Orne Property Insight

Orne is one of the three departments of the Lower Normandy region, the other ones being Manche and Calvados . It is located in the south of the region, hence has borders with the two other departments, and also with Mayenne, Sarthe, Eure et Loir et Eure. It is the only Norman department not to have a seafront.

The Orne department, as most of departments in France, was artificially created after the Revolution. As a consequence, it gathers 5 different countries: Pays du Bocage in the west, Pays d’Argentan in the north, Pays d’Ouche in the east, Pays du Perche in the south east, and Pays d’Alençon in the south. All these countries are slightly different, even though they all belong to the Norman culture and region.


Orne history was built through wars, destructions and prosperity periods. It was first invaded by the Celts, until Romans came and conquered all the Gaul territory. In the 10th century the Normans invaded the territory and settled the Duchy of Normandy, until the 13th century, when the Duchy became French. During the 100 years war, the area changed various times nationality from English to French, and became finally definitely French. As the entire Normandy, the area suffered from WWII, however quickly it picked itself up the ground and rebuilt all the towns and villages thanks to a rapid demography and the Thirty Glorious years.

Nowadays you can still see vestiges from all the periods mentioned above, as well as modern architecture and town planning that followed WWII.

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Orne Immobilier & Property Market Trends

Property prices in the Orne department in 2009

Property types Price €/ sq m Average price € Average size
Apartment 1,469 122,974 90sq m
House 1,530 186,530 124sq m
Villa 1,698 205,052 122sq m
Orne Total €1,540/sq m

Since the national average for house prices is €3,197 /sq m in 2009, the Orne department is a very affordable department with only €1,540 /sq m. Its house prices are also low if compared to Lower Normandy average, which is €2,570/sq m. Prices in Orne are low as it is a rural department and it does not have a seafront. Hence it seems less attractive to investors. However, it might be a good idea to take advantage of this situation. Indeed, by buying a property in Orne you can enjoy all the assets the Lower Normandy boasts, without paying too much.

Moreover, prices in April 2009 were still decreasing. Indeed, in the context of the real estate crisis, prices in the whole France have decreased dramatically. However, some regions have now recovered from the crisis, and prices are starting to go up again. It is not the case yet for Orne, hence, it is now the best moment to invest in this department.

To get updated info about property prices in Orne, 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 Orne

  • Culture, art and historical heritage: as mentioned, the Orne department was conquered, destroyed and rebuilt many times along its history. Nowadays we can see many vestiges from all these periods. Of course the main attraction are the castles, there are less than ten beautiful castles to visit in the department: Bourg-Saint-Leopard classical castle, built at the end of the 18th century; Carrouges medieval castle from the 14th century; Couterne castle from the 16th century; Sassy castle, built with stones and bricks during the 18th century; Ferté-Fresnel castle built in 1860 and comes with beautiful French gardens; the 12th century Roman Donjon in Domfront, Chateau d’O, original as built on pilotis in an island in the middle of a lak etc. The religious architecture is also very present in Orne, as in the entire region. Do not miss the Notre Dame de Montligeon Basilica, Sées cathedral, etc.

  • Good food: Normandy is mostly renowned for its dairy and apples produces. The worldwide renowned Camembert was actually first produced in Normandy, and especially in Orne. You can indeed visit the Manor then transformed into a farmhouse, where Marie Harel invented the recipe of the Camembert. The pork is the main meet and you will find some typical dishes such as tripes en brochette de la Ferté-Macé, Andouillette d’Alençon, etc. The main sweet is the Sablé de l’abbaye which are a kind of shortbread biscuit.

  • Tourism – sights: Orne boasts many assets as far as tourism is concerned. There three kinds of tourism are to be experienced: green tourism, cultural tourism and thermal tourism. As regards the first one, Orne displays a large area of green spaces, such as parks, mountains and plains. It gathers 2 regional parks: the Normandy-Maine and the Perche ones. The Norman Switzerland in the north and the Mancelles Alps in the south offer beautiful landscapes and mountains where you can go hiking. Cultural tourism is dominated by castles and religious monuments, but also by visiting stud farms. Indeed, Orne is known as the horse country, and as a result you will find many stud farms and beautiful horses. Finally, the department developed a thermal bath resort located in Bagnoles-de-l’orne. It attracts Parisians, but also holiday makers who stay in the rest of the region.

  • Location: located in the Lower Normandy region, Orne is close by any ferry harbours, such as Caen or Cherbourg. It is also the closest part of the region to Paris, and it has direct borders with many other regions, such as Pays de la Loire, Centre and Upper Normandy. Hence, it is a central point from where you can have access to many other areas.

  • Cider and Calvados: Normandy as a whole is renowned for its apple and pear alcoholic drinks. Cider is worldwide known, as it is not only produced in Normandy, however, the Poiré is typical from Normandy. It is made like the cider but with pears. Likewise, Calvados is made with cider, but also it can be made with Poiré, and even the Calvados Domfrontais, the AOC for the Orne department, is made of a mix of cider and poiré.

Local Property Market: 4 Popular Towns

  • Alençon property: located in the south end of the department, Alençon is the administrative centre of Orne. With €1,500 /sq m the town as the entire department is affordable for anyone.
  • Argentan Property: located at the entrance door of the Normandie-Maine regional natural park, Argentan stands out for its tranquility and its greenery environment. With only €1,540 /sq m, Argentan is a very affordable town.
  • Domfront property: situated in the western part of the department, Domfront offers great promenades along the Varenne River, and is surrounded with a beautiful countryside. House prices are rather low, as you can buy a property with only €1,542 /sq m.
  • Flers property: located in the north of the department, Flers is a quiet town which will charm you with its beautiful monuments. House prices are very affordable as they are the lowest in the department (€1,340 /sq m).
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Property Styles and Architecture in Orne

  • Stone houses: many properties in Orne are made up with stones. They can be either farmhouses, or townhouses, or even manors and of course castles. As in Caen area there are large stone quarries, known as Caen stones, many properties were made with this white stone. As there are usually old properties, most of them may need renovation, and that means you would get them at a low price. However, you are also likely to find some renovated ones, and you will delighted by all the luxury and comfort they bring. In this case they usually also come with a swimming pool, a big piece of land and their main asset is their location in the middle o the countryside in quiet and beautiful sites.

  • Half timbered houses: this kind of house is very typical in Normandy and you will find it in all postcards. Usually walls are made up of cob and stone, actually with local materials. Some of the houses come with a corbelling structure, allowing to have more space to the upper floor. A corbel is a piece of stone or in Normandy of wood, jutting out of a wall to carry any superincumbent weight. As they used to pay taxes according to the ground floor area, the first floor was usually bigger and hence needed to be supported.

Click here for more info about the Architecture in Basse Normandie.

Take a closer look at the Orne property market:
Alencon Property Information Argentan Property Information
Domfront Property Information Flers Property Information