Lourdes, a town of 15,000 inhabitants, is renowned as being a place of miracles. This town is quite different from others in the Hautes Pyrenees department. Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, crowds of pilgrims and miracles are associated with the town.
Lourdes was originally a small market town typical from the French department and nowadays it receives about 5 million visitors a year. The sanctuaries and religious sites draw a considerable number of visitors.
However, there is more to Lourdes than only pilgrimages. The town benefits from a breathtaking envrionment around, that of a department lying at the footsteps of the Pyrenees mountains. Of course, this means that many sports can be practised, in a stunning envirnoment. Between two sport sessions, the local gastronomy and wine will help you to rest in good conditions. The town is also very close to the Spanish border, which allows you to travel there easily.
The miracles have brought many pilgrims to the town and thus transport links are nowadays really good, with many charter fligths landing in Toulouse or in Pau, a number of high-speed trains connecting the town to Europe and access to motorways through Tarbes.
If looking for a property for sale in the area of Lourdes, you will mainly find properties located outside of the town moe than in the town centre. This is not a bad thing as the town centre could be noisy at times and the demand is higher than elsewhere. Prices in the area are quite inexpensive and bargains can really be driven. Lourdes is a bit more expensive though given the level of the demand and the fact that the town is famous in France and in Europe as well.
In 2009, it costs €1,714 / square metre to buy in Lourdes when the departmental average is around €1,661 (let’s recall that the national average for a property is €3,197 square metre). As a result many inhabitants are homeowners rather than tenants, and the majority own an apartment.
This can be explained by the fact that the town is ideally situated on the threshold of the Pyrenees – for holidaymakers – and is a major pilgrimage place for Christians. Owning a property in such an area which combines many assets is easy as the department’s offer can please everyone’s taste. A ideal market too for those of you interested in buy-to-let investments.
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Lourdes is a town with multiple facets. The obvious one is that of a very successful pilgrimage town. However, it does have many assets such as a delicious local gastronomy, access to the neighbouring Pyrenees and to Spain, access to Aquitaine and the Atlantic which are within a stone’s throw. Gascony is very close. The area also offers leisure activities all year round thanks to a lush environment, lakes, hiking paths, mountain roads ideal for cycling amongst others.
Pilgrimage town: if you are a Catholic or are sensitive to spiritual atmospheres, this town is ideal. Spiritual life in Lourdes is vibrant and active. All year long, prayers and celebrations are organised and in summer, torchlight processions take place too. The Pope regularly comes to the town too. These are actually very strong experiences and whatever your beliefs, you will definitely be moved.
Good food: the Hautes Pyrenees traditions offer great dishes. Lourdes has it own specialities which are worth tasting such as the Water sweets (made with water from Lourdes and having a mint, lemon or anise flavour). The stones from the Gave (a local river) are delicious sweets too. Chocolates are on the menu, these are traditional produce from the 19th century. The Pyrénées and Barousse must be tasted, they are very refined cheeses. You can obviously buy these produce at the market in Lourdes or directly from the producer or farmer. The Touradisse is a paste made from flour that demands hours of cooking. A very simple yet delicious produce and a true example of the ancient traditional food in Hautes Pyrenees.
Sights and activities: let’s not forget that Lourdes is in Hautes Pyrenees. This means that from any place you have a view over the Pyrenees mountains, a dramatic and strinking backdrop. Gascony is so close that you can drive there and enjoy its coloured rolling hills that recall Italian meadows. Eventually, with the Atlantic being just 1 ½ hrs from the town thanks to a good road network, any type of escapade can be improvised. The town of Lourdes itself offers plenty of cultural and sport activities.
Transport links: Lourdes is ideally located as it is close to the mountains but at the same time has access to motorways and high-speed train stations trhough Tarbes. It also benefits from Pau and Toulouse airports which are quite easily reachable from the UK. The area has the best of both worlds as it is quite calm and undepopulated but is still swiftly reachable.
ROI and rental opportunities: it is easy to rent an apartment or house in the area thanks to the assets quoted above such as many activities, a strong culture and wide gastronomy offer and access to key touristic sites from the south of France such as the Cirque de Gavarnie. The department is renowned for offering any very diversified landscapes and holiday activities. As prices are quite low, buying in the area around Lourdes means that your return on investment will be fast.
Architecture in the area around Lourdes has several hallmarks. Ofthen properties have dormer windows and steeply-pitched roofs are covered with flat tiles or slates. Windows are of large dimensions and rooms are thus luminous. Eventually, the roofs can have complex shapes with multiple gables or dormer windows which give a very particular style to these properties. Exposed stones used outside of the house are quite rare.
Click here for more info about the Architecture of Midi-Pyrenees.
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