Cher is a French department located in the south-east of the Centre region. It shares borders with Indre, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Nièvre, Allier and Creuse. Cher accounts for 315,000 inhabitants. Located under Paris-Ile-de-France, the department has a central position in France. The name of the department comes from the Cher River which flows through the area.
The Cher department was formerly part of the Berry province along with Indre. The department is composed of 5 different ‘countries’: the Pays Sancerre Sologne, Pays Loire Val d’Aubois, Pays Berry Saint-Amandois, Pays de Bourges, Pays de Vierzon. We can notice many natural areas within the department. In the west and south-west of Cher, there is the Champagne berrichonne, a limestone plateau, an open field where we can find Quincy’s vineyards. In the north-west, Sologne has an abundance of forests. The features of the Sancerrois are hills, vineyards and goats’ breeding. Areas such as Haute Marche, Val de Germigny and Pays Fort are specialised in mixed and livestock farming.
The Centre region has a great cuisine on offer with delicious local produce and a long tradition in gastronomy. The area attracts plenty of French and foreign holiday makers due to the wonderful castles it houses. As regards economy, the Berry area is the first French producer of porcelain. Local porcelain producers passed their know-how on the craftsmen of the new generations, keeping the traditions and special knowledge needed to produce china. Porcelain from Berry is exported all over the world. Towns such as Mehun-sur-Yèvre, Noirlac or Foëcy are renowned for being places of production since the 19th century.
As far as property market is concerned, Cher is still an affordable area where you can buy a property. The average price in 2009 is €1,735 / square metre, which is below the national average (€3,197/sq m), as well as housing price in neighbouring departments such as Indre et Loire (€2,280/sq m) and Eure-et-Loire (€2,429/sq m). When it comes to apartments, prices are pretty low: €1,300/sq m for a studio flat, €1,430/sq m for a 2-room apartment, €1,450/sq m for 5-room apartment. In 2008 it cost about €2,980/sq m to buy a 2-room new apartment and €2,580/sq m for a 3-room one. The proportion of apartments in Cher is only of 20.92%, the national average being 40.4%. The rental price in the department is €9.96 / square metre / month, which is again under the national average (€12.22 / sq m / month).
As regards houses, the department also offers very cheap properties. Here are the average prices for houses in Cher: €81,100 for a 3-room home, €105,000 for a 4-room one, €126,500 for a 5-room one and €158,300 for a 6-room one. Properties in the area around Bourges – the prefecture – are more expensive than in Saint-Amand-Montrond and Vierzon.
To get updated info about property prices in Cher, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to learn more about Centre region’s Property Prices.
Museums: people can learn a lot about the local know-how and history in the different museums that can be found throughout the Cher department. Apart from porcelain museums in La Borne, Bourges, Mehun-sur-Yèvre and Foëcy, the area also has a Photo Museum (Gracay), the Museum of the best French workers (Bourges), the ‘city of gold’ (museum recalling the history of gold in Saint-Amand-Montrond), Resistance Museum (Fussy), etc.
Good food: Cher has developed a delicious local gastronomy throughout the years. Local food is simple and rustic but varied and of a high quality. The choice is wide given the rich environment (ponds, forests, etc) and livestock breeding. A local cheese not to be missed is the crottin de Chavignol, an AOC (label of controlled origin) goat cheese produced close to Sancerre.
Nature and leisure activities: wonderful parks allow to relax and enjoy a quiet time in an unspoilt nature. Five towns of Cher got the label ‘jardin remarquable’ (outstanding garden): Bourges, Orsan, Loye-sur-Arnon, Ainay-le-Vieil and Apremont-sur-Allier. The area has an abundance of gardens and parks – simple gardens, kitchen gardens, aromatic or medieval gardens – they are all charming and original. The department boasts many possibilities to practise sport or leisure activities: fluvial tourism, hiking, canoeing-kayaking, fishing, hunting, playing golf, mountain-biking, climbing and so on.
Wine and alcoholic drinks: Cher is an important French wine-growing area. Wines produced in Berry are renowned and highly appreciated both by French and foreigners. Sancerre, Menetou Salon, Reuilly, Quincy, Chateaumeillant and Valencay will delight wine lovers. Red and rosé wines are served with cooked meat, paté, pie dishes for instance, whereas white wines accompany better seafood.
Return on investment: the area is really popular amongst foreign holidaymakers. The sustained demand for properties in the Cher department should offer a good future return on investment. Given the low housing prices of the department, many prospective buyers are interested in investing in a property there.
Castles: there is an abundance of castles in the Centre region and Cher is not an exception to the rule. Do not miss a visit of one of them. With their turrets, watchtowers, courtyard and medieval architecture, they are actual jewels from the Middle Ages. We suggest you, amongst others, to visit the castles of Ainay-le-Vieil, Culan, Oizon (chateau de la verrerie) , Menetou-Salon and the stronghold of Saint-Amand-Montrond.
Maisons de Maitre: these properties are very sought-after by prospective buyers. Built during the 18th century, they represented the wealth and power of the bourgeois upper middle class. Maisons de Maitre have large dimensions and numerous rooms. They often come with vast domains of fields, vineyards in the Centre region. It is worth investing in such properties as they can be converted in Bed&Breakfast or hotels for instance.
Farmhouses: you can find plenty of properties of this kind in the Centre region, so in the Cher department. Renovated or not, farmhouses are always featured by authenticity. They come with outbuildings and are most of the time located outside of the towns, offering thus a beautiful view over the countryside and quietness. Materials to build farmhouses are stone and bricks for the walls and red tiles for the roof. Farmhouses may also have dormer windows.
Berry half-timbered houses: traditional houses in Berry are half-timbered properties. This legacy from the Middle Ages gives a real charm to the medieval towns of Cher. The dominant construction materials used for colombage houses are cob and wood. Why not invest in one of these local houses which have a strong character?
Pigeonniers: it is not rare seeing pigeonniers in the Cher department. Before the French revolution, having a pigeonnier was a seigniorial right. It was an external sign of wealth. The size of pigeonniers depended on the size of the Lords’ domains. Many pigeonniers have recently been converted to a high standard, preserving the original architectural features, whilst providing modern accommodation. Oak beams and pigeon boxes may be part of the property, exposing its authenticity.
Click here for more info about Architecture in Centre region.
|Take a closer look at the Cher property market:|
|Bourges Property Information||Chateaumeillant Property Information|
|Saint Amand Montrond Property Information||Sancerre Property Information|
|Vierzon Property Information|