Rhône Alpes Property Insight

Rhone Alpes is a French region composed of eight departments: Rhone, Isère, Drome, Ain, Haute Savoie, Loire, Savoie and Ardèche. The major city is Lyon, the third city of France in terms of population. Rhone Alpes is the second region of France in terms of area, economy and population (6,121,000 inhabitants). The region boasts borders with Italy and Switzerland. It is the only region of France to be in competition with the Ile de France region as regards its attractivity and economic or demographic weight.


Rhone Alpes stretches from the Massif Central to the west to the Alps to the east. Between these two mountainous massifs is the Rhone Valley. The Massif Central includes the Monts du Beaujolais, where is produced the famous popular wine Beaujolais Nouveau. Surrounded with many mountain ranges, the region is the best place for skiing, the largest ski area being located in Savoie (Les 3 Vallées). Lakes are also part of the scenery and offer quietness and tranquillity.

Rhone Alpes is home to the famous football club, the Olympique Lyonnais (also called OL). The club won the French championship (Ligue 1) seven years straight, a record that no other French club matched. Grenoble football club has also been playing in Ligue 1 since 2008. Lyon, Grenoble and Bourgoin Jallieu are also renowned in rugby, Chambéry in handball, Grenoble, Chamonix, Villard-de-lans and Morzine in hockey, Villeurbanne in basketball…

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Rhône Alpes Immobilier & Property Market Trends

Property prices in Rhone Alpes and its 8 departments in 2009
Location Apartments € / sq m New built apartments € / sq m Houses €
Ain 2,130 3,260 226,500
Ardeche 1,540 3,180 172,000
Drome 1,520 2,510 205,400
Haute Savoie 2,970 3,670 362,900
Isere 2,320 3,040 231,400
Loire 1,350 2,590 164,700
Rhone 2,500 3,260 284,400
Savoie 3,120 3,710 240,900
Rhone Alpes 2,440 3,330 246,200

In 2009, a property in France is sold €3,197 /sq m on average. In Rhone Alpes, prices differ depending on the departments. If some sought-after areas such as Haute Savoie, Savoie, Rhone and Isère are expensive, they however represent excellent opportunities for buy-to-lets; being indeed very popular in both summer and winter thanks to its ski resorts. Other departments like Ardeche and Loire are much less expensive and have other assets: scenery, quietness… In any case, it is always possible to drive a bargain in the region for cheap properties can easily be found in the countryside or in remote villages.

To get updated info about property prices in Rhone Alpes, 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.

6 Reasons to Buy a Property in Rhône Alpes

  • Gourmet food: food lovers will immediately be seduced by the region. In Rhone Alpes, you will have too much to choose from. Cheese is one of the gems of the region’s specialities: Fourme d’Ambert, Saint Marcellin, tome, picodons, pétafine and so on. Rhone Alpes is also a heaven for those who have a sweet tooth: cousins lyonnais, bugnes, Ardeche chestnuts, palais d’or… are not to be missed! Besides, it is famous for its meat specialities, cooked meats, salads, olives, ravioles… And last but not least, the region offers a great choice as regards wine: Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Clairette de Die, Savoy wine… Some liqueurs are also delightful, especially the Chartreuse.

  • Tourism: located between Paris and the French Riviera, at the borders of Italy and Switzerland, Rhone Alpes is at the junction of Europe. Two international airports and well-developed road networks make it easy to access. Eight natural parks, lakes and unique sites such as the Mont Blanc and Gorges de l’Ardèche will let you admire the outstanding landscapes (vineyards, mountains, valleys, lavender fields…)

  • Activities: a wide range of sports is available in a fabulous environment. Hiking, skiing, mountain biking, paragliding or canoeing are the most famous ones amongst the adventurers. Rhone Alps is also home to the largest ski area, with over 60 paths. It welcomed the Winter Olympic Games three times. Art and culture lovers will not be disappointed: Lyon is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Other art cities are also worth visiting: Valence, Grenoble, Chambery and Saint Etienne.

  • Mountains: from Rhone Alpes, the slopes are very easily reachable in less than 1 hour, depending on where you are. The region is an idyll for ski lovers, but also for mountain lovers, who will be able to have a go at many activities in summer. Ski resorts in Rhone Alpes are absolutely not to be missed when settling in the region: amazing scenery, quietness, mountains art de vivre… Rhone Alpes boasts the largest ski area of the world, and many other great ski resorts.

  • Location – transport links: numerous cities of Rhone Alpes are served with the high-speed train (Lyon, Valence, Chambery, Grenoble, Saint Etienne, Montelimar). Its four airports (Grenoble, Lyon, Saint Etienne and Annecy) will let you travel in a great number of destinations: UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium and so on. The road and motorway network is also well-developed: it is a European junction and the heaviest of province. It leads to the 4 cardinal points of France. Public transports are also developed in Lyon, Saint Etienne and Grenoble (tramway in all these towns and subway routes in Lyon).

  • Rental opportunities: Rhone Alpes is home to many popular tourist locations - especially ski resorts in Isere, Savoie and Haute Savoie - which makes it a perfect location for those who are looking for a buy-to-let. But the region is also a thriving economic centre, in particular around the main cities such as Lyon, Grenoble, Chambery and Saint Etienne. Moreover, Lyon being a student city, the rental market is excellent not only there, but in the whole region as well.

Property Styles and Architecture in Rhône Alpes

  • Chalets: they are located in mountainous areas, especially in ski resorts (Haute Savoie, Savoie and Isere). Chalets are mainly made of wood which give it so much charm, but the foundations are often made up of stone. They are romantic properties ideal for holidaymakers or couples looking for quietness. Since situated in the mountains, they offer amazing landscapes over the surroundings.

  • Pisé houses: they may be found in the Isere department and were built in the 1940's. The Pisé is a mix of earth and water, i.e. a green material. Their colour may change slightly at some moments of the day according to the exposure to the sun. Such properties are very typical and charming. A major asset is that pisé houses, also called cobworks, will allow you to save energy during the building of the property (modern techniques require much more energy than pisé houses).

  • Farmhouses: they are large properties originally inhabited by farmers. The building of such a property is simple and the materials used are often cheap (farmers not being well-off people). They are located in the countryside and come with outbuildings, courtyard, large land… They offer great scenery and tranquility. They are widespread all over the region, due to the high number of vineyards in the area.

Click here for more info about the Architecture in Rhone Alpes.

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For a deeper insight:
Ain Property Insight
Ardeche Property Insight
Drome Property Insight
Haute Savoie Property Insight
Isere Property Insight
Loire Property Insight
Rhone Property Insight
Savoie Property Insight