Ardèche is one of the departments forming the Rhone-Alpes region. Its name comes from the eponymous river which runs through the area. The department accounts for 306,238 Ardéchois. Geographically speaking, the territory of the Ardeche department corresponds approximately to the former French province of Vivarais. The administrative centre of Ardeche is the town of Privas, the two sous-préfectures being Largentière and Tournon-sur-Rhône.
The area can be divided in three major parts. Ardèche méridionale is the southern part of the department. It is also the most popular area amidst holidaymakers. The mountainous area of Ardeche is a wild and few populated plateau (1,000m altitude). The northern part is called Ardèche verte as it has great greenery on offer.
The Ardeche department is full of diversities. Different climates coexist in the area: a temperate climate in the north, a mountainous one in the west and a Mediterranean one in the south. The locals boast varied landscapes and tranquillity. Ardeche is one of the French departments where there is the greatest number of forests: 45% of the territory is covered by woods. The eastern part of Ardeche is bordered by the Rhone valley which offers great views and numerous places of interest.
As regards the economy of the area, tourism and agriculture are the two main fields which bring income. With 4,000 people employed in the tourism sector and over 16.6 million of overnight stays in 2006, Ardeche is definitely a very touristy area. Agriculture is also important in the area. Indeed, 50% of the chestnuts produced in France comes from this department (AOC châtaignes d’Ardèche).
With an average price of €1,818 / square metre for a property to buy, real estate is pretty affordable in Ardeche. Indeed, housing prices of departments such as Rhône and Savoie are much higher (respectively €2,800/sq m and €2,994/sq m). Prices in the department are also very low in comparison with the national average of 2009: €3,197/square metre. In 2008, it cost about €1,530/square metre to buy an apartment. As regards new apartments, the average price was of €2,690/square metre.
Prices for houses in 2008 were as follows:
More than 74% of the properties are detached houses and almost 64% of the inhabitants of the department own their properties. Besides 77% of the properties are main homes. There are still bargains to be driven in the area. Why do not invest in a lovely property and settle in Ardèche for relaxing times?
To get updated info about property prices in Ardèche, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to learn more about Rhone Alpes’ Property Prices.
Thanks to its breathtaking landscapes and quality accommodation facilities, Ardèche became one of the most appreciated tourist destinations in France amongst foreign holidaymakers as well as French citizens. The area has many assets which will easily convince you to spend time over there.
Tourism – sights: Ardeche is characterised by an unspoilt nature and wonderful scenery. Many great places are to be discovered in the area. Here are just a few ones which are worth a visit. Between Vallon Pont d’Arc and Saint Martin d’Ardèche, the Ardeche river gorges are definitely not to be missed. They belong to the most beautiful canyons of France. Listed as nature reserve since 1980, these gorges are 35km long and offer an unforgettable show. Ardeche is home to the largest natural arch in Europe: the Pont d’Arc stands an impressive 66m high and has a span of 34m. Païolive wood is located close to Les Vans. Oak trees and amazing natural limestone rocks coexist in this 16km-long forest. The Ray-pic waterfall, Ardeche’s Natural Regional Park and its outstanding mountains (Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc, Mont Mézenc, Mont Fol, etc.) and the numerous caves (Chauvet, Saint Marcel d’Ardèche) and potholes (Orgnac, Marzal and Forestière potholes) are also places of interest that will delight nature lovers. The area is also home to numerous castles, museums, medieval villages...
Gourmet food: the Ardeche department boasts a great local gastronomy. Do taste – amongst others - the caillette (kind of bowls made of pork meat, eggs, spinach, herbs and spices), crème de marrons (sweet chestnut jam), crique (potato pancakes) and cousina (chestnut soup), you will not be disappointed!
Activities: the area offers a large choice of activities such as mountain biking, hiking, horse-riding, trekking, but also rock climbing, canyoning and caving. Canoeing with its numerous rivers and streams, Ardeche is much appreciated by canoe and kayak lovers.
Rental opportunities: given the popularity of the department amidst both French and foreign holidaymakers, investments in properties in the area are profitable. The demand in dwellings is sustained and the property market is really thriving. Thus there are great opportunities in Ardèche in terms of real estate. Do not hesitate to invest and settle in this lovely part of France, you can’t help loving this area!
Wine: the numerous vineyards of Ardeche produce excellent wines. From the AOC Côtes du Rhône around Cornas and Saint-Péray (north) to the ones in the surroundings of Bourg-Saint-Andéol, going through the AOC Côtes du Vivarais, the department has many delicious wines on offer. Wine lovers will enjoy tasting the local wines while visiting a cellar or simply at the terrace of a bistrot with some friends!
Stone properties: whether they are farmhouses or villas, many properties in Ardeche are constructed of stone. They are all full of character and offer great views in most of the cases. They may be in need of renovation, which is great for those who love doing some works. Inside the property, walls are made of stone and cement and wood beams compose the ceiling. These properties, when they have large dimensions, may come with a large piece of land, a wood or even a swimming-pool.
Villas: building materials may vary for this kind of properties, stone and cement being the most common used. Walls are sometimes whitewashed and painted in colours such as beige, yellow or orange, giving a Provencal style to the house. Villas offer good dimensions, numerous rooms and a large garden as well as a garage, a swimming-pool and potentially outbuildings. These properties are more likely to be found in the southern part of the department, as the Languedoc Roussillon region is not far.
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