Ille et Vilaine Property Insight

Ille et Vilaine is a French department located in the easternmost part of Brittany. The department is part of the ‘Gallo’ area, also called ‘Upper-Brittany’, Gallo also being the name of the local dialect. The (growing) population of the department was 945,851 in 2006. Rennes is the region’s prefecture as well as the department’s ‘capital city’. The Ille-et-Vilaine is also called Ille-e-Vilenne or Ill-e-vilaenn in Gallo, the Breton name being Il-ha-Gwilen.


The Ille-et-Vilaine department is part of Brittany. The other departments of this region are the Manche, Mayenne, Maine et Loire, Loire Atlantique, Morbihan and Cotes d'Armor. In terms of economic activity, the milk industry is very important (first producing department in France). The department was created during the Révolution française / French Revolution, in March 1790. It was geographically part of the historical province of Brittany.

Green resources are the main assets of this department. Indeed, the department have identified almost 70 places of interest being forests, nature reserves, ponds and lakes which are really worth a visit. They really add a lot to the quality of life in the area, thus nature lovers will be glad to live with such an environment around.

The department has a very good road network as well as quality railways and several airports. Rennes’ agglomeration also attracts lots of companies and boasts good universities / schools. The department has benefited a lot from this attraction, old industries or remote villages being converted into thriving tourist or third-sector areas.

Search for Ille et Vilaine property now!

Ille et Vilaine Immobilier & Property Market Trends

Property in the Ille et Vilaine area is pretty cheap. Average prices are €2,662.94 / sq m for a property for sale and €10.93 /sq m / month to rent. This means that prices - when it comes to sales - are €1,000 below the national average, but that rental prices are quite high. The department has several student cities and towns, which may explain the second figure.

The area is pretty popular due to its location. The department has indeed 80km of coasts and the weather is not as bad as what is generally believed. Buy-to-let investments are a good choice if you plan to buy a studio flat in Rennes for instance, or buy a cottage along the coast (with access to the Channel Islands, a must-visit in summer).

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

Click here to learn more about Brittany’s Property Prices.

4 Reasons to Buy a Property in Ille et Vilaine

The department is famous amongst foreigners for its wild nature and strong food traditions. But there is more to Ille et Vilaine than only the immediately visible side of things. The area is also full of character, which is expressed through several dialects. The economy is also quite dynamic, these days it is a very good reason to settle.

  • Gourmet food: the area will definitely seduce you through its gastronomy. Brittany has lots of delicious dishes on offer to indulge your British taste buds. Cider, Chouchen, pancakes and many other food delights await you in Ille et Vilaine.
  • Cunning investment: Ille et Vilaine has lots on offer, especially for holidaymakers. Those of you interested in buy-to-let investments or in a holiday property in the area will do a cunning choice if buying in this French department. With 80 kms of coasts, reasonable prices and a great summer rental market, the investment there is really worth it.
  • Scenery: the Ille et Vilaine department is the gateway to Brittany, which offers wild landscapes and preserved environments. In many areas of the region, there are more sheeps than inhabitants, which, for sure, explains why the area is so calm and inhabitants so relaxed.
  • Transport links: this French department benefits from great transport links from the United Kindgom. There are three airports in the region, as well as several motorways connecting the department with the rest of France. You can also access the area via ferries and direct high-speed trains go to Paris every day.

Local Property Market: 5 Popular Towns

The Ille et Vilaine is rich of very diverse towns. In the French department, you can either live in a busy city as well as in a calm countryside or coastal town. Tradition and modernity actually are the very assets of the area.

  • Combourg property: the town of Combourg is surrounded with a forest and boasts a magnificent château. This town belongs to the club of ‘character cities of Brittany’. If you like stone houses, you will love Combourg.
  • Dinard property: it is famous amongst Brits as it is a renowned coastal resort. One of the main assets of the town is the closeness to the islands of Jersey and Guernsey. The settling of British people in the late 19th century has been crucial for the development of the town.
  • Fougeres property: it is the very traditional Breton village. The village has a medieval style, foremost expressed through a majestic castle. Most houses are made of stone. A must-visit in Ille et Vilaine.
  • Rennes property: it is the jewel in the department’s crown. This city attracts much companies and is one of the youngest in the whole of Brittany thanks to succesful universities. The excellent transport links to the area as well as a true Breton identity explain the success of Rennes.
  • Saint Malo property: it was a typical fishermen’s village which has become a cute coastal town. Ideal for holidays, Saint-Malo has lots on offer. Let’s learn more.
Search for Ille et Vilaine property now!

Property Styles and Architecture in Ille et Vilaine

  • Fishermen’s cottages: the northern part of Ille et Vilaine boasts 80km of coasts. Along this coast you will notice many ancient fishermen’s houses, being often very simple properties. They are generally made of stones (with exposed stones in the walls) and most of them offer a view over the sea. Beams are generally exposed too, sometimes painted. These properties are ideal if you plan to open a gite as they can be converted and retain their original charm. Fishing cottages can be town houses but some of them come with a garden which adds much value to the property.
  • Stone farmhouses: these properties have exposed stones on the outside walls (generally, granite). They are generally massive and come with a iece of land. Their style is pretty elegant and mainly lengthwise. On the roof, flat tiles are used. The wood is also present through exposed beams in most rooms and through wood panels on the ceiling of the living areas for instance. These are actually traditional Ille et Vilaine houses.
  • Malouiniere houses: as the name states, these properties are to be found around Saint-Malo, a famous coastal town of Ille et Vilaine. These houses date back to the 17th or 18th century. They are luxury houses boasting a high chimney, a slated roof, their style being once again quite elegant. Similar houses are the captains’ houses. If planning to buy such a house, you should allow a large budget.

Click here for more info about the architecture in Brittany.

Take a closer look at the Ille et Vilaine property market:
Combourg Property Information Dinard Property Information
Fougeres Property Information Rennes Property Information
Saint Malo Property Information