Besançon Property Insight

Besançon is a peculiar town of the eastern France with 204 sq m per inhabitant. It is the prefecture of the Doubs department but also the regional capital of Franche Comté. Living on a mound surrounded with the Doubs River, its 114,900 inhabitants are called the Bisontin(e)s. Nature-oriented, it is a lively town full of richness.


Besançon is a Town of Art & History and does a lot to preserve and promote its heritage. Its Vauban fortifications are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Ancient buildings have been thoroughly renovated and they today nestle public administrations and museums.

The town has a unique geography. It has developed in a meander of the Doubs River, in a basin circled by seven hills. The climate is mainly continental implying strong winters with much snow and hot summers. It is not very windy and benefits from a good sunshine time.

Besançon is part of the Rhin-Rhône megalopolis, which allows it to play an important role in the national economy. Its main activity is micromechanics and it welcomes the international Micronora fair every two years. Besides, Besançon has numerous commercial areas. Since a few years tourism has been playing a larger and larger part.

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Besançon Immobilier & Property Market Trends

After the prosperous years until 2007 and a surge at the beginning of 2009, property prices in Besançon have since begun to stagnate. At the moment, the town estate projects are mostly rental. However, deluxe and top-of-the-range properties are doing fairly well.

With about 61,507 dwellings, the average price is €2,278 /sq m. The majority of the properties is sold between €1,500 / sq m and €3,000 /sq m. It is slightly higher than the department’s average but remains cheaper if compared with the national average (€3,197 /sq m).

As the department’s capital, most of the properties in Besançon are apartments (81.7%). The average price for an ancient apartment is €1,790 /sq m and €2,760 /sq m for a new built flat. For a house you can plan to invest €189,600 on average.

The town accounts for 15.3% of studio flats, which is almost twice more than the national average. It can be explained by the fact that Besançon houses a great number of students. Small apartments are therefore a blue chip.

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

Click here to have an overview of Franche Comté Property Prices.

4 Reasons to Buy a Property in Besançon

  • Culture & art heritage: Besançon is an idyll for culture lovers. It organizes several cultural events, aimed at passing on its heritage like the Foire Comtoise gathering 140,000 visitors each year; or musical, literature, and movie festivals. Besides, there are many museums to visit. The museum time, located in the Palais Granvelle, offers a scientific, technical and human exploration of time. The Citadelle nestles the Museum of Resistance and Deportation but also the Musée Comtois dealing with regional ethnology. The Fine Arts and Archaeology Museum, for its part, boasts one of the oldest collections in France. Another curiosity to discover is the astronomical clock.

  • Surroundings and lifestyle: loop shaped, Besançon is a small island circled by the Doubs River. It is the regional capital of Franche Comté while being the 1st French ‘green town’. It allies the dynamism of a big town with the tranquillity of nature. You can find modern shops next to beautiful parks and gardens; and traces of history are to be discovered throughout the town (through ancient gates or bridges for instance). The town has been integrating around its remains of the past and its natural assets. It benefits from unique surroundings and is recognized for its exceptional quality of life.

  • Rental opportunities: the town welcomes many students of various nationalities all year long. It has a university and several Ecoles Supérieures. Its C.L.A (which is a famous linguistics centre) teaches 10 different languages and is internationally recognized. The demand in rentals is therefore constantly strong, especially for small apartments located in the town centre. It means great opportunities in terms of buy-to-let investment.

  • Architectural & historical sites: Besançon has always been willing to preserve its heritage, especially its architecture. Streets and bridges alone are architectural works and some of them are part of the French historical monuments. Don’t miss the Rivotte gate, which is a remain of a former fortified castle built in the 16th century and the Granvelle palace with its Renaissance style. Religious monuments are not left behind. The roman-byzantine Basilique Saint-Ferjeux is really worth seeing. The most impressive are the Vauban fortifications, split in different sites such as cannon towers or the most visited monument of the region: the imposing Citadelle.

Property Styles and Architecture in Besançon

  • Detached houses: they are to be found mostly at the outskirts of Besançon. They can be recently built single-storey properties, which often come with a picked fenced garden and sometimes with a swimming pool. You can also find stone houses built on basement, which is a more traditional property type. These ones generally have numerous windows.

  • Apartments: in the town centre they are quite ancient and usually don’t have a park facility. They nevertheless possess an irresistible bygone charm... On the contrary, apartments at the outskirts of Besançon are more recent and are often laid out in a state-of-the-art style. Almost all of them have an equipped kitchen.

Click here for more info about the Architecture in Franche Comté.

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Take a closer look at the Doubs property market:
Montbeliard Property Information