The Nièvre department belongs to the Burgundy region. It is located in the centre of France, and has borders with Yonne, Côte d’Or, Saône-et-Loire, Allier ( Auvergne ), Cher and Loiret ( Centre region ). Nevers is the administrative centre of the department, the sub centres being Château-Chinon, Clamecy and Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire. With 222,250 inhabitants, called the Nivernais, the department gathers 313 towns and villages, and 4 historical countries: Bourgogne-Nivernaise, Nivernais-Morvan, Nevers sud-Nivernais and Puisaye-Forterre.
It is important to remember that departments in France were created only in 1790, and that before that date the France Kingdom was divided into 39 provinces, Burgundy being one of them. Even though some regions stick more or less to former provinces, most of them were artificially created, mixing different provinces, splitting other ones.
Nevers County was created during the 10th century, and all its history long it kept changing owners. It first belonged to the Burgundy Duchy, then was given to the Flandre family and like that, over the centuries it went from a family to another, according to the weddings and political arrangements. During the 100 years war, Nievre was at the heart of the conflict opposing Armagnacs and Burgundy, and as a result suffered many attacks and destructions. Finally, during the 17th century Nievre was governed by the Mazarin Family (Cardinal Mazarin being Louis XIII Prime Minister). The County developed a lot, above all thanks to literature and the Enlightenment Philosophers, such as Diderot.
The 16th century was marked by both the expansion of timber floating towards Paris, and the development of thermal baths. Many French Kings (Henri IV, Louis XIV), Dukes and renowned writers (such as Rousseau) used to go to Pougues-les-Eaux in order to cure their illness. As far as timber floating is concerned, this method started to be used during the 16th century, and during four centuries it was Nievre main economical activity. Timber rafting is a log transportation method in which logs are tied together into rafts and drifted or pulled across a water body or down a flatter river. It is arguably the second cheapest method of transportation of timber, next after log driving.
Nowadays, Nievre is a rather touristic destination. It takes advantage of its geographic location, next to the Centre region, and it displays 2 rivers, the Loire and the Allier, which is a tributary of the former. Both rivers allowed timber floating from the 16th to the 20th centuries, and they are nowadays the stage of beautiful cruises. The area is also worldwide renowned for its wine production, known as Vins de Bourgogne.
|Property prices in the Nievre department in April 2009|
|Property types||Price €/ sq m||Average price €||Average size|
|Estate house||1,286||327,292||270q m|
|Nievre Total||€1,370/sq m|
In France in 2009 a house costs in average €3,200 /sq m. Since in Nievre a house only coasts €1,370 /sq m, the department is rather affordable. This is not surprising when we see the regional average being €1,745 /sq m. It is understandable as the area is very rural, and prices in the countryside are always lower than in towns.
However, since prices are rather low, it gives you the opportunity to invest in a bigger property than you would do in other regions. Indeed, buying a property, such as a farm, can be a good investment for a buy-to-let. You can transform it into a gîte and you will not have difficulties finding tenants in summer.
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Good food: Burgundy is first of all renowned for its wine production. However, you will also be delighted by its cheese, its charcuterie and its sweet produces. Cheeses in Nievre are from cow as well as from goat. The famous Crottin de Chavignol is an goat’s cheese AOC from Nievre. You should also taste between others, the melting heart Nivernais made with row cow’s milk. As far as charcuterie in concerned, give it a try to pie dishes (terrines), Morvan ham and Clamecy Andouillettes. The Charolaise meat is well renowned all around the world and France thanks to the Label Rouge. Finally, end you meal with one of Nievre candies, such as Négus, Nougatine and Petir Marnier. Do not forget to try also the Morvan honey.
Tourism – sights: Nevers stands out for its cultural and green tourism, whence the motto of the department ‘de l’art, de l’air’ (a bit of art, a bit of air). The cultural tourism is marked by the town Charité-sur-Loire, which is a stop on the Saint Jacques de Compostelle way and which is listed as UNESCO world heritage. Bernadette Soubirous (told to have seen the Virgin Marie in Lourdes) centre in Nevers welcomes more than 250,000 visitors a year. There are also 10 museums, more than 100 castles, some being public and opened to visits, other being private, and over 300 historical monuments. As far as the green tourism is concerned, it is mainly led by fluvial tourism. The Nivernais canal, as well as the lateral canal of the Loire, enables to discover the region by pleasure boats. There are also many lakes in the Morvan area, where you can do all sort of water activities.
Architectural style: in Nievre countryside you will find many castles and stately properties. Some of them also come with parks and beautiful gardens in the middle of a green natural environment. These buildings are the vestiges of chatelaines and reflect the local architecture. Amongst them, do not miss to visit the Château de Bazoches du Maréchal Vauban which used to belong to Louis XIV Minister Vauban; Château de Villemolin located few kilometres from Corbigny. Moreover, Chatillon-en-Bazois castle stands out for its water garden, and Limanton castle for its terrace gardens.
Location – transport links: Nievre has an exceptional geographical situation, located at the heart of the Burgungy, Centre and Auvergne regions, and half-way between Paris and Lyon, it is also at the same distance from London, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Roma. From France you can go to Nievre either by car, taking the A77 motorway, the RN 151 or the RCEA, either by train, there are returns to Paris frequently several times a week.
Thermal baths: in the middle of a charming countryside, at the entrance door of the Morvan natural park, welcome to Saint-Honoré-les-Bains thermal baths. Romans were the first to discover and to use the therapeutic water of the region, and since then the area kept attracting visitors. In addition to therapeutic treatments, the themal resort offers also relaxation package, including massages, sports, etc. You will also love the natural environment and all the activities around the thermal resort, which make the area both relaxing and lively.
Wine of Burgundy: Burgundy is worldwide renowned for its wines, especially its red sharp wines. In the Nievre department you will especially find the Vins de Loire and Vins du Nivernais. There are mainly 4 famous vineyards: Pouilly vineyard, famous for its smoked Pouilly AOC, which is a white dry and fruity wine, produced from Sauvignon; Côteaux du Giennois vineyard which produces red wines (from Pinot Noir and Gamay), rosé and white (Sauvignon); Côteaux Charitois vineyard, makes a white wine made with Chardonnay, and a red wine with Pinot Noir and Gamay; Rioussat vineyard is a small one and makes red wine (Pinot Noir and Gamay), a white wine, but also grey and rosé wines.; finally, the Tannay vineyard is also a small one producing the three kind of wines (red, white and rosé).
Morvan farmhouses: Morvan thatched cottage is often surrounded by outbuildings. Usually the habitable part is made of one big room with a bread oven coming out of the front facade. In the back of the dwellings you will traditionally find one bedroom and the living room. Nowadays this kind of farmhouse has been restored, and you can enjoy a modern house in a traditional shell. Owing to their traditional feature, they have been transformed into gîte most of the time. You are also likely to find old farmhouses that need to be restored. In that case, the price will be very low, which can allow you to make a profit if you sale it after restoration, or even if you let it to summer tourists.
Half-timbered houses: this kind of dwelling is traditional in the whole France, and even almost in the whole Europe. However, as they are made with local materials, each region has a different style. In Burgundy, half-timbered houses are very similar to German style. Walls are made with cob, and only the floor and the roof is made of timber structure. The wood is present both inside and outside the house, and has a double function, protecting and decorating. Size of the house varies according the location, if it is in town or in the countryside, and according to the former owner, if they were wealthy people or not.
Maisons de Maitre: mainly found in the countryside, these houses used to be built in order to show farmers the power of the lord. This explains their huge dimensions and their luxury and beauty. Inside the house you will be charmed by the parquet floor, be the oak staircase, and by all the marble fireplaces. As usual, on the ground floor you will find all the common rooms, i.e. the kitchen, living room, dining room; on the first floor are the bedrooms with another bathroom and an office; and on the second floor you will have more bedrooms with another bathroom. Often the house comes with a tower, which gives a breathtaking view over the countryside. Not to mention that the house comes with a huge piece of land, which may include a wood or/and a pond.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Bourgogne.
|Take a closer look at the Nièvre property market:|
|Clamecy Property Information||Corbigny Property Information|
|Nevers Property Information||Pouilly sur Loire Property Information|