Picardy is one of the 22 administrative regions of France. It is located north of Paris and as a result its whole history was influenced by the capital city. The region is composed of three departments: Aisne, Oise and Somme which gather around 1,890,000 inhabitants, called the Picards. Its administrative centre is Amiens and the region houses 2,292 towns and villages.
Picardy has always existed as an historical country. However its territory was different from the current administrative region. In fact, we can say that the current Picardy combines territories from the former Picardy, but also from the former Parisian Province, called the Couronne de France. Actually, only the Somme department, the north of Oise and the north of Aisne used to belong to the former province of Picardy. Almost the entire Oise and the Soissonnais (in Aisne) belonged to the Couronne de France and the other areas were part of the Champagne province or Noyon.
The fact that the south of the region used to belong to the French Kingdom and the proximity to the French capital explain the presence of many castles in Picardy, as well as the importance of towns and cities, such as Compiegne. As a matter of fact, the architectural heritage is very rich in the region, and is above all dominated by Gothic style.
Picardy is also sadly renowned for having been at the heart of the bloodiest battles during WWI, the Somme battle and the Chemin des Dames battle, along with the Verdun battle. It is useless to say that the region was badly affected by these battles, as regards the loss of many men, as well as the destruction of entire villages, forests, lands, etc. As a result, this memory heritage is one of the main attractions in the region, as tourists, especially English and Australian, like to have a thought for fellow-countryman who passed away during these battles.
Nowadays, Picardy has managed to pick itself up, probably thanks to its proximity to Paris which will never end to be an attractive city, providing employments to the region.
As far as the economy is concerned, Picardy is mainly an agricultural region (like most regions of France!). It has above all specialized in the sugar beet production (first producer in France), but it also produces wheat and potatoes. As regards its industry, Picardy is present on the plastics engineering sector, but also on the food industry of course.
|Property prices in Picardy and its 3 departments in 2009|
|Location||Apartments € /sq m||New built apartments € /sq m||Houses €|
In France in 2009 a house is sold €3,197 /sq m on abverage. Given the fact that a property is sold €2,200 /sq m in the Picardie region, we can say that the area is fairly inexpensive, especially when you take into account all the assets the area boasts (see above).
It is not surprising to see that the Somme and the Oise are the two departments where prices are higher, as the first one stands out for the beauty and diversity of landscapes (seafront, forests, plains, etc.), while the second one is closest one from Paris.
It is also interesting to mention that prices in the region have already started to increase again, which shows the dynamism of the region. Indeed, after the real estate crisis, prices fell in all over the world, and France was no exception. Today, the market seems to have recovered, however, only the most dynamic regions have their price rising again.
To get updated info about property prices in Picardie, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Picardie Property Prices.
Culture, art and historical heritage: the fabulous heritage of the region can be seen through its landscapes and its castles. You can also discover the history of the area just strolling in cities, or visiting museums. There are plenty of them for all tastes: history museum about Picardy’s past, museums to remember the bloody battles, but also museums to remember famous people who lived in the area, such as Jules Vernes. In Somme you will also have the opportunity to discover a unique prehistorical heritage, as well as vestiges of the Gallo-Roman era.
Castles: owing to the proximity to Paris as a result of being part of the French Kingdom, Picardy displays many beautiful castles, some of them being in ruins, other built in a Gothic style, or Renaissance style, but they will all tell you long about the history of the region. There are a bit less than 100 castles in Picardie, and if you have to visit only one, make it to the Compiegne castle, even though the Chantilly castle, Condé castle and Pierrefonds castle are all really worth seeing!
Architectural heritage: Picardy is renowned to be the home of the Gothic style, and this can be seen especially through its cathedrals. The most beautiful and impressive one is probably the Amiens cathedral, which stands out for being the vastest one in France, and the archetype of the Gothic style (along with Reims cathedral). It is listed a French historical monument, but also as a UNESCO world heritage since 1981. Saint Pierre de Beauvais cathedral is definitely worth visiting as well, it is renowned not to have a nave, and to have the highest Gothic heart in the world (48.50m). Do not miss neither Notre-Dame-de-, Notre-Dame-de-Senlis and Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais-de-Soissons cathedral.
Tranquillity and scenery: too close from Paris, we often forget that Picardie is a rural area which displays breathtaking landscapes and sceneries. Its countryside is moreover much diversified as it gathers forests (such as the renowned Compiegne forest), rivers, plains, but also beautiful bays (among the most beautiful in the world!), cliffs and valleys. It is a heaven for nature lovers and for people in seeking of tranquillity.
Activities: owing to its large and unbelievable natural heritage, Picardie has on offer many outdoor activities. A part from the standard hiking and biking, within deep forests, or along rivers in valleys, you can also do all kind of water activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, canyoning, rafting, etc. Speleology is another activity you are likely to do in Picardie.
Location – transport links: as previously said, Picardy’s healthiness owes a lot to its proximity to Paris. The capital city provides the region with employment, but also with all kind of infrastructures, such as airports, trains, etc. The closeness to Paris, very well linked thanks to the TER (regional trains), made Picardie close to the entire world and the whole country.
Longères: according to its name, these farmhouses have the characteristics of being very long and not very large. This is because outbuildings are laid out in a row. As in Picardy the main material used is clay and chalk, longere are not an exception, even though they also come very often with bricks. They are not huge properties as they are usually only one storey high. In average they have 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, etc. They also come with a piece of garden and sometimes with courtyard in front of the entrance door.
Half-timbered houses: this is the main housing type in France. Its characteristic is that timber frame is visible outside and sometimes inside the house, which gives an authentic appearance to the house. Timber structure is only used on the upper part of the house, while on the lower part you will find brick and stones.
Farmhouses: as Picardy is a rural region, you will not surprised to find many farmhouses on offer, especially in small villages and in the countryside. Beside the fact they were not meant to be luxurious dwellings, you will be likely to find some gorgeous renovated farmhouses. They are big properties as they come with outbuildings, which were usually also renovated and transformed into habitable part also. Features vary from an area to another, even from a village to another. However, you can be sure that the house will come with a piece of garden, will be usually 2 storey high, and will be in a quiet and peaceful place.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Picardie.
|Take a closer look at the Picardie property market:|
|Aisne Property Insight|
|Oise Property Insight|
|Somme Property Insight|