Avignon is a walled city located in the Vaucluse department that spreads along the left bank of the Rhône River. This city is the major administrative centre of the department. Its 92,454 inhabitants are called Avignonnais. Popes settled and lived there during the 14th and 15th centuries, which explains the nickname given to Avignon: ‘the city of Popes’. The area around Avignon has an abundance of limestone that allowed the construction of numerous monuments. The 4,330m-length fortified wall which surrounds the city was indeed built with this stone.
Avignon has a long history as people already lived in the area by the time of the prehistory. The 14th century was the most important historical period for the city as Popes began to settle in the Palais des Papes (‘Palace of Popes’) and Avignon became the capital city of Christianity during the Middle Ages.
The city benefits from a Mediterranean climate characterised by warm summers and mild winters. However, the Mistral is present in the town and may blow strongly, especially in April and May.
Avignon is famous for its annual theatre festival which has been held there in July for more than 60 years now. The bridge of Avignon - pont St Benezet - is also worldwide famous. This building was built during the late 12th century. It used to span 1km but is now in ruins as a consequence of frequent swelling of the Rhône River. Avignon’s bridge offers wonderful views over the city.
Avignon is a perfect place to stay in for those who are eager to discover the Lubéron area, Camargue, the Alpilles range of mountains and all the treasures of the Provence region.
As far as real estate is concerned, Vaucluse belongs neither to the cheapest nor to the most expensive French departments. With an average price of €2,466 /square metre, Avignon is under the national average (€3,197 /sq m) in terms of house prices for a property to buy. As regards renting, the average price is of €11.6 /sq m /month.
Out of the 44,064 properties in Avignon, 83% are main houses, only 1.3% are holiday homes and more than 11% are vacant. Rentals represents an important part of the market with 61% of the population renting its property. Most of the properties of the city are apartments (65%).
A particularity of Avignon is that prices vary a lot because of the ramparts. Properties located ‘intra muros’ (within the walls) are much dearer than the ones that can be found ‘extra muros’ (outside the walls). For instance, buying a 4-room apartment within the old part of the city (intra muros) cost by the end of 2008 between €2,050 /sq m and €2,890 /sq m, whereas it cost between €1,270 /sq m and €1,710 /sq m outside the fortifications.
Property prices for a house to buy in Avignon have been decreasing from June to November 2008 due to the financial crisis but are now growing again. In March 2008, the average price was of about €2,630 /sq m.
To get updated info about property prices in Vaucluse, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur Property Prices.
Avignon is a nice city where life is pleasant. Set in a wonderful area where nature is still preserved, this city has many assets. It is definitely worth investing in the lively Avignon.
Theatre festival: Avignon is renowned for its theatre festival. During three or four weeks in summer, all the streets of the city are full of people, holidaymakers and locals who come to admire the different shows. Avignon arts festival is the oldest of France and the most famous. Contemporary theatre, classical plays, danse, mimes, street art, etc – all kind of artistic shows are held in Avignon for the greatest pleasure of everybody!
Nature: nature has an important place in the city. The rock of Doms is not to be missed when visiting Avignon. Located on the bank of the Rhône River, it offers a breathtaking panorama over the surroundings. This rock has always been a popular place for a walk or hike. The Rocher des Doms is a limestone elevation. As said before, the region has an abundance of limestone massifs such as the Massif des Angles, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, les Alpilles, etc. The hill of Montfavet is also beautiful. This wooded hill located in the east of the town is a heaven for nature lovers.
Architecture: Avignon boasts a great architecture. Its bridge is famous all over the world. Named after the man who built it, St Benezet, the bridge is now in ruins. It used to have a length of 1km but the major part of it was destroyed after the Rhône River overflowed many times. The Palace of Popes is also worth seeing. This building is the greatest construction of a Gothic style from the Midlle Ages. Being both a stronghold and a palace, the pontifical residence was the seat of the Christianity from the west during the 14th century. The Saint-Pierre church is also a great piece of architecture.
Access and transport links: the city is well linked to other French large cities, to the UK and to the rest of Europe. The city is situated close to two major motorways: the ‘A7’ (north-south axis) and ‘A9’ (north-east/south-west axis). As regards national roads, the N100 and N7 also allow to reach the city. Avignon is home to two train stations which welcome TGV high speed lines and local trains. The airport Avignon-Caumont offers regular flights to Paris and the UK.
Lifestyle: Avignon also refers to good Provencal food, famous wines of Côtes du Rhône, shopping and a fantastic art de vivre! Holidaymakers can enjoy having lunch at the terrace of a pub with a delicious wine and the sun accompanying this good moment. For those who like tasting the local produce, do try the great drinks that are on offer in Avignon. Pastis (aniseed aperitif) with grenadine, almond or mint syrup, beer with lemonade and grenadine syrup, etc. A real delight, especially when the weather is very hot.
Return on investment: due to the active cultural life of the area, tourism in Avignon will always be important. That is why investing in this city or its surroundings is really worth. There will always be a sustained demand for properties in this area and it should offer a good future return on investment.
Farmhouses: of large dimensions, these properties come with a huge piece of land and sometimes even a private swimming-pool. Renovated or not, these farmhouses are full of character. Most of the time located in the countryside – in the middle of vineyards or orchards - these properties offer tranquillity and quietness.
Town houses: these properties are most of the time semi-detached houses. They can be single-storey or one to two-storey houses. With a great location in the city that has the advantage to be close to all amenities, such properties are great for families or just a couple as their suze can vary.
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