Forcalquier is a commune of 4,600 inhabitants located in Alpes de Haute Provence, in the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region. The architecture of Forcalquier and of surrounding villages show the dynamism of medieval constructions. Formerly an important trading town, the commune quickly became a feudal and religious centre. Based upon a rich heritage, Forcalquier is now a typical Provencal town where life is simply enjoyable.
This area is typically Provencal. Mountains are close and the scenery is simply outstanding. The Lure mountain cuminates at 1,826m and is regularly snowy in winter. Forcalquier lies at 500m altitude and benefits from a continental climate with relatively moderate precipitation. It has furthermore one of the clearest sky in France.
It nestles plenty of nature wonders and curiosities to discover. Remains of ancient Provencal monuments lie in middle of preserved green surroundings where landscapes seem directly drawn of impressionist paintings. The locals are welcoming people and particularly desirous to share the so pleasant 'art de vivre' of South France. Forcalquier definitely has lots of assets on offer and boasts a very unique atmosphere worth to experience.
It is besides one of the rare towns in France to be acknowledged as “place of outstanding gastronomy”. The town indeed offers great goat cheese and olive oil made from a local plant as well as aperitif drinks. So why not allow you to be tempted to taste all the local delights? Imagine yourself enjoying the beautiful scenery on a sunny terrace rocked by the cicadas' song...
Property in France in 2009 costs about €3,200 /square metre on average. Below are figures which will allow you to compare prices at the national scale and property prices in Alpes de Haute Provence. As you can see below, a small property in Forcalquier is quite cheap but rapidly increases if you wish to buy a larger house. Apartment prices in the town are also way below the national average prices.
This shows the excellent potential of Forcalquier in terms of buy-to-let investment or even to buy a second home in the area. Nature and sport lovers should obviously be the first holidaymakers to target. Forcalquier is a favourable market for gite and guest house businesses as you will be able to buy for a cheap price and rent at the highest levels (currently €1,590 /square metre in the area).
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To get updated info about the property prices in Alpes de Haute Provence, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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Culture, art and historical heritage: the town boasts a number of cultural and historical places. The most renowned are the Our Lady cathedral, the convent with its ancient cloister, the citadel, the viaduct but also many temples and churches. Fountains are also great and recall ancient times when the town accounted for 10,000 inhabitants.
Good food: Forcalquier offers a range of local dishes which are worth the journey. The Pastinade is a sort of paté with different tastes like sardines, vegetables, olives or cheese. A pure delight to be eaten on bread. Banon cheese is a little-known gem. Its taste is a mix of strength and softness. It is best when eaten with a rustic bread and a (French, obviously) white wine. The milk is obtained only from local cows, with strict rules of production. Olive oil is also produced in the area, many varieties are available. A good way to taste the country.
Sport and nature lover’s heaven: many sports can be practised in the town such as tennis, fishing, swimming pool and martial arts. The area has wonderful sceneries, ideal for strolls. You can hike or discover the area cycling or horse riding. Paths are marked and offer great views over the canyon. The sea is also hardly 80km from there. These breathtaking landscapes partially explain prices in the area.
Transport links: the department is accessed through the A7 or A51 motorways. High-speed trains can be caught in Avignon, with a direct shuttle by coach to the station. Marseille and Avignon airports are connected with London Gatwick and Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, Exeter, Edimburgh and Leeds Bradford amongst others. A swift journey indeed, though the area could be described as remote. Excellent for rentals as holidaymakers can reach Forcalquier easily.
Return on investment: property in the area is quite cheap compared to the national average and given the lush nature around. Those of you who already travelled to the Forcalquier area will understand, as the department is a mix between Italy, Gascony and the Alps. ROI can be quite fast in the area especially if you have a rental project / buy-to-let opportunity (please refer to Property Market Trends above).
Maisons provençales: in Forcalquier, these properties have warm colours such as orange, red, ochre. Soft colours can be found as yellow or pink. They can be either town or detached houses. They fit in the environment really well as they are made from local earth (the ochre colour notably is obtained from local material).
Maisons de Maitre: they are rare in the area but you may spot some. They offer a classic Bastide layout (which means symmetrical), with luminous rooms which are perfect for warm places. The stone was most often extracted locally. These properties can however be quite expensive.
Provence Mas: these houses are generally ancient farmhouses made of local stones. They boast large dimensions and thus make ideal guest houses. Originally a farm, they have specific features such as outbuildings and a specific orientation to have the dominant wind facing the rear. They are great to keep warmth in the house during winter and keep it out during summer.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur.
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