Pézenas is a French town whose inhabitants are called Piscénois. Located in the hinterland, just 50km (west) from Montpellier and 20km from Béziers, this small town is however much renowned for its character and style. As all towns and cities in the Herault department, it is easily accessible thanks to the A75 and A9 motorways which split the department in two halves vertically.
The town was renowned during the Middle Ages for its fairs as people from all around the Mediterranean came to attend the events. This calm town accounts for hardly 9,000 inhabitants and is an absolute architectural gem. In Pezenas, it is not rare to see towers along houses, giant gates or stone properties sitting all along a street for instance. The ancient – cobbled – town centre boasts many town houses dating back from the 16th, 17th or 18th centuries.
Culturally the town is very rich too as Molière, in the early stages of his career, used to live in Pezenas with his company of artists. Besides, local traditions are much respected there.
Pezenas is a vibrant town with a great year-round Saturday market. Renowned for its artists, antiques, small boutiques and for its theatre, the ancient centre is gorgeous and everything you may need is within minutes. You do not mandatorily need a car to benefit from the wealth of the area, which is great if you plan to invest in a buy-to-let property.
The city benefits from all the following: chateaux, abbeys, domains, the Canal du Midi, Beziers (20km), Montpellier (50km), beaches, airports (in Beziers and Montpellier) and trains. Spain is also very close. The average price of a property in Pezenas is however very reasonable, with €1,907.43 / sq m. For a town of this size, it is pretty expensive, but given the assets of the area, its outstanding climate and the unique style of the town, this price is finally largely justified. Plus there are many cultural events taking place in Pezenas which gives it an additional tourist value – if need be.
There are only 5% of second homes in Pezenas, this means that the potential for investment in the area, especially for buy-to-let options, is very positive. The demand can however be pretty high which means that at times, prices can soar.
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Pezenas is a very interesting place as it combines multiple assets:
Unique style: the cobbled streets, huge gates and many traditional stone houses give a very unique ambience to Pezenas. Each year, festivals are organised such as the Carnival. This is in fact a traditional celebration where everyone plays a unique role for a day. The horse, symbol of the town, goes for a ride in the streets of the ancient town. Traditional dances, theatres and satiric art performances are also organised.
High potential: either to live in the property or to rent it as a holiday accommodation, the area is ideal. Not too far from the Mediterranean, next to the Cevennes mountains range, Pezenas is an ideal investment place, especially as prices went down in late 2008.
Swift transport links: Pezenas is easily reachable by car using motorways connecting it with Lyon, Barcelona, Paris, Clermont-Ferrand, Arles, Narbonne, Toulouse and Bordeaux. Trains take you quickly to Paris, Agde, Béziers, Barcelona, Lille or Brussels. Distances: Barcelona: 300 km, Lyon: 350 km, Marseille: 200 km, Toulouse : 200 km. Montpellier (50km) and Beziers (20km) are respectively the 2nd and the 4th biggest airports in France: a flight from London takes 2h40.
At the very heart of the winegrowing countryside, between Montpellier and Beziers, Pezenas has always been influenced by many travellers. It became a royal town in 1262, the town had very strong economic and political roles to which it owns its shining splendour. This wealth also means that the town centre is a ‘secteur sauvegardé’ (preserved area) and that you are not free to build as you want around this place.
Very cute shops: many small boutiques right in the heart of Pezenas are located in sort of ‘grottos’ dug on the ground level of stone buildings (the best is to visit the town to see this by yourself). The mayor set rules which force people setting up new boutiques to abide by the rules – to such an extent that now, many shops have 19th century-style front facades.
Farmhouses: Languedoc Roussillon farmhouses are typical houses whose style was originally based on the model of the French farmhouse – being both farm and house. Building such houses is straightforward and cheap. In the area houses are made of stone, granite and wood.
Typical Mas: the Mas are traditional farmhouses, sometimes with a Bastide-style architecture. Originally owned by farmers producing fruits, vegetables, grain, milk or meat. Mas’ rear usually faces the dominant wind. Windows are of small dimensions to insulate the house. They are generally rectangular-shaped houses. As the farmhouses, the Mas were always built of inexpensive local stones or wood but with much common sense.
Click here for more info about the Architecture of Languedoc-Roussillon.
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