Hautes Pyrenees Property Insight


Hautes Pyrenees, as many French departments, was created during the French Revolution. It is the southernmost department of the Midi Pyrenees region, its prefecture being the town of Tarbes (47,000 inhabitants).

This French department has a very special geography as two small enclaves belonging geographically to Aquitaine are administratively part of it. The department is split into three different types of landscapes: mountains to the south covering half of the department surface, valleys to the north where the majority of inhabitants settle.

The economy of the department is mainly agricultural and touristic. Many efforts have also been done to develop the industry of new technologies. The main assets of the department now are productions such as fat ducks, porks and wine from Madiran.

Inside Midi Pyrenees, smaller areas have traditional names such as the Comminges (east of Toulouse) or the famous Gascony. Hautes Pyrenees are traditionally called Bigorre, the name of the ancient French province. A very nice area to settle (and very little-known) is the Baronnies, a set of 30 villages which decided to preserve their rural activities and aspect. An unspoilt area, they represent the rural idyll for any British in search for absolute quietness, authenticity and rest.

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Hautes Pyrenees Immobilier & Property Market Trends

Buying property in Hautes Pyrenees is quite cheap. Indeed, the average price is around €1,661.14 /square metre (national average is around €3,197 /square metre). The average rental price is about €8.28 /square metre / month. The area is specific as it accounts for 20% of second homes out of the total stock.

This can be explained by the many properties in the south of the department. Indeed, these mountain properties are perfect as buy-to-let investment. Massive crowds of tourists are interested in renting property, houses or flats in the south of Hautes Pyrenees during summer as well as winter! Indeed the area is ideal for any kind of sport such as hiking, cycling, skiing, walking, etc.

If you plan to buy and live in the house, the best place for you to invest is the north of the department which offers charming valleys and really more reasonable prices. You would then be able to combine the pleasure of having mountains, the sea as well as the well-known Gascony within a stone’s throw!

A nice place to settle is Bagneres de Bigorre, situated in the centre of the department at the footsteps of the Pyrenees mountains. The town is much cheaper than Tarbes, the local capital, and also more rewarding financially than Argeles-Gazost (you could save up to €20,000 by choosing Bagneres de Bigorre). It also has lots of character.

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

Click here to have an overview of Midi Pyrenees Property Prices.

3 Reasons to Buy a Property in Hautes Pyrenees

The Hautes Pyrenees area is a heaven for nature lovers, but not only. The French department does have many gastronomy treasures on offer and has been focusing, for several years on eco-friendly tourism offers. It is very different from the Gers department and Gascony located to its north but has a strong identity as well, the one of a department where you can enjoy any season.

  • Gourmet food: the department boasts many food delights amongst which mushrooms, that you will love buying at the street markets. Duck and geese are also on the menu and in the north of the department, the latter are a speciality. In the Bigorre area, the very renowned dish is the Garbure, a soup made up of ham, beans, duck, leeks and carrots. Tarbes produces its own variety of beans and the town of Trébons offers great onions. The village of Asté for its part is famous for its carrots production. Along with this, the department offers outstanding cheese originating from its mountainous parts such as the Barousse. Butter is also produced as well as the ‘gateau a la broche’. Eventually, the Madiran wine as well as the Pacherenc are definitely worth a tasting.

  • Tourism – sights: the neighbouring Pyrenees are just great for practising sport. Ski slopes are numerous and very successful. Hiking as well as discovering nature is possible through the national Pyrenees park created in 1967. Cycling is much practised, the Tour de France contests comes regularly in the area. Water sports are very popular too (canoeing, rafting for example). Nature lovers also will be happy in Hautes Pyrenees. The Atlantic and Aquitaine are not that far neither. All these activities mean that you wil be able to enjoy the area in any season.

  • Property prices: prices in Hautes Pyrenees are still very low as the area is almost unknown amongst foreigners willing to invest. Less renowned than the Gers or Aquitaine, maybe a bit less accessible, this department is really worth the investment if you like nature, the mountains and gourmet food from the south. Summers are also milder than in the neighbouring departments. And surely Hautes Pyrenees are less crowded with Brits than many other parts of France.

Local Property Market: 5 Popular Towns

  • Bagneres de Bigorre property: is ideally situated in Hautes Pyrenees, half-way between the plains and the mountains. This spa town is a modern commune full of charm. The town is close to the national Pyrenees park which has many species, and is an ideal starting-point for holidaymakers in the department. A great place to create a gite or buy a flat and rent it in any season.
  • Cauterets property: is a very successful ski resort. It is great in any season as the mountain offers plenty of activities. Sport lovers will adore this town. The scenery is breathtaking and the rental market is great if you plan to invest in an apartment property here for instance. The access is easy from the UK by plane through Pau or Perpignan, the market is thus presaging good.
  • Lannemezan property: this rural town is different form those located in the south of the department. It has clear Gascon roots and boasts much charm. It has a lovely street market and the gastronomy is important there, such as the famous Cassoulet dish which is a local pride. However the town is clearly Pyrenean, being less than one hour away from the mountain range. This can be an excellent (and cheap base) if you are looking for a ski property in France.
  • Lourdes property: is a modest town lying along the Gave River. Following apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to the young Bernadette in the late 19th century, Lourdes has become a major catholic religious town renowned internationally. The town thus draws massive crowds of pilgrims each year.
  • Saint Lary property: this lovely and authentic village is located at the heart of the Pyrenean Natural Park. It is a very sought after area owing to its large ski resort (the second largest of the French Pyrenees) and to its breathtaking natural setting.
  • Tarbes property: Tarbes is the main town of the Hautes Pyrénées department. The town has no noticeable architectural legacy but maintains strong local traditions. Prices in the town are generally higher than elsewhere in the department due to the demand and the very nice setting. The views over the Pyrenees are breathtaking and you are a stone’s throw away from Gascony, Aquitaine and the Atlantic. In winter, the most renowned Pyrenean ski slopes are hardly one hour away.
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Property Styles and Architecture in Hautes-Pyrenees

The department has many property styles as they need to be adapted to the landscape where they were built and to their different uses.

  • Chalets: these properties are ideal as holiday homes or buy-to-let investments. Their dimensions can vary depending on their use. Small mountain chalets are sufficient to practise ski but you may want more space if living all year long in the house. Traditional chalets that you can find in the Pyrenees are generally built using much wood both outside and inside the house (including walls). Their roofs are often steeply pitched and made of slates.
  • Gascon-style barns and farmhouses: this French region being a mainly agricultural one, these farmhouse properties abound. You can find them in diverse conditions and thus demanding restoration or not. Prices are very reasonable, much more than in the neighbouring Gascony. However, renovated properties can be expensive (please refer to market trends above). These properties combine the landscape of Hautes Pyrenees with a traditional desgin making use of wood and stones. Hautes Pyrenees farmhouses are good options if you plan to set up a gite as they offer plenty of space outside and inside the property. Views around are stunning in most cases.
  • Maisons de maitre: these houses are notnumerous in this department but are generally worth it. As all maisons de maitre they are grand and have many windows on their front. The inside is very luminous and rooms are massive. The roof is tiled and steeply pitched. They offer outbuildings which highlight, if needed, the sense of grandeur. Masters’ houses come with a swimming pool and a large land, which explains why prices can be prohibitive: more than €250,000 on average.

Click here for more info about the Architecture of Midi-Pyrenees.

Take a closer look at the Hautes Pyrenees property market:
Bagneres de Bigorre Property Information Cauterets Property Information
Lannemezan Property Information Lourdes Property Information
Saint Lary Property Information Tarbes Property Information