Sisteron is a town of 7,250 inhabitants, part of the Alpes de Haute Provence department, in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region. The town is gorgeous and thus nicknamed “the jewel in the Haute Provence crown” due to the style of the commune and the stunning setting around. The very assets of the town are its landscapes along with its very impressive historical wealth.
The citadel overlooking the town, on a hill, is an example of this architectural heritage, as are the cathedral, the ancient convent, the town towers and the ancitent town centre to quote but a few. The narrow streets of the old town centre is also a gem recalling similar streets in the centre of the city of Lyon, Rhone Alps.
Average price of a property in France in 2009 is €3,200 / square metre, whilst property can be rent €12.22 / square metre / month. Property in the charming town of Sisteron costs about €2,740 / square metre, which is quite cheap given the location and assets of the town. Property can easily be rented to holidaymakers and thus return on investment has rarely been so swift.
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Climate and weather: the town has a minimum of 300 days of sun per year. Indeed, this area is one of the best in the south as it combines the mildness of the south with the coolness of neighbouring mountains. Indeed, Sisteron is always described as the gateway to the Alps.
Architectural style: the town has plenty of monuments and buildings which will seduce you. The citadel is the most impressive of these monuments, built on top of the hill overlooking the town. It was designed for defensive purposes and nowadays offers a gorgeous point of view over the Durance valley. It has a majestic clock tower which was used in the past as a jail. Sisteron also accounts for a dozen of chapels and convents. The town centre has several medieval houses as well as Belle Epoque buildings. Other interesting monuments such as bridges and castles can be seen too. This draws many tourists to the area and is an everyday delight for inhabitants.
Activities: the town offers plenty of activities thanks to its history and to the environment around. Hiking is a favourite activity of the locals, which is normal given the lush nature around. Culture lovers will love the area as there are many museums and the town itself offers interesting monuments. Art is also on offer, with exhibitions and local artists showing their work all year long. Definitely a town where one will not be bored.
Transport links: this lovely French town is located along a main motorway giving access to Lyon and Paris quite easily. To the south of the town, cities such as Avignon, Marseille and Nice are easily reachable. By plane you can get to Marseille which is a mere hour away. TGV high-speed trains get to Avignon or Grenoble (Eurostar available from London St Pancras) and then a coach shuttle leads to Sisteron.
Rental opportunities: the area is still little-known and foreigners often prefer the Languedoc, Lyon or the French Riviera. However, holidaymakers and foreigners in search of authenticity will prefer Sisteron. The town and its area would be ideal to run a guest house business.
Belle Epoque buildings: the Belle Époque means "Beautiful Period”. It began in the late 19th century in Europe, until WWI. This "golden age" for upper classes was a time of economic success and wealth. Gorgeous buidings and houses often considered as palaces were built. Sisteron has several of them. They were using new decoration techniques on fronts and roofs, balconies being also decorated. Fronts had reliefs such as columns and other mouldings. Some of these properties recall Haussmann’s influence, especially when it comes to roofs.
Provençales houses: these properties are generally simple and have walls and shutters painted. Around Sisteron, some exceptional Provence properties can be seen, with hallmarks recalling Mas properties, such as a tower next to one of the gables (sometimes an ancient pigeonnier) as well as outbuildings.
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