Béthune is a lovely town of the Pas-de-Calais department, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. The town has a pleasant lifestyle and a great architectural heritage. It accounts for about 27,000 inhabitants – the Béthunois.
Bethune developed itself during the 6th century around a church built by Saint Vaast, Arras’ bishop. A castle and imposing collegial were built during the 10th century and fortifications were erected by the 12th century. Béthune has an eventful life as it successively belonged to the Spanish, Dutch and French before suffering a lot from the French Revolution and two world wars. Béthune is a typical town of northern France. Its symbol is the 47m-high belfry. Built in 1388, this monument is now listed in the World Heritage of UNESCO.
When it comes to economy, we can say that Béthune is an old coal mining town. The medieval town indeed grew spectacularly when the coal-mining started in the north of France in the 19th century. Nowadays, industries which are present in the town are the food-industry, mechanics and chemical industries. Béthune belongs to the active community of communes of Artois which gathers 59 towns, that is to say 200,000 inhabitants.
When it comes to property prices, Béthune has an affordable price in comparison with the national average: €2,168 /square metre against €3,197 /square metre in 2009. Properties are pretty expensive in the Pas-de-Calais department. With an average price of €3,723 /square metre, property prices in the area are more expensive in general that in the neighbouring departments: €2,595 /sq m in Nord and €2,495 /sq m in Somme. As regards rentals, the average price is very high if we compare it with the national one: €17.65 /sq m /month against €12.22 /sq m/month.
In May 2009, the price per square metre for a house to buy in Bethune was about €1,830. It cost about €2,400 /square metre to invest in an apartment at the same period. As more than 56% of the inhabitants rent their property, there may be opportunities on the rental market. Almost 92% of the properties are main homes and the proportion of second homes is very low: 1.5%. There are still 6.6% of vacant dwellings, so you may easily find a nice property in Béthune.
To get updated info about property prices in Pas-de-Calais, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Nord Pas de Calais Property Prices.
Monuments and architectural heritage: like many towns in the north of France, Béthune was almost entirely destroyed during WWI. The town centre was rebuilt in a Flemish style with red-brick buildings, typical stepped gabled houses and also some art-deco ones. Apart from the 14th-century belfry listed by UNESCO, the towns monuments or places of interest are the following ones: the nice town hall (historical monument), Saint-Vaast church, undergrounds (called ‘boves’) where the inhabitants hide during WWI, Récollets old church, Saint-Ignace tower (15th-century artillery tower), Beaulaincourt hotel (historical monument), etc.
Activities: the town houses amongst others an ice rink and golf course, as well as many sport facilities. A regional Museum of Ethnology is also located in Bethune. Moreover, the town is home to designer clothing shops, interior design shops and fine delicatessens. Events are also organized all year round. Do not miss the 3-day festival Z’arts Up in May, when artists perform in the streets of the town, dancing, singing and so on.
Lifestyle: as said before, Béthune has the features of northern France towns: a fascinating history, rich architectural heritage, many local traditions, a belfry, narrow and paved streets, etc. The main square is paved and houses the street markets every week as well as many shops and cafés. It is really pleasant to stop in the town, have a drink at the terrace of a café and enjoy the architecture of this lovely town. Why not go up the belfry to have a great panorama over the area?
Location – transport links: located only 55 minutes from Calais, between Arras and Saint-Omer, Bethune has a good location in the department as it is just off the A26 motorway which links Calais to Troyes. So reaching the town from the UK is very easy if you take the ferry to Calais. Regional trains also allow people visiting the area.
Town houses: located in the town centre, these properties are attached and have pretty small dimensions but a very practical layout. As for the majority of houses in the north of France, the construction material used are red bricks. But some town houses were built using other materials such as stone or simply cement. Town houses are generally one-storey properties, their roof have red or brown tiles. There is a car park in front of the properties and generally a small garden behind. Town houses are perfect for a first investment.
Detached houses: these properties have bigger dimensions and may be situated in the countryside (villages around Béthune) or in the town centre. Detached houses belong most of the time to housing estates. They are all quite similar: a roof with red or brown tiles, whitewashed or painted walls with coloured shutters and garage door, one storey, etc. There are a piece of land with grass and a garage and car park on the front of the house and a garden behind, as well as a cellar. These properties are great as they enable people to live in a quiet area and have relationships with their neighbours given the proxomity of the properties and conviviality of the residences.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Nord Pas de Calais.
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