Albert is located in the north of France, and belongs to the Somme department and the Picardy region. With 10,100 inhabitants, called the Albertins; the town is the third largest of the department, behind Amiens and Abbeville. You might find in History books or in some monuments the name Ancre, or Encre, this is because it was the former name of the town, until 1620.
Albert was created during the Gallo-Roman era, however it was officially recognized as an independent not before 1178. It was then called 'Ancre', but Louis XIII changed the name to Albert in order to forget the person after which the town was called, the Ancre Marquis. Owing to its location, on the road of invasions, Albert was destroyed seven times before 1914. As most towns and villages in Picardy and north of France, Albert was badly affected by both WWI and WWII, and after each of them the town was rebuilt and renovated.
In France in 2009 a house is sold in average €3,197 /sq m. Given the fact that a property is sold between €2,350 and €2,450 /sq m, we can say that the area is fairly affordable. Owing to its location close by Amiens, the town can be a good alternative if you like the region but do not like busy cities such as Amiens. Few small areas are to be found, as 70 % of the housing stock is made of at least 4-bedroom properties. Amongst the some 4,500, dwellings, 79 % are houses. The rental market beside offers good opportunities, as around 40% of residents are tenants.
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Culture, art and historical heritage: despite the fact that the town has been destroyed many times, it has managed somehow to preserve some of its historical and architectural heritage. Albert also displays one important museum, the 1916 Somme Museum, which is an underground museum and recounts the life in trenches during WWI. Paintworks exhibitions regularly take place and artistic expression is nurtured. As the town is a culture lover, it besides organizes original events all year long. For instance, the ‘Napoleon Day’ recounts the life of the emperor thanks to diverse reconstructions; which allow you to jump back in time.
Tranquillity and scenery: Albert is a small town offering peace and tranquillity. It belongs to the ‘poppy communauté de communes which stands out for the beautiful walks and promenades it has on offer. Countryside is the prevailing landscape of the area and the peaceful green settings are ideal to recharge one’s batteries within refreshing outdoors. Nature lovers will be under the charm of the Somme department, with the Bay of Somme within easy reach.
Architectural heritage: as most towns in Picardy, Albert stands out for its architectural style. It’s renowned for its three steeples: the one on top of the basilica, the town hall one and the railway station one. The Basilica steeple is especially renowned as during WWI a shell hit the golden virgin at the top of the steeple, making it unsteady. The picture of this unsteady virgin was taken by all soldiers and sent back to their families all around the world, illustrating the horror of the war. Albert is also renowned for having Flemish influence in its architecture. As a result, the town hall, as well as the railway station, is good example of this style of architecture.
Transport links: Albert is ideally situated, only few kilometres from Amiens (28km) and close to Nord-Pas-de-Calais. The Paris – Lille railway allows you to reach the French capital easily. This latter being a hub as regards transport, it will let you travel to many big European cities. By plane, an Albert-Leeds flight will take you only 20 minutes with the time difference. On a local scale, a bus network allows you to carefree move inside the commune but also to the surrounding towns.
Detached houses: as the town was destroyed so many times, there are no much remains of former dwellings. The main property style are town houses and detached or half detached houses. Sizes and characteristics are different as there is one single pattern. However they are fairly modern and offer all the comfort and luxury you can expect.
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