Niort is the ‘county town’ of the Deux Sevres department, to the north west of the Poitou Charentes region. The town was initally a Roman agglomeration. It later became an important political and religious centre but this did not last. However, large leather industries settled in the area.
Nowadays, the economy of the town relies a lot on large insurance companies which set their headquarters in and around Niort. The third sector there employs around 20,000 people. The town is thus the 4th financial centre in France in terms of size, after Paris, Lyon and Lille. With 60,000 inhabitants for the town itself and about 126,000 with its agglomeration, Niort is quite a calm town, as is the department of Deux Sevres in its whole.
The town is located on the banks of the Sevres River which gives its name to the department. Niort is located next to the Marais Poitevin which are humid marshes nicknamed “the Green Venice”. Along with charming forests and landscapes around, many castles and a swift access to the coast, this is the main touristy area of this discreet town whose assets are clearly little-known.
The average price of a property in France is €3,197 per square metre. In Niort in 2009, the average price is €1,757 /square metre and the average rental price is €8.88 /square metre /month (data from INSEE- national statistics institute).
As in other French regions, the market trends show that prices which increased in recent years have been slowing down. However house prices in Niort are very accessible with, for example, 4-bedroom properties costing between €130,000 and €185,000 depending on the location. Apartments prices have increased however, by 10% in 2008.
New apartments are more expensive with prices soaring at around €3,280 /square metre which is above the national average. The figure is also €300 above the regional prices. This can be explained by the shortage of apartments in the town as most people in and around Niort prefer to live in a detached house. As property prices are low and the scenery is so pleasant, living in an apartment could be a pity, especially in summer.
To get updated info about property prices in Poitou Charentes, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Poitou Charentes Property Prices.
Transport links: one of the assets of Niort, which is also that of Poitou Charentes, is the transport links. This small region benefits from 3 airports in La Rochelle, Poitiers and Angouleme, offering mainly European flights and regular ones to the UK (mainly London, Birmingham and Dublin). All are located within one hour by car from Niort except Angouleme (1h30). The flights last 1h20 to get to London. TGV high-speed trains stop in Niort and take you to Paris in 2h15 or Bordeaux in 1h30. The town is also at the crossroads of 3 motorways leading mainly to Paris (4hrs), Nantes (1hr30), Tours (1hr30) and Bordeaux (1hr30).
Good food: the area has lots of hearty food on offer. Niort offers specialities based on Angelica, a local plant. If you settle in the area, you will become a specialist of delightful recipes and dishes such as the Tourteau Fromagé cake, the Farci poitevin stew, the many cheeses produced in the region or the great seafood on offer. It is said that oysters from the neighbouring Atlantic coast are the best in France as they received many quality awards. The region also offers great Brandy wines like Cognac and Niort has also a cake speciality: the Scofa. The locals are quite enthusiastic when it comes to this crunchy, delicious cake made by local catholic monasteries. These specialities draw quite a lot of people to the area, which can be good for tourism-related activities.
Tranquillity and scenery: Niort and its surroundings boast gently rolling hills and beautiful landscapes sometimes similar to that of the Gers. It is the strength of the area to combine a delightful weather, calm environment and cheap property prices along with an easy access to the rest of France and to the UK. 10 minutes from Niort, you will also discover the stunning Marais Poitevin, a very romantic and calm place. There is also a handful of lakes in the department which will refill your batteries and make your stress vanish.
Climate and weather: Niort and the region have one of the best climates in France. The area is not too hot thanks to the proximity of the sea but still is the second sunniest region of France. Combined with cheap property prices, this is an excellent alternative to Aquitaine or other much more expensive areas in the south. The areas of Charente and along the coast in Charente Maritime are also excellent for rental opportunities.
Lifestyle: the lifestyle in Poitou Charentes is quite relaxed. People like to enjoy life, take the time to live and appreciate simple things and the nature. If you are a nature lover and a bon vivant, you will definitely be seduced by Niort and its region. Many places are still little-known by foreigners, such as castles that you can visit (Oiron, Coudray-Salbart, etc.) or ancient villages Parthenay, Melle) really worth a visit.
Click here for more info about the Architecture of Poitou Charentes.
|Take a closer look at the Deux Sevres property market:|
|Bressuire Property Information||Chef Boutonne Property Information|
|Melle Property Information||Parthenay Information|
|Sauze Vaussais Property Information|