quiet holidays in a natural area. Plenty of activities can be practised in the department which offers outstanding landscapes. Castles, medieval towns and volcanoes are the essential part of Cantal’s heritage.
As regards property, Cantal offers affordable prices. The average price for a property to buy in the department is €1,486 /square metre in 2009. In 2008, a 2-room apartment cost about €1,350 /sq m, a 3-room one €1,310 /sq m and a 4-room one €1,200 /sq m, the average price for an apartment to buy in the department being €1,270 /square metre.
According to figures registered between March 2008 and February 2009, the average price for a house in Cantal is €121,800. Prices are the following ones: - 3-room house: €83,000 - 4-room house: €119,500 - 5-room house: €142,600 - 6-romm house: €169,000
Prices are higher in Aurillac than in other towns of the department, but they are still very affordable. For instance, a house in Aurillac cost about €132,700 in 2008, whereas a house in Mauriac or Saint-Flour cost respectively €84,600 and €86,000 (average).
The majority of dwellings are main houses (74%). Almost 18% of the properties in the department are second homes. This figure is a proof of the popularity of the region amongst holiday makers. Far away from the busy beaches of the south of France, the Auvergne region and Cantal are heaven for nature lovers.
To get updated info about property prices in Cantal, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Auvergne Property Prices.
Green tourism: as said before, the department is a good place for green tourism. Being located in the regional natural park of Auvergne’s volcanoes, it offers wonderful landscapes and is a quiet and peaceful area. The places not to be missed are the following ones: Puy Mary (1787m – considered as the greatest panorama in Europe!), Plomb du Cantal (1855m), Gorges de la Truyère (Viaduc de Garabit, Alleuze’s castle…), the villages of Salers and Boisset and so on.
Activities: all kind of activities can be practised within the department. In summer, hiking and mountain biking are definitely the most popular activities as they allow people discovering the area in a pleasant way. Bicycle touring is possible thanks to special roads for cycles (from Maurs to Roannes-Saint-Mary, going through Rance’s gorges and the village of Boisset). Climbing, canyoning and fishing and paragliding are also quite popular. In winter, ski is the main leisure activity in Cantal. Indeed, the relief of the department is good for Alpine skiing as well as snowboarding, ice-skating and cross-country-skiing.
Events: even if the department is not situated in a popular area of France such as the Côte d’Azur, which houses many festivals and has a thriving cultural life, Cantal is still home to some great festivals. We can quote for instance the ‘International Festival of Street Theatre’ and the ‘36 Heures(dance festival) in Aurillac, the ‘World-wide Music Festival’ in Murat, ‘Vachement Rock’ (rock festival) in Anglards-de-Salers and the Festa del païs (agricultural and rural fair) in Saint Flour.
Monuments: the department is home to outstanding monuments. Be it churches or castles, architecture lovers can’t help loving the area for its jewels in terms of historical monuments. The Romanesque churches of Cheylade, Dienne and Massiac, cathedral of Saint-Flour are definitely worth seeing, as well as the following castles: château de Val (Lanobre), château d’Anjony (Tournemire), château de Pesteils (Polminhac), château de La Vigne (Ally).
Places of interest: many villages and towns of Cantal are full of character. The department is home to two villages belonging to the ‘most beautiful villages of France‘ (kind of label): Salers and Tournemire. We also advice you to visit Marcolès, Mauriac, Maurs, Montsalvy and Pleaux when visiting the area.
Farmhouses: as the area is rural, many farmhouses can be found in Cantal. The properties in the department are constructed of Schist, Granite and the roof is made of Lauze or grey Lava.Farmhouses in Cantal often come with a tower attached to the property, called a pigeonnier. They are perfect properties for those looking for a second home to renovate in a quiet area.
Chateaux: the department boasts wonderful castles. These properties date from the 19th century in general and have a stunning setting. They have numerous rooms and are often constructed of stone. Outbuildings may be part of the piece of land of several hectares, as well as a swimming pool. Castles are great properties if you plan to open a B&B or a gite.
Barns: sometimes coming with farmhouses, many barns are for sale in the Cantal department. They are often in need of renovation but offer great dimensions and come on a large piece of land on which other buildings can be built later on. Barns have a great value once renovated. Their price is generally affordable. They are very sought-after, especially amongst people who like doing some works on properties.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Auvergne.
|Take a closer look at the Cantal property market:|
|Aurillac Property Information||Murat Property Information|
|Saint-Flour Property Information||Saint Georges Property Information|