Located in the Ain department and in the Rhone Alpes French region, Belley is a town of 8,500 inhabitants. This subprefecture was historically the capital of the Bugey province because of its location on the Lyon – Geneva axis. Belley is nowadays a charming town surrounded with vineyards being a local treasure. Tours are obviously organized to discover the local wines.
Belley is located in a very green area called Bugey. The environment is made of impressive green hills and valleys which gives the impression of being literally surrounded with nature. Thus local produce such as cheese, pork meat and cakes are completely part of the culture. When it comes to property, Belley is not as expensive as other areas of Ain and can offer properties at moderate prices if you do not aim at buying a very large property. Indeed, large properties are often found at higher prices in this little-known but still sought-after part of France.
Property in Belley costs on average €1,920 / sq m. The average price of French property is around €3,200 / sq m, and in the Ain department, a property costs €2,590 / sq m. Belley thus offers quite inexpensive property. A house in the Gex sector for instance, costs up to €5,000 / sq m. Buying an apartment in Belley should cost €1,560 / sq m.
Considering these prices, any prospective buyer should remember that the rental potential in the area is very good, and that properties there are sought-after. Buying in Belley thus looks like an investment which is well worth doing, especially if you are a family with children or if you are planning to set up a gite/ guest house business, not losing the contct with the home country thanks to the neighbouring Geneva airport.
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Culture and historical heritage: the local history is rich and many monuments and buildings can be seen. Amongst these, in Belley you will find the Dallemagne house, being a witness of Belley’s industrial past. It belongs to the eponymous general. The Place des terreaux as well as its nice fountain witnessed the past centuries (this part of the town is more than 700 years old). Eventually, several mansions can be seen as well as locally renowned persons’ birth houses. Other monuments such as the bishop’s palace or the cathedral are must-see venues. A very rich town culturally and architecturally in spite of its modest size.
Gastronomy: the area has great specialities. Typical produce are the salés aux noix du Bugey, a salted tart made with locally grown nuts which is ideal with a Chardonnay wine. The Diots are local pork sausage generally eaten with potatoes, these mouthwatering sausages recall the Alsatian traditions. Other deligths are the sugar tarts and the Chartreux gratin, made with spinach, artichoke and mushrooms. The local truffles are must-taste too. These numerous assets are celebrated during the fête du four celebrations when the locals gather in villages to eat them during banquets. These events draw a lot of visitors and are ideal for expats willing to get integrated in the local community.
Wine and alcoholic drinks: the local wines and spirits are ideal when sipped with the food delights above. Museums let you discover the local vineyards, which existed already in very ancient times. Monks developed these elegant wines later on in their abbeys. White wines are based on Chardonnay, Altesse or Pinot gris amongst others. Red wines are based on Gamay Pinot noir varietals. Bubbly wines are also produced.
Tourism – sights: the area is little known but tourists are coming more and more massively. Indeed the Ain department and the town of Belley offer an easy access to the Alps, to Lake Geneva and to Switzerland, a very nice location thus. Activities are available for many types of holidaymakers such as nature and culture lovers, foodies or those of you who are keen on sport. An ideal place to invest too and run a tourism-related activity.
Location – transport links: by train: Belley is linked to Culoz and Virieu le Grand stations. You can travel by TGV high-speed train from Paris or via Eurostar then transfer to Belley. By plane: Lyon and Geneva’s airports are both 1h15 away by car and are served by most airlines, including budget ones obviously. By road, the best option is to follow Lyon’s direction then stop in Macon and drive on the motorway, leaving it 50 km from Belley.
The most obvious and frequent property style is the Bresse farmhouse. With its exposed–stone walls, the Bressan farmhouse has a massive aspect. The roof can be steeply pitched but is generally gently sloping, with red tiles on it, or Provence-style tiles. Inside, bricks can be used more or less extensively for decoration purposes. Wood is much used in a traditional Bresse farmhouse and fits well in the stone structure. These houses are ideal family or holiday properties. They also make good gite properties as their large garden can welcome a swimming pool etc.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Rhone Alpes.
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