Basse-Normandie Property Insight

Lower Normandy is one of the 22 regions of France. It is located north west of France and has borders with the English Channel in the north and west, with Upper Normandy in the north-east, with Centre region in the south-east and with Pays de la Loire in south west. The region is composed of three departments: Calvados, Orne and Manche. The administrative centre is Caen, the sub centres being Saint-Lô and Alençon.

Lower Normandy gathers the western part of the former Normandy province and the northern part of the former Perche County. There are 5 different sub areas in Lower Normandy: the Norman Bocage at the west, the Normandy plain in the centre, the Auge County in the north east, the Ouche County in the south west and the Perche ornais in the south east. All these different areas make Lower Normandy a region culturally and historically rich.


History played a significant role in Normandy’s identity. It was first conquered by Vikings, during the 10th century and in 911 they created the Normandy duchy. In 1066 William the conqueror, a Norman Count, became King of England. In the meantime, Mont monks were building a wonder on a rock protected by Saint Michel. During centuries Normandy was home of many abbeys and was a kind of meditation area. Then the region suffered a lot during the 100 years war and later during the WWII. Indeed it was the stage of the Allies landing and as a result many towns were destroyed.

Lower Normandy economy is mainly based on agriculture; as a consequence the region is the first one in France as far as butter, fresh cheeses, cider apples, and leeks growing are concerned. The region is the fourth one as regards the car industry and is the first one for the number of horses. Lower Normandy is also renowned for its local gastronomy; you will find cheese and cream in almost all dishes, and fishes are also very present. Finally, you cannot go in Normandy and not try the Calvados or the cider!

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Basse Normandie Immobilier & Property Market Trends

Property prices in Lower Normandy and its 3 departments in 2009
Location Apartments € / sq m New built apartments € / sq m Houses €
Calvados 2,570 3,460 188,600
Manche 1,650 3,960 144,200
Orne 1,250 2,760 120,600
Lower Normandy 2,290 3,290 154,600

Since the national average for house prices is around €3,200 /sq m in 2009, house prices in Lower Normandy with €2,570 /sq m in April 2009, can be said to be affordable. You can find many different types of properties in Normandy, such as farmhouses, castles, villas, apartments, manors, etc. Prices and size vary according to the type of dwellings. For example an apartment will cost you €177,342 for a 55sq m property, while a farmhouse worth €238,916 for a 136sq m house. There is a large range of choice, hence everybody can find the property of their dreams!

Lower Normandy is a great investment for British people; thanks to its closeness to the British Islands it is a cheap and easy destination to reach. Hence you can either buy it as a second home, either invest in a buy-to-let as you will not have difficulties renting it.

To get updated info about property prices in Lower Normandy, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.

Click here to have an overview of Basse Normandie Property Prices.

5 Reasons to Buy a Property in Basse Normandie

Normandy is worldwide renowned for its beaches which were the stage of the Allies landing in 1944, but also for its cider and calvados. Its gastronomy and architecture reflect well the identity and character of the region.

  • Good food: owing to its geographical location, Normandy boasts a large range of produce, from fishes to dairy products, including cider and Calvados. The use of cheese and cream in Normandy is almost legendary. The region can also boast to offer a complete traditional meal, from entrée to deserts. Making a list of all the traditional dishes would be too long; however here is a list of the incontrovertible: as regards fishes, try the sole from Dieppe, and Norman oysters; taste also the Auge chicken and the Rouen style duck; cheeses and cream are renowned all over France, such as the heart Neufchatel and the Marie Harel camembert; for desserts, give it a go to the Bourdelots (it is an entire apple wrapped up in a pastry, they also put sugar, butter, cider and of course calvados), and to the Teurgoule (a kind of rice pudding). And to accompany your meal you will test the renowned cider and you end it with the Calvados brandy and the Benedictine liquor.

  • Tourism – sights: Lower Normandy gathers 4 sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage, but also many Art and History towns and villages and two bath thermal resorts. The worldwide renowned Mont Saint Michel is located in Lower Normandy. Its originality lies on the different stages of its construction, which made it such a unique and beautiful architectural monument. The natural environment surrounding the Mont is also unique and has also been listed as a UNESCO Cultural and Natural site. Bayeux is another incontrovertible place to visit. It is worldwide renowned for its 1000 year old tapestry. However, it is also a lovely medieval town which will charm you with its narrow streets and its traditional Norman houses.

  • Tranquillity and scenery: thanks to its location, more than half of its borders are along the English Channel. Hence, Normandy is also a great place to go to the beach, and to enjoy the beautiful landscapes composed of white cliffs, beach and sea. Walking along the beach is very relaxing, above all as it is far less crowded than beaches in south of France.

  • Architectural style: Normandy is mostly renowned for its sacred architecture. With the creation of the Norman architectural school, Roman monuments started to be the dominating style, such as Rouen and Evreux Cathedrals, or even the Saint Michel Mont wonder, where the Gothic style, inspired by roman architecture traditions, reached perfection! Roman monuments gather the Durham cathedral, where Roman style was officially recognized, Bayeux cathedral, Lessay Abbey, etc. Gothic art is the archetypal cathedral style and it can be seen through Lisieux cathedral and also through some civilian monuments, such as Rouen Court (14th century). The Renaissance style was expressed through private buildings, such as Bourgtheroulde castle, Escobill castle in Caen, O castle, etc. The last but not the least, the classical art, launched in France and dominated by its rationalism and the use of bricks. Balleroy castle is a good illustration of it.

  • Location – transport links: Normandy main asset is its closeness to England, which makes the journey so easy and cheap. There are two passenger harbours, one in Caen-Ouistreham and another one in Cherbourg. The first docks in Portsmouth, while the second one in Rosslare Europort, In Ireland and if Poole and Portsmouth. Lower Normandy is also well linked to Paris and the rest of the country thanks to developed motorway and train networks.

Property Styles and Architecture in Basse Normandie

  • Lower Normandy half timbered houses: this type of house is the most common in towns and villages. It is really similar to south of England houses. Timber facades decore beautifully narrow streets of towns and villages, while inside the house you can also find wood structure, in order to protect as well as to decore. This type of house is usually 2 storey high: on a the ground floor there are the kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, a bathroom with separated wc. On the first floor you will mainly find the bedrooms, with another bathroom. They come with a garden or a courtyard and have usually a private parking.

  • Lower Normandy thatched chaumières: this is a typical rural house, which can also be found in Bretagne, Britain and Germany. The name comes from the house’s thatched roof. They were built by poor farmers, with local and cheap materials available, such as water mixed with clay, stones, wood and cereals. The structure of the house is similar to the longères, that is to say, rooms are laid out in a row. There is usually no floors.

  • Lower Normandy longère property: this is the most typical French and Norman property styles, and it is mainly found in the countryside. According to its name, they are very long and very narrow (2 or 3metre wide) houses and they have a rectangular shape. They were built with local materials, hence in Normandy, with granite.

  • Lower Normandy farmhouses: they are composed of many buildings: the main residence, and some outbuildings, such as stables, barns and cowsheds. Nowadays all buildings have been transformed into habitable dwellings; moreover, many times, outbuildings have been transformed into gîtes. The main house is made of stones, and is 2 storey high. On the ground floor you will find all the common rooms, such as kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc., and on the first floor you will find bedrooms with another bathroom.

  • Clos Augeron: it is a typical farmhouse composed of many agricultural buildings, such as an apple warehouse, a chees shop, a bakery, etc., everything required in order to live in autarcy. The house is long and narrow and usually composed of 4 rooms. It is a single storey house. The timber frame is made of tight beams. The slab for the house is made of cob and tiles, while in agricultural buildings only in cob.

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For a deeper insight:
Calvados Property Insight
Manche Property Insight
Orne Property Insight