Clermont-Ferrand is the préfecture of the Puy-de-Dôme department, in the Auvergne region. It accounts for about 141,000 inhabitants called Clermontois. The city is located at the heart of the Massif Central, at 410m of altitude. We can find the chaîne des Puys to the west – the biggest range of volcanoes in Europe – with the famous mountain Puy de Dôme which gave its name to the department. To the east of the city, there is the plain of Limagne which covers a great part of the Allier department.
The modern city was created under Louis XIII of France following the union of two towns: Clairmont and Montferrand. Clermont-Ferrand is a very active city which houses two universities and many superior schools and welcome thus more than 40,000 students each year. The city is home to outstanding monuments such as the Romanesque basilica Notre-Dame du Port which is listed in the World Heritage of UNESCO, a Gothic cathedral or the opera for instance. Clermont-Ferrand received the label ‘town of Art and History’.
When it comes to economy, the fabrication of pneumatics from Michelin has influenced a lot the local economy. Other kinds of activities are present in the city such as the food and pharmaceutical industries, metallurgy and information and communication technology. Being the administrative centre of the department, the city is home to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Clermont-Ferrand/Issoire.
As regards property prices, Clermont-Ferrand offers properties at affordable prices. The average price for a property to buy in 2009 is €1,950/square metre. Figures calculated from March 2008 to February 2009 indicate that an apartment cost between €1,290/sq m and €2,020/sq m. As far as new apartments are concerned, prices were comprised between €2,310/sq m and €3,500/sq m. A 3-room house cost between €110,000 and €150,000 at the same period and a 6-room one cost between €160,000 and €234,000. In May 2009, the average price for an apartment to buy was €2,097/sq m.
There are good opportunities for the rental market. Indeed, it cost €11.33/sq m/month to rent a property in Clermont, which is under the national average (€12.22/sq m/month). As 77.6% of the dwellings are apartments and 64.7% of the inhabitants rent their property, it may be worth investing in an apartment and let it.
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Monuments and historical heritage: as said before, Clermont-Ferrand is a town of Art and History and offers therefore plenty of great monuments and places of interest. The Roman basilica Notre-Dame du port, the imposing Gothic cathedral built in Volvic stone, the fountains of Amboise, Desaix and Ubain II (there are more than 150 fountains in the city – both private and public ones), historical quarter and opera are just a few monuments and places not to be missed.
Culture: cultural life in Clermont is very important. There are no less than 7 places where shows and concerts can take place (Zénith d’Auvergne, opera, maison des congrès et de la culture, etc.)Many festivals and events are organised all year round with amongst others the ‘international festival of short-film’, ‘vidéoformes’ (video and media), ‘international jazz festival’, ‘Europavox’ (European music festival), etc. The city houses interesting museums such as the Bargoin Archaeology Museum, Roger Quilliot Art Museum, Ranquet Museum and ‘Carpet and Textile Arts Museum’.
Hinterland: outstanding sceneries can be seen in the surroundings of the city. To the west of Clermont-Ferrand, the monts Dômes, also called chaîne des Puys are wonderful mountains spreading over 30km belonging to the park of Auvergne’s volcanoes which is definitely worth visiting. The plateau of Gergovie and Limagne are not to be missed either, as they offer great panorama over the area.
Parks and gardens: even if the Clermont Ferrand is urbanised, there are still many parks and gardens which make people forgetting that they are in a big city. The following ones are great for relaxing times: jardin Lecoq (contains a fortified gate from the 16th c.), parc de Montjuzet (26ha). parc du Creux de l’Enfer (4ha, located in the south-east of the city), parc de la Gauthière, parc de la Fraternité and botanical garden.
Location – transport infrastructure: as said above, Clermont-Ferrand is well-linked to the other major French cities by road, but it is also easily reachable from these cities by train. There are 8 daily trains to Paris (about 3h10) as well as trains to Lyon, Dijon, Marseille, Tours and so on. The Clermont-Ferrand airport in Aulnat offers 18 national and international destinations. Moreover, there are good transport links within the city with a tramway and many buses.
Return on investment: about 40,000 students live and study in Clermont every year. The city is thus a very good place for investments as there is a sustained demand for properties. In addition to the students, the city is also very attractive amongst tourists and also business people as it is a thriving economic centre. So investing in a buy-to-let should provide good future return on investment.
Apartments: as said in the part about immobilier & property market trends, more than 77% of the properties in Clermont are apartments. They can be part of buildings or housing estate or belong to former mansions or luxury houses which were converted into several apartments or studio flats. This kind of property is always located in the city centre ie close to all amenities. Apartments may come with a balcony and a garage.
Town houses: be it very big or rather small, town houses are a perfect investment for families. Situated close to all amenities, they have several rooms and come with a piece of land. Some town houses are considered as villas given their large size and the fact that they may come with outbuildings and a swimming-pool.
Castles: it is also possible to find luxury properties such as manors or castles in Clermont-Ferrand’s surroundings. These properties represented the wealth and power of French Bourgeois in the past. They have impressive dimensions and come with a piece of land of several hectares generally where we can find outbuildings and a wood or a swimming-pool for instance. Castles are very sought-after properties which represent a great potential for B&B or gites for instance.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Auvergne.
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