Somme is one of the three departments of the Picardy region, the other ones being Aisne and Oise. It is situated in the north west of the region, and is the only department to have access at the coast. Its administrative centre is Amiens, which is also the administrative centre of Picardy. The department gathers around 555,550 inhabitants, called the Samariens, living in 782 towns and villages.
Somme’s history is very old, as traces of humans in the territory date back to the prehistory. As a matter of fact, many prehistoric vestiges were discovered, and some places of the department gave their name to prehistoric period: Abbevillian and Acheulean. The area was then dwelt by different Gallo-Belgium people, before being colonised by Romans.
During the Middle Ages, towns of the area expanded behind fortresses and ramparts. However this was not enough to resist the English enemy, and the department suffered from the 100 years war. Between Renaissance and the Revolution, the area was at the heart of frontiers struggles, but also was expanding thanks to the textile industry promoted by Colbert, Louis XIV’s minister.
The department was very badly affected by WWI, especially during the Somme battle. Not only thousands of soldiers were killed, but also the landscape, infrastructure, land, forests and entire villages were destroyed. The post war was fairly hard for the department; however it managed to move on.
The Somme department offers also breathtaking landscapes where nature is omnipresent, from seafront, to forests, including lakes and rivers. The Somme Bay is even listed amongst the most beautiful bays in the world!
|Property prices in Somme in April 2009|
|Property types||Price € /sq m||Average price €||Average area|
|Somme Total Average||€2,472 /sq m|
In France in 2009 a property is sold €3,197 /sq m on average. Since in Somme a house is sold €2,472 /sq m, we can say that prices are still fairly affordable. However it might not last and it is NOW the best moment to invest in the department. As a matter of fact, in April 2009 prices have increased by 11%, and the trend does not seem to change direction. If we compare to the regional average (€2,200 /sq m) we realize that the department is the most expensive. This can be explained by the fact that it gathers many assets, such as Amiens, which is the largest city of the region, but also the seafront.
As regards the rental market, the Somme department offers good opportunities, especially as prices are rather low. Indeed, while the national average is around €12.20 /sq m /month, the department average almost reaches €14.50 /sq m /month! Such prices will guarantee you quick return on investment.
To get updated info about property prices in Somme, 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 Somme department is a very rich area which gathers many assets, from historical heritage to architectural heritage, including culture and art. As already mentioned, first traces of humans in Somme date back to the prehistoric times. As a matter of fact, the archaeological heritage is also very rich in the department. Near Amiens you can visit the Samara archaeological park, where you will learn about 600,000 years of History! In Saint Acheul archaeological garden where found the first cutting flint, etc. As far as culture is concerned, there are some interesting museums worth visiting, such as the Jules Verne’s home, the Picardy museum in Amiens, the Grande Guerre museum, the Somme 1916 museum, etc.
Architectural heritage: architectural heritage in Somme is rich and diversified. In addition to beautiful castles, the area stands out for its underground dwellings and town. This Muches, which means ‘hiding place’ in the local language, were used during wars and struggles by the population in order to protect themselves. They are a true village, 3kms long and gather everything required in order to live: bedrooms (300 of them), public squares, cowsheds, wells, fireplace and even a chapel! The religious heritage in the department is also rather impressive, especially the Amiens cathedral. Picardy in one of the regions where the Gothic heritage is the largest, and Somme is not an exception of it. Do not miss amongst others the village of Rue which gathers many beautiful monuments.
Castles: there are many castles in Sommes, vestiges of the Middle Ages. The most impressive one is doubtless the Rambures castle, which stands out as it has a circle shape. It was built during the 15th century and is a perfect example of the military architecture. Henry IV used to go and sleep in the royal bedroom a few times. There are many other castles in the department called as ‘brick and stone’, which remind us that the area is mainly composed of chalk and clay.
Natural environment: the Somme department is a perfect area for nature lovers. They will be delighted and charmed by both the beauty of landscapes and the diversity of its fauna and flora, not to mention the tranquillity and peacefulness. The department also stands out for the diversity of its landscapes: huge green plains, seafront with beautiful bays, cliffs, valleys, forests, etc.
Beautiful bays: Picardy boasts an impressive seafront which stands out for its diversity and its rich heritage. Its 70kms offer many different landscape and features: from the pebble beaches, to the white sand beaches, including sharp cliffs and long bays, Somme beaches will amaze you! Not to mention the lovely and touristic villages along the seafront, rich of a beautiful architecture. Saint-Valery-sur-Somme is a lovely medieval village, while Mers-les-Bains and Ault stand out for their Belle Epoque architecture. You will be charmed by the lovely fishing village of Crotoy and by the dunes and pine forest in Quend-Plage and Fort-Mahon.
Villas: located mainly along the seafront, these properties offer you all the luxury you coull have dreamed of. Also called Pavillon in French, they are located some minutes from the beach and offer breathtaking view over the bay and the ocean. They are usually very large, at least 2 storey high, and they come with a huge garden and sometimes with a swimming pool. They are the perfect investment either for a holiday house, or for a buy-to-let as demand is very high is the area.
Half-timbered houses: history is omnipresent in Somme and this is can be seen also through the architecture. Many villages and towns have managed to preserve their authenticity and have on offer many beautiful and impressive half timbered houses. They come with a closed courtyard, and with a parking. Inside the house you will find a living room with a fireplace, a kitchen, a dining room and a staircase. On the first floor there are the bedrooms. In the whole house the timber structure is apparent, which gives a touch of authenticity. Of course it is also apparent outside, in the facade of the house.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Picardie.
|Take a closer look at the Somme property market:|
|Albert Property Information||Amiens Property Information|