Manche is a department of the Basse Normandie region of France (Lower Normandy). It is bordered with Calvados, Orne, Mayenne and Ille-et-Vilaine. The area is surrounded with the English Channel in the west, north and north west. The department accounts for 492,563 inhabitants (in 2006), amongst which 46,973 in Cherbourg (sous-préfecture) and 23,212 in Saint Lo (prefecture). The department has one main airport, Caen but many others are easily accessible in the surroundings such as Rennes. From there, you can reach the UK and many other French and European destinations. Furthermore, the railway network is well-developed and will let you travel to the capital amongst others.
Manche is a lively department where everyone should get something out of it. Whether you are interested in history, gastronomy, nature or sports, the area will seduce you. Manche’s history is displayed all over the department through its museums and heritage. You can discover the local traditions and culture as well as visit its castles, mills, maritime sites, religious monuments, gardens and so on. A must-visit is the Mont Saint Michel which will be described below.
The department also boasts many wonderful nature sites for the up-most delight of nature lovers. The environment can be discovered by different ways. Water sports, hiking, riding a horse and fishing are just some of them. But in Manche, you can also practise parachuting, ballooning or going microlighting. As far as economy is concerned, Manche is the first agricultural department of France (stockbreeding, fruit and vegetables cultivation). However, tourism plays a major role in the economy of the department.
As well as Lower Normandy as a whole, the Manche department has not been spared by the real estate crisis. The region is however implementing several measures to improve the situation. Buyers are now less numerous, which is good news if you plan to move in the department, for you will indeed have a broaden choice of properties but also for the temporary very affordable prices.
The average buying price in Manche is indeed only €2,031 /sq m, which is really attractive especially if compared to the national average (€3,197 /sq m). It may therefore be the right time to invest. 3/4 of the dwellings are individual houses against 18% of apartments and very few studio flats. The average area is 115sq m.
Real estate prices vary with the type of property. On average, you can count €1,720 /sq m for an ancient apartment, €2,910 for a new one and €272,925 for a house. Plots of land for their part have remained surprisingly expensive.
To get updated info about property prices in Mamche, 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.
Historical heritage: as you may know, the Normandy region of France was unfortunately the testimony of a tragedy during WWII. In the Manche department, this historical past is displayed throughout many museums, especially in the Espace Historique de la Bataille de Normandie. Another area which played an important role in WWII is the Calvados department, area of the Allies landings.
Gourmet food: Manche is an excellent location for food lovers. Whether it deals with drinks or food, the department has many delights on offer. As regards alcoholic drinks, cider, wines and liquors are typical produce of Normandy. Do taste the traditional foie gras, cheese, seafood and beekeeping produce.
Tourism – sights: the Mont Saint Michel is one of the most famous sites of France. It welcomes each year about 3.5 million visitors. The so-called ‘wonder of the West’ stands up at the heart of a huge bay which is invaded by the largest tides of Europe. The Mont Saint Michel has been part of the World Heritage by UNESCO since 1979. If you plan to visit it, a piece of advice is to hire a guide, since it may be dangerous to venture there, some people being blocked by the tides coming in.
Tranquillity and scenery: the Manche department offers gorgeous natural sites. Obviously, the Mont Saint Michel is the most important touristy attraction bye many others are also worth seeing. Dunes, marshlands, hedged farmlands, bays and rocky cliffs are part of the local landscapes. No one can help being charmed by all these gems and everybody should love the area. If you want more tranquillity, numerous isles can be visited and will offer you an infinite quietness.
Rental opportunities: the Manche department being a very popular tourist location, it offers excellent rental opportunities either for seasonal short term lets or long term lets. Indeed, many visitors come in the department (3.5 million people come to visit the Mont Saint Michel ecah year), which implies that the rental market is excellent.
Apart from apartments and detached houses which have no particular architecture style, the Manche department has two main kind of properties on offer:
Stone houses: in the department, you can find charming stone houses. They may be of different kind i.e. detached houses, town houses… Sometimes, the openings of the property are decorated with red bricks and the roof houses shed dormers. They are typical Norman properties full of charm. Ideal for either a main home or a holiday house.
Maisons de Maître: many prestigious properties are available on the local real estate market. Castles, maisons de Maître, bourgeoise houses and manors are on offer. They come with a large piece of land, outbuildings, garage… and offer an amazing view over the surroundings. They are very ancient properties and often dedicated to well-off people.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Basse Normandie.
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