Midi Pyrenees is the largest region of metropolitan France. It was created in the late 20th century and encompasses the following departments: Ariège, Aveyron, Gers (Gascony), Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne.
The French region has no real cultural unity as it was made up of many departments to uphold the development and legitimacy of Toulouse as a regional capital. This could be considered as a weakness but also means that this administrative and geographic area is very rich as the departments all have their particular landscape, traditional houses and local traditions.
Amongst these departments and areas, some are very renowned such as Gascony – which corresponds to the Gers department – or the Perigord and Quercy areas. Others are less-known such as the Hautes-Pyrenees department. From many angles, Midi Pyrenees is a region which has sharp contrasts. For instance, the metropolitan area of Toulouse is highly densely populated (3,500 inh. per square km) when the rest of the region is underpopulated (25 to 60 inh. per square km), the lowest densities in western Europe. Toulouse is in a way an oasis in the middle of a desert and also has a different profile: its population is younger and more educated than in the rest of the region which is clearly aging. This is a stunning contrast with calm and authentic areas such as Gascony or Aveyron.
In terms of connections with the UK, the region is really well linked. There are 4 airports in Midi Pyrenees, located in Toulouse, Tarbes, Rodez and Castres. By train, you can access the French region from Paris or Lyon in 5hrs and from Marseille in 3 1/2hrs. The Eurostar-TGV high-speed train can lead you directly from London to Toulouse or Tarbes. A large network of motorways ensures that the region is accessed easily from the UK or from France as well.
Prices (in Euros) in Midi Pyrenees vary greatly depending on the exact location. The average price of a property for sale in late 2008 is as follows:
|Tarn et Garonne||117,600||156,600||178,900||202,700||165,300|
As can be seen from the table, Haute-Garonne is the most expensive department of Midi Pyrenees, which is no wonder since the city of Toulouse is located in this department. The financial crisis has had an effect on prices in all these locations but areas where the demand is generally high (Gascony, ski stations in the Pyrenees, Lot, Toulouse) resist really well. In many areas it is definitely the moment to buy as prices have dropped like stones.
Departments in Midi Pyrenees have diverse assets such as stunning natural wonders and setting, delightful gastronomic specialities, low prices, proximity to Aquitaine and thus the sea, good economy… In Midi Pyrenees, you should find a location and property which fit your needs.
To get updated information about the house prices in the Aquitaine region, please browse our French Property market reports published in the News Section every month.
Gourmet heaven: food treasures include the cassoulet, foie gras, roquefort, cabécou and rocamadour cheese. Along with this, every single department offers gastronomy delights and specialities such as truffles, beans, onions, liqueurs as Armagnac and wines such as the Madiran, Montbazillac, Bergerac and Buzet. Sweets are also quite common such as in Hautes Pyrenees - Lourdes - or Haute-Garonne - cachou sweets.
Landscapes - climate: the region offers many different landscapes such as plains, meadows, gently rolling hills, gorges, forests, valleys and mountains. Gascony is mainly made up of agricultural areas, whereas the Hautes-Pyrenees are mountainous and offer cheap ski holidays. The climate varies a lot too, being very dry in some areas, colder and wetter in others (mountains), as this often depends on the location, nature of the soil and strength of the winds. The climate is generally pleasant with high temperatures and a constant gentle breeze.
Architecture styles: the Midi Pyrenees area is home to a number of property styles, indeed these properties – in years gone by – were built according to the needs of the owner, to the material available around (as transport links were weak) and to the budget too. In the French region you can find longères, half-timbered properties, shepherd houses, Toulousaine houses, bastides, maisons de maitre, chateaux, pebbles houses, chartreuses, rammed earth properties amongst others.
Rental opportunities: properties in this French region are quite easy to rent as the area is very appealing to foreigners. You do not even have to convince potential holidaymakers as the local climate, architecture styles, gastronomy and landscapes of any area generally speak for themselves.
Economy: the region resists really well the crisis thanks to a strong economic dynamic and to a young, flexible and well-educated population. Toulouse in particular radiates over the whole region and many positions are indeed located in or around the ‘pink town’ (the region also has very good universities). As tourism is much dynamic in the area, those of you aiming at running a guest house or different type of tourism-related activities will appreciate that Midi Pyrenees is a favourable place to settle.
Midi Pyrenees offers a very wide range of traditional architecture styles and house types, some of them existing only in the region, others being more influenced by house styles in neighbouring regions.
Longère houses: they can be found mainly in rural areas of the French region and along the border shared with Aquitaine. ‘Longère’ means lengthwise property. These houses are quite simple and made of local stones most often. Longeres are common in other areas of France such as Brittany or Aquitaine but the size or materials used often vary slightly from one to another.
Pisé houses / rammed earth properties: these houses can be found fo instance in Gascony (Fleurance…) and in the north east of the region. Pise houses refer to properties with walls made of Pisé, which is roughly earth melt with water, which means that the colour of walls is very specific to the area where the house is built (the earth is often taken from the garden behind the house). Rammed earth properties actually reflect the natural colours of the locality as local earth is used to build them. They are generally green as they are built with natural, sustainable material and are quite energy-efficient.
Ariege houses: Ariege has diverse traditional property styles. As the department had no cultural unity when it was created in the late 18th century, its traditional architecture is a mix of that of its neighbouring departments. This area has no big city thus the architecture is that of rural areas of France, simple, barely decorated and quite practical. Local material was used such as stones for walls or trees for beams. These houses are also built cleverly, to make the most of or be protected from the climate conditions namely the wind, the sun and the rain.
Typical houses from Toulouse: in Toulouse you will spot many small and simple traditional properties if you keep your eyes open. They are called Petites Toulousaines ("Smallish Toulouse Properties") and are of red colours most often which explains partially why the city is nicknamed ville rose (pink city). However, their shutters are normally painted in blue. A petite toulousaine is a small single-storey house with walls made of bricks and having a symmetrical general design.
Quercy properties: the Quercy area roughly corresponds to the current Lot department. The typical houses you can see in this area were built from the early 18th century to WWI. Of a rectangular shape, they have wide front walls and generally comprise a chimney. Stone is used to build them, which really gives a great appearance to these initially modest French properties.
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