The Centre region is composed of 6 departments: Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher and Loiret. It gathers 1,842 towns and villages and stretches over 39,151sq km inhabited by 2,440,329 persons (4% of the French population). Orléans is its administrative centre. Located at only one hour from Paris, this town is said to be the development centre of the south Parisian’s area.
Until 1945 the Centre region was Paris’ demographic reservoir, before it became one of the French most attractive regions. From 1954 to 1990 it attracted more than 600,000 inhabitants and it is among the most populated French regions. Due to the proximity to the capital city, cities in the north of the region, such as Chartres, Tours and Orléans, tend to develop faster than the other ones.
The centre region stands out thanks to few records: it is the first European region as far as crops are concerned; the first French area as regards industrial decentralisation; industry, as well as cities (Tours and Orléans), has experienced the strongest growth in France during the last 30 years. The region arrives also second at the electronuclear, pharmaceutical industry and cultural tourism rankings.
Historically speaking, the Centre region gathers 3 provinces: the Orléanais (Loiret, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher), the Berry (Cher and Indre) and the Touraine (Indre-et-Loire). The three of them were part of the French Kingdom very early in History and they participated a lot to its formation; whence all the castles in the area. It is also interesting to notice the number of literary celebrities who came from the region, such as: Balzac, Descartes, Rabelais, Ronsard, George Sand, Charles Péguy, Marcel Proust, etc.
Economical activities in the Centre region are mainly based on the most up-to-date technologies: special chemicals, rubber, electronics, computer science, car sector and aeronautics. The tertiary sector is also well developed as the region houses the bulk of banking and economical functions, as well as scientific researches.
|Property prices in Centre region and its 6 departments in 2009|
|Location||Apartments € / sq m||New built apartments € / sq m||Houses €|
It is surprising to see how affordable properties are in the Centre region. While the national average for house prices is €3,200/sq m in 2009, the Centre region is really down below with prices ranging between €1,810 and €2,850/sq m, depending on the apartments. As it is only 1hour from Paris (Orléans), it is an excellent alternative to the capital city where prices are extremely high. If you want a more peaceful place, you will be delighted by one of the quiet villages away from motorways and busy towns. As the area is very touristic, buying a property in the Centre region is also an excellent investment for a buy-to-let.
To get updated information about the house prices in the Centre region, please browse our French Property market reports published in the News Section every month.
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Tranquillity and scenery: Val de Loire landscapes are characterised by a beautiful combination between the Loire River’s water and the greenery of forests. All kind of artists have been inspired by this amazing and peaceful place, from literary persons, such as François Rabelais to painters. Poets of the Renaissance, such as Pierre de Ronsard, used to write poems about this beautiful area that was, according to them, as, or even more, beautiful as Roma’s area. Romantic writers and poets, such as Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, etc. used to go there to find their inspiration.
Architectural style: thanks to its influence since the Middle-Ages, the Centre region has a rich and various architectural heritage. In Bourges, Tours and Orléans you can visit some of the big French cathedrals, authentic models of the Gothic art. The Bourges’ one is even listed in the UNESCO World Heritage since 1992. Not to mention Chartres Cathedral, worldwide renowned for its beautiful stained glass windows and its Gothic nave, built at the beginning of the 13th century. The Renaissance period transformed the architecture, and most Châteaux de la Loire were built at that time. Chambord Castle is the biggest one; Chenonceau Castle was built between 1515 and 1521 and is one of the older castles, it is also famous thanks to its inhabitants, such as Diane de Poitiers, Henri II and Catherine Medicis.
Châteaux de la Loire: castles were built or renovated during the Renaissance period, when the royal power was located at the River bank. However, most of them were originally built during Middle-Ages and have kept some architectural characteristics from this period. The Loire valley area is home to a high number of castles (42 are considered as Châteaux de la Loire ). Hence it was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage. Here are some of the most beautiful and renowned castles: Château d'Amboise, Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Château de Blois, Château de Brissac, Château de Chambord, Château de Châteaudun, Château de Cheverny, Château de Chenonceau, etc.
Location – transport network: many motorways cross the region and link Paris to Lyon (A6), to Bordeaux (A10), to Clermont-Ferrand (A17), to Rennes and Nantes (A11). The Centre region has one international airport, located in Tours, which has direct connexion with England through Stansted. It also has a significant railway network, with 33 railway stations. .
Loire River: the Loire is a legendary River listed at the UNESCO World Heritage. It is the last European wild river and it keeps fascinating people with its unexplained whims: sometimes calm and other times indomitable, it draws a bed full of surprises and greenery islands.
Troglodytic houses and villages: from the Middle-Ages until the 17th century, this kind of housing was common above all in the Indre-et-Loire and Loir-et-Cher department. They are basically houses dug into the rock. They come with a freestone fire place which used to be permanently on, in order to avoid humidity. They are usually small houses, one storey high and 5 to 7 metres wide.
Maisons de Maitre: this kind of housing appeared during the 18th century, and as all the French Maisons de Maitre, the aim of these houses was to show the owners’ wealth and power. Hence, they are usually located in strategic position in the village or in a place where they can be easily seen. They are very big houses that come with a piece of land, woods or even plots of water. The inside is composed by many bedrooms (4 to 5), 1 or 2 traditional French kitchens, 1 or 2 bathrooms, and of course, separated toilets.
Sologne houses: Sologne area is mainly composed of forests and lakes, hence its architecture is characterised by timber frame and also terra cotta. As always with half- timbered houses, the lower part of the wall is made of bricks, and in the upper part, cob and bricks inserted to the timber frame give the house its special charm. As the roof is steeply pitched, the first floor is narrower than the ground floor. Inside the house you will find many bedrooms, depending on the size of the house, a traditional kitchen, etc. The inside is usually made of wood, which gives the house a special welcoming atmosphere.
Berry houses: they are also half-timbered houses; however, unlike Soulogne houses, the wood can be of different colours, which gives Berry architecture its special personality. These medieval houses often come with a beautiful colombage, and a huge piece of land when they are not located in a town. However, you will also find them in the medieval quarter of Bourges. As cob is the main material used in the Centre region, many Berry houses have a corbelling structure.
Perche traditional locatures: during Middle-Ages, poor farmers, called as locaturiers used to live in locature, which was a very low house, with a single room, and had a stable and a bread oven attached. Nowadays this kind of house has been renovated and is usually larger than the former ones. They usually have many rooms and separated kitchen and bathroom. However, even if they are bigger, they are built in the traditional way, this is to say, they are half-timbered house, have exposed beams in and outside the house. The colombage is made of timber frames, cob and bricks.
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|For a deeper insight:|
|Cher Property Insight|
|Eure-et-Loir Property Insight|
|Indre Property Insight|
|Indre-et-Loire Property Insight|
|Loir-et-Cher Property Insight|
|Loiret Property Insight|