Alès is a town in the Gard department, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and is considered to be the “capital city” of the Cévennes, which are mountains part of the Massif central range. Thus, the town is a good starting-point to discover the Cévennes. Some excavations showed that Alès was formerly a Roman oppidum, whose functions were mainly defensive. The place was chosen, because it was naturally protected by the elements like mountains. The trade rapidly grew up in Alès, because of its position between the independent Gaul and the Transalpine Gaul. Then, in the 17th century, because of this natural defensive position, a Vauban-type fort was built in Alès, which still overlooks the town.
Nowadays, this beautiful town of the Gard department has reached a population of 42,000 inhabitants in the centre. With the suburbs of Alès, the population reaches around 130,000 inhabitants! For a long time, the main activities were the mining exploitation and the silk production. The restructuring of the economy, which occurred in the late 20th century, has been really difficult. But today, Alès appears as an example. The town bet on the setting up of companies around the new technologies, and we can call it a big success. The town now forecasts an important increase of the population, the unemployment rate having largely decreased during the last decade.
With the reflation of the Alès’ economy, an increase of prices has taken place. In 2004, the property prices begun to exceed the national average, even if since June 2007, the house prices in the Alès area decreased from €350/ sq m.
In Alès, 88% of properties are main houses and 2.5% are second houses. Furthermore, the majority of the properties are apartments (59%) and not houses. If you are interested in a big property, you will easily find bigger houses in the suburbs of Alès.
At the beginning of 2009, the average price for properties was around €1,800/ sq m.
To get updated info about the property prices in the Gard department, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Languedoc-Roussillon Property Prices.
Located in the Gard department, but not along the Mediterranean coast, Alès has the advantage to attract fewer tourists, who usually only come because they are interested in the sea. The town is a bit quieter and attracts tourists for other reasons that only the sea, which is however not too far from the town (one hour).
Mountains: located at the foot of the Cévennes mountains, Alès offers a good situation to discover the area. The Cévennes is a place where ecological tourism is highly developed, and where the environmental protection is really important. Thus, the area is a gem of nature where you can do hiking, horse riding and several other activities at the heart of this green nature.
History: formerly a Roman oppidum, the town of Alès offers many vestiges for you to see that have been discovered thanks to various digging in the surroundings of the town. More recently, a Vauban fort was built for the army to protect the surroundings, which is still intact and can be seen overhanging the city centre thus offering an exceptional panorama.
Economy: with the reflation of the economy, Alès becomes more and more dynamic, and has a row of new projects to launch to make the town even more attractive. That includes the construction of an environmentally-friendly-housing development in its center. That lets everyone think that Alès will soon become an even more pleasant town to live in.
Architectural style:Alès and its surroundings offer particularly interesting places to visit or view, including for example several castles such as Château de Portes or le Chateau de la Tour aux Salles du Gardon, as well as some constructions such as la Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Arènes du Temperas (typical bullring).
Apartments: in the centre of Alès, the majority of properties are apartments. If you are looking for a more typical property to buy, our advice is to move away from Alès, where you will find Cévennes houses for instance. Obviously, with the growth of the city, some new constructions have risen, but which are not really typical for the region.
Cévennes houses: the Cévennes houses are former farmhouses with integrated functions, built in height, which adapt to the sloping relief. These houses are built with stones coming from the region, which gives a feeling of authenticity. The houses are made from different buildings with different shapes and height, but which constitute an unique ensemble.
Click here for more info about the Architecture of Languedoc-Roussillon.
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