Haute-Loire is one of the 4 departments of the Auvergne region, the other ones being Allier, Cantal and Puy de Dome. Puy-en-Velay is the adminstative centre of the department, the sub centres being Brioude and Yssingeaux.
Like the other departments in France, Haute Loire was artificially created after the Revolution, and gathers the historical areas of Velay, more a part of the Auvergne area and a part of Gévaudan and Forez areas. According to its name, the department in situated upstream from the Loire River, which runs through it from south to north. The department is also crossed by the Allier River.
As far as the economy is concerned, the department is a very rural area; as a consequence main economic activities are based on agriculture. You can actually see that through landscapes in the whole department. 50% of the territory is used for dairy bovine, while one third of the territory is covered by forests. As a result, the wood industry is also very present in the department. Finally, grains are also grown, such as the famous green lentils you will appreciate in every restaurant.
Haute Loire will charm you with its beautiful green landscapes, its vernacular villages and its strong Occitan history and culture.
|Property prices in the Haute Loire department in April 2009|
|Property types||Price €/ sq m||Average price €||Average size|
|Haute Loire Total||€1,557/sq m|
Since the national average for house prices is around €3,200 /sq m in France in 2009, the Haute Loire department with €1,560 /sq m can be said to be affordable, not to say rather cheap! Moreover, prices in April 2009 decreased by 0.20%, which means that the area has not recovered yet from the real estate crisis, which means that it is the perfect moment to invest, before prices go up again.
Haute Loire is the perfect destination if you are looking for a peaceful area, far from pollution and crowd of cities. It is also well located, few hours from ski resorts (in the Alps), and few hours from beach resorts (Mediterranean sea). If you want to invest in a buy-to-let, do rather prefer to buy a gîte. Indeed, as there are many pilgrims crossing the department, you will not have difficulties renting it.
To get updated info about property prices in Haute Loire, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Auvergne Property Prices.
Culture, art and historical heritage: Haute Loire displays a fascinating historical and architectural, not to mention cultural (with the Occitan culture) heritage. Saint Julien de Brioude basilica and Chaise-Dieu Abbey are key monuments. Not to mention that Notre Dame cathedral, the Cloister and the Puy-en-Velay old quarter are all part of the UNESCO world heritage. There are hundreds of churches and chapels, vestiges of the Compostelle walkway, as well as castles and beautiful properties. You will also discover the local art craft and the vernacular architecture.
Culture and festivals: Haute Loire boasts a very rich culture, that originates from its Occitan background. It is important to remember that the Occitan culture and language used to be very influential during Middle Ages. Occitan was actually spoken in many courts in Europe. Nowadays you can enjoy many festivals in the department (18) from July to September. Between them, do not miss: the Celt festival in Gévaudan, the Roi de l’Oiseau festival in Puy-en-Velay, which is based on a traditional event from Renaissance, etc.
Tourism – sights: Haute Loire is a very rich area as regards architecture and culture. As a result, it has a large architectural, historical and cultural heritage. There are many monuments in the department that are listed as the UNESCO world heritage and that are really worth visiting. As instance, do not miss the Saint-Vidal castle, which is a beautiful listed fortress. The castle was first a fortified house, and along the centuries, its owners, the Vidal family, governor of Velay and Gévaudan, enlarged the house, built keeps and made it a real castle. If you like castles, you may also want to visit the Polignac fortress. It was built between 1385 and 1421, and was home of one of the most important families in Velay, and one of the most renowned families in France history (the Polignac family). The castle was built up a 700m high cliff, which makes it an almost unassailable place.
Architectural style: Haute Loire has launched a policy of conservation of its rural non protected heritage. Many monuments are part of the UNESCO world heritage in Haute Loire and as a result they are protected; however, the department displays a large vernacular rural architecture they are willing to preserve and protect. The most typical feature in Haute Loire is roofs. There are two main kind of roof, both very typical from the department. The first one is a shale flagstone roof gently sloping, and the other one is made with concave tiles and is very flat. Villages in Haute Loire countryside are very typical, and they need to be protected and renovated.
Location: Haute Loire has a good geographical location, located almost half-way between mountains and sea. It is: - 1h40 and 132km from Lyon. - 2h20 and 220km from Chambéry. - 3h30 and 284km from Montpellier. - 5h20 and 544km from Paris
Farmhouses: as the department is very rural, farmhouses are the most common dwellings.There are mainly two kind of houses, as already mentioned above. The first one is to be found between Yssingeaux and Velay monts, and it is a standard farmhouse with a shale flagstone roof gently sloping and with a high barn. As it was often the case, outbuildings, such as stable or cowshed are stuck to the habitable part, and are only separated with a large wall. On the ground floor you will usually find the kitchen, with the cellar and the living room; while bedrooms are upstairs, separated by a thin wall from the barn. The other kind of farmhouses is to be found at the heart of the Velay area. Houses are recognizable thanks to their very flat roofing covered by concave tiles. These farmhouses are usually pretty large, as well in height as in width.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Auvergne.
|Take a closer look at the Haute Loire market:|
|Brioude Property Information||Langeac Property Information|
|Le Puy en Velay Property Information||Yssingeaux Property Information|