The Pyrénées-Orientales department (66) belongs - as the Aude, Hérault, Gard and Lozère - to the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It shares borders with the Aude department to the north, the Mediterranean sea to the east, Andorra and the Ariège department to the west and Spain to the south (more precisely with the north-east tip of Spain, the Spanish Catalonia). There are about 426,000 inhabitants in Pyrenees Orientales and this department comprises 226 towns and villages. Its préfecture (administrative main city) is Perpignan and its 2 sous-préfectures (sub-prefectures) are Céret and Prades. The numerous outstanding landscapes and the pleasant Mediterranean climate are Pyrénées-Orientales’ major assets.
The Pyrenees-Orientales region (formerly called Roussillon) belonged to Spain until 1659. In this special year, France reverted to Pyrenees Orientales. Due to its belonging to Spain during many years, this department has been - and is still nowadays - highly influenced by this neighbouring country. Many Spanish traditions are present there such as bullfighting, the Sardana dance (circle dance typical from Catalonia), typical Spanish food (paella for ex.), etc. The Catalan language is also spoken by many people. Pyrenees-Orientales benefits from about 300 days of sun over the whole year, which explains its popularity amongst holidaymakers. Winds - especially tramontana - play an essential role in the climate, as they can sometimes reach more than 100 km/h! The Pyrenees Orientales department is also one of the few French regions in which tourists can enjoy both beautiful beaches and mountains.
Due to a perfect location on the Mediterranean coast and wonderful landscapes, property price in Pyrenees Orientales are amongst the most expensive of France. We can still find departments where housing prices are much higher such as in the Alpes Maritimes or Pyrenees Atlantiques departments (up to €4,000 / sq m!). Property in this region of Languedoc is cheaper than Aude, Herault and Gard - with excellent bargains still on the market. The Pyrenees Orientales is also an excellent area to live in, with Perpignan, a great city full of shops, art galleries and good restaurants. The surrounding scenery is outstanding with pleasant beaches and good ski resorts only about an hour away.
Property prices in the Pyrenees Orientales department are lower than the national average though: buying a property costs €2,800/ square metre in this department, whereas the amount is of € 3,197 / square metre for the national average.
Almost 75% of the houses are main homes and only 17% holiday homes. This huge gap is pretty surprising as the department is really appreciated by holidaymakers. The average price for an ancient apartment to buy is €2,170 / square metre. It is actually the right moment to invest in an ancient apartment in the Pyrenees Orientales department as property prices are still increasing but much less than a few years ago. In 2007, prices for ancient apartments only raised of 0.3%.
A very surprising observation in the Pyrenees Orientales department is that a studio flat is much more expensive than a 3-room (or more) apartment! You should plan to spend €2,490 / square metre for a studio flat and €1,750 / square metre for a 5-room apartment. This important difference in property prices is probably due to the fact that the demand for studio flats is significant because of the numerous students who live there during the academic year. Therefore, only 3% of Pyrenees Orientales’ properties are studio flats, whereas for instance 32% are 4-room apartments.
To get updated info about housing prices in the Pyrenees Orientales departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
The Pyrennes Orientales department is one of the most attractive ones of France amongst foreigners, particularly Brits. Indeed this part of France is well-linked to the main French towns and has numerous assets which seduce many holidaymakers.
Scenery: Pyrenees Orientales’ landscapes are amongst the most dramatic in the Languedoc Roussillon region, dominated by the impressive Pyrenees mountains from which you can have breathtaking views. The most famous one is the Mont Canigou which makes it possible to admire the whole Roussillon region. Three different rivers cross the department: the Tech, the Têt and the Agly. To sum up, Pyrenees Orientales offers some of the most beautiful landscapes of France.
Wines: the Pyrenees Orientales department produces many sweet authentic wines. It is especially renowned for 4 appellations: Banyuls, Maury, Rivesaltes and Muscat de Rivesaltes. We can also find many dry red wines amongst which Collioure is probably the most renowned appellation.
Historical sites: the foothills of the Pyrenees host some of the most beautiful historical sites of the Languedoc Roussillon region. For example, the walled village of Villefranche le Conflent, the Abbaye de St Martin de Canigou, the very picturesque castle and village of Castelnou or the Priory of Serrabone.
Lifestyle: also deeply influenced by Spain, the motto for lifestyle in the Pyrenees Orientales department is farniente! Indeed the inhabitants enjoy just relaxing and taking their time to do what they want to do. Going to Languedoc, you will definitely not have lunch at noon and dinner at 8pm/20.00, as in the neighbouring country, lunch and dinner times are very late and a nap after lunch cannot be avoided!
Food: Pyrenees Orientales is famous for its typical food based on delicious seafood, olive oil and vegetables such as tomatoes and courgettes amongst others. You will also find many orchards (with peach, apricot, apple and cherry trees for instance), as arboriculture is really omnipresent in the department. The gastronomy of the department is indeed a mix of Spanish food and Provence gastronomy. Simply delightful!
Mas: traditional farmhouse properties of southern France. These properties have very particular characteristics: medium to large size, made of local stones, usually rectangular-shaped with gently-sloping roofs, the rear facing the dominant wind direction and very small windows. The Mas are very sought-after houses.
Villas: also pretty large, villas are the perfect property style to live in the Pyrenees Orientales department. Often newly built, made from stone, with light-coloured facades, with a pretty flat red-tiled roof, large doors, floor-to-ceiling windows, a large garden, a private swimming-pool and a terrace – these properties are amongst the most beautiful of the region.
Small holiday homes: very small but practical, these properties are always located close to the beach. Usually with 2 rooms, small garden (in the back) and terrace (front), a kitchenette, tiny bathroom and toilets - this is the perfect property to buy or rent for holidays. Sometimes these houses are also situated in residential areas providing a private swimming-pool for the residence’s tenants.
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|Take a closer look at the Pyrenees Orientales property market:|
|Perpignan Property Information||Collioure Property Information|
|Céret Property Information||Argeles sur Mer Property Information|
|Canet en Roussillon Property Information|