The Lozère department received its name from the Mont Lozere, a 1,699 metre-high mountain situated to the south of the French Massif Central, in the Cevennes. This central department boasts some of the most beautiful sceneries: cliffs in Gorges du Tarn, plateaus in Aubrac, mountains in Cevennes and granite massifs in Margeride. The extended Lozere is indeed a real heaven for nature lovers!
Either for adventure holidays or for a blissful long retreat, the Lozere is a perfect, quiet and preserved place to settle in! The whole department covers more than 5,000 km², which roughly matches the former Gevaudan’s borders, 2 hours away from the Mediterranean sea and a mere hour from the Alps, but both locals and holidaymakers would tell you that there is no need to travel out of the region!
There are indeed so many activities and various landscapes throughout Lozere as it is located in the very heart of southern France. It is first renowned for the outstanding national parks like in the Causses, Cevennes, or in the Gevaudan former province. But the surroundings also offer fishing clubs, ski resorts, horse-riding and hiking paths along the river Lot or through outstanding limestone plateaus in Aubrac or La Canourgue.
The area has in fact as many property styles as sceneries - from Alpes-style wooden chalets to rural stone houses, to self-catering and chambre d’hote rentals. It is quite popular amongst holidaymakers driving to the south of France who long for a refreshing break before going to the – overcrowded – Mediterranean beaches, but it is more and more common that these foreigners eventually do not leave the area!
What is undeniable is that buy-to-let investments are very good value for money in Lozere: property prices remain pretty low compared to the neighbouring Herault department (around €1,300/ sq m in the northermost tip of the Languedoc Roussillon, against €2,500/ sq m to the south - figures of 2009). It is actually the cheapest area in the Languedoc region, and it was (in the early 2000s) one of the few regions of France to have more than 30% of second homes.
As Lozere’s popularity has been soaring for the last few years – people starting to flee the classy French Riviera – all long-term projects may have good returns soon.
Due to the regional miscellaneous relief, transport networks are not very well developed there (which explains why car is the main means to reach it) but as said above, Lozere proved to be highly regarded by holidaymakers touring the South of France.
The benefit is that, when property sales tend to be restrained, letting business do thrive. Lozere has indeed a plethora of gites, chambres d’hotes and typical auberges where foreigners are invited to enjoy local French food and “art de vivre”.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Lozère departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Lozere is divided into 4 major areas: La Margeride in the north (wooded granite plains), Aubrac bordering the Aveyron (basalt plateaus littered with rivers), the Cevennes to the south east (schist mountain ranges) and the Causses (arid plains in the south west, crossed by the impressive Gorges du Tarn).
In short, this perfectly-situated department gathers up everything you need!
Skiers’ paradise: more than 300 kilometres of skiing routes – either for downhill or cross-country skiing – are available throughout Lozere. Given the refreshing forests, hiking with snowshoes and sledge rides around the Mont Lozere is very appreciated by holidaymakers. The ski resorts such as Beymard are indeed much less crowded than are the Alps 100km away.
River landscape: either for fishing, boating or simply walking on the riverside, the Lozere is simply the kingdom of water activity enthusiasts! Three rivers rise in the area, the Lot, the Tarn and the Allier, all this offering peaceful paths and a lush valley. Water sports and angling are thus very popular in the region.
Microclimate: given the diversity of Lozere’s landscape, the climate is very pleasant featuring mild winters and sunny – not too warm – summers. Forests cover about 45% of the Lozere’s area (with 70% of pines and 30% of leafed trees), which – complemented by the mountainous zones – allow to avoid too high temperatures. The typical mix of reliefs actually softens the difference between the seasons.
Authentic French lifestyle: Lozere has been one of the most preserved departments of France for a long time – refusing Mac Donald’s implantation until 2005 for example! Locals are really committed in protecting and respecting the nature’s bounty. Everyday life is definitely stress-free and, as hitherto the region has not received as notoriety as the neighbouring Herault, the way of life is still traditional and tourists are not overrunning.
A plethora of activities: due to the miscellaneous scenery, Lozere indeed remains a traditional, rural area but it makes the most of its natural sights and attractions to develop the local tourism and economy. Eco-tourism and environment-friendly facilities are actually thriving in the region.
On the south edge of the Massif Central, it’s the outdoor activities that have the strongest impact, and the property styles of course were developed accordingly. The most important feature is indeed to include large plots of land, great views over the surroundings, terraces or eco-friendly materials.
Another feature is that Lozère comprises the highest living area in France (about 1,350 metre high near the Mont Lozere), prone to tough regulations (especially in terms of renovation and new builds).
Rural houses: above all, Lozere architecture styles do respect the surrounding nature. In accordance with the local industries (i.e. silk production and agriculture), properties there are foremost simple and convenient. Every building had its own function (from ovens to sheds to mills) and materials (local limestone, schist or granite), when the whole ensemble worked with strict irrigation systems.
Mills: due to the picturesque valleys of the Tarn, the Lot and the Allier, Lozere is littered with lovely riverside homes and more precisely water mills. Many stone houses along the rivers were actually used as private mills, some of them still have the remaining functional buildings. The majority of these charming little properties have been renovated and turned into peaceful second homes, with colourful shutters and multiple storeys.
Road-menders’ houses: “baraques de cantonniers” which are made from limestone in western regions, are generally built in schist in Lozere. These little stone sheds are generally part of bigger properties or hamlets – some great deals to renovate or develop.
Click here for more info about Languedoc Architecture.
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