With 468,608 inhabitants, Drome is a department part of the Rhone-Alpes French region. Its landscapes recall clearly the Provence and are similar to that of Hautes Alpes. Drome is the southernmost department of Rhone Alpes. Thus it is not surprising to see large fields of lavender, sunflowers or vineyards. This part of France recalls clearly Gascony.
A hallmark of Drôme is the many medieval buildings such as châteaux. Many towns have medieval centres too. The area is also renowned for its hearty food and olive oil production and offers many other delights more or less renowned but always authentic.
The French department offers a great quality of life, with gorgeous gastronomy specialities and lovely villages dotting the lush, coloured countryside. At the crossroads of Provence and the Alps, this is a quite little-known area close to large cities such as Lyon or Marseille, offering more moderate prices and a preserved lifestyle.
Property prices in Drome are rising – less than in surrounding areas – as available properties become rare. In spite of this, the success of the rental market is explained by the quality of life in the area and many tourism assets. Along with this, the ‘crisis’ has reduced prices to more reasonable levels in recent times.
Indeed, property in the area in 2008 can be found for €1,858 /sq metre on average. Let’s recall that the regional average is €2,167 /sq m and national average is €3,197 /sq m. Property is generally rented around €9.40 per month /square metre which is good, especially as the demand for rentals is steady.
When comparing Drome and the other departments of Rhone Alpes, it is obivous that the French department is amongst the cheapest areas in the south east of France. Here is the average price of a house in Rhone Alpes’ various areas:
Once again, Drome is a very affordable place to buy an apartment. This will ensure a very fast return on investment as the area is popular both in summer and winter.
To get updated info about property prices in Drôme, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Rhone Alpes Property Prices.
The very diversified assets of the area may explain why the return on investment is generally fast in Drome. Indeed, visitors are loyal in the area and many people eventually choose to settle, many to the west of the department, where the economy is stronger.
Location – transport links: Drome is ideal for those of you who want to relocate but not cut links with the home country. Indeed, the area is one of the most authentic in France but benefits from great transport links nearby. By plane, there are airports in Nîmes, Marseille and Lyon (all less than 1h30 driving). You can also land in Geneva. TGV high-speed trains and Eurostar shuttles come to a stop in Valence and Lyon. Many motorways link the area directly to Lyon and then Paris.
Fine wine: Drome is a place of fine wines, even if it is lesser known thn other areas of France. You can follow the wine route which will lead you from the Rhone hills to tiny villages of the Drome. The local wines are of high quality, produced over 20,000 ha of vineyards. Most wines are AOC labelled, which ensures their quality and authenticity. Most of them are reds. A famous local drink is the Clairette de Die, an inexpensive sparkling wine which can replace a Champagne.
Good food: food lovers, welcome to Drôme! Many delights are produced in the area such as olive oil or other olive specialities, sweets such as the famous nougat. Other local delights are the garlic, the Suisse de Valence (made of butter, sugar and orange, eggs, flour) bisuits, delicious raviole pasta and diverse pastries. This may explain why tourists are so loyal to the area!
Culture, art and historical heritage: a plenty of monuments and buildings can be seen in the area. Anicent abbeys such as Leoncel or Valcroissant, gorgeous cathedrals and collegiates and many castles are on ofer. Most of them are located to the west of the department, on the border with the wonderful and very wild -Ardeche.
Tourism – sights: the department is renowned for its diversity of landscapes which is so pleasant. Along with two neighbouring departments, Drome matches the former borders of the province of Dauphiné. This area has gently rolling fields featuring many colours and foreigners like to settle there as the area resembles Provence very much. Drome is honeycombed with still ‘wild’ places and isolated hamlets. The north of the department features deep valleys.
Climate and weather: the climate varies a lot depending on the location in the department. The best area to settle is the southern Drome where inhabitants enjoy a Mediterranean-style weather. 2 different winds blow on the area, the Mistral from the north, and a sea wind from the south. The first one dries the air a lot when the latter brings a more humid, mild air to the area. Rain can be frequent at times and snowfalls occur every year for three weeks on average. In Drome, temperatures are around 4°C in Janauary and 25°C in July (warmer than in the region as a whole).
Like in the rest of Rhone Alpes, Drome properties were built with local materials such as wood or earth.
Provence houses: these traditional houses generally boast coloured walls which are very pleasant and immediately make you plunge in the local laid bask atmosphere. Walls are often yellow, blue, ochre or orange. The layout of these properties is simple. Mainly red tiles are seen on roofs.
Earth-walls houses / Pisé houses: a traditional building technique in Drome is to use earth to cover walls. Obviously this is found more in rural areas than in towns. Pisé properties can also be seen. These houses have walls made of earth collected locally and melt with water to create cob. These properties generally feature yellow/ beige walls and have excellent insulation properties. They fit really well in their environment thanks to their naturally coloured walls.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Rhone Alpes.
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