Isère Property Insight

Isere is a French department located in the Rhone-Alpes region, south east of France. Its name comes from the eponymous river, an affluent of the Rhône River. Isere is the vastest department of the region and the second in terms of population (1,180,000 inhabitants in 2007). The department has common borders with Rhône, Ain, Savoie, Hautes-Alpes, Drôme, Ardèche and Loire. The main city and prefecture is Grenoble.

The term Isere is said to come from Celtic Isar, meaning ‘iron’ (ore should have been bountiful along the Isere banks during the protohistoric period. Another legend says that the term comes from snike, with reference to the twists and turns of Isere in the Gresivaudan Valley.


Isère is an urbanised department which developed in many different sectors: paper industry, metallurgy, electronic component, food industry, chemistry, furniture… This development was successful thanks to numerous factors: quality communication network, employees’ high level of skills and numerous immigrants willing to work in France (they mainly came from Italy).

The department houses an important Anglo-Saxon community (the second in terms of number of people after Paris). They are attracted by the quality of life and sports activities thanks to the surrounding mountains. They mainly live in the Gresivaudan Valley and only stay for 3 or 4 years. A bilingual magazine is even dedicated to Anglo-Saxon people.

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Isère Immobilier & Property Market Trends

In 2009, a property is sold €3,197 /sq m on average in France. In Isere, the average property price is €2,688 /sq m, which is quite high; however this may be explained by the fact that the department is a touristy location famous for its ski resorts. Prices there are very high (about €4,000 /sq m) but you can easily find bargains and cheap properties in the countryside of Isere.

As regards rentals, the average price in France is €12.22 /sq m a month. Rental prices in Isere are above the national average i.e. €12.42 /sq m a month. The rental market in large towns and in cities is thus good, but it is even more worth in the ski resorts, where the return on investment should be fast. Welcoming a huge number of tourists in summer as well as in winter, the ski resorts offer excellent rental opportunities.

To get updated info about property prices in Isère, 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.

5 Reasons to Buy a Property in Isère

  • Ski resorts: Isere is home to many ski resorts not to be missed when coming in the department. The most famous ones are: Alpe d'Huez, Chamrousse, Les Deux Alpes, Villard-de-Lans, Les 7 Laux and Autrans. The latter is famous for its Foulée Blanche, a cross-country skiing racing. These ski resorts welcome each year a huge number of tourists which most of the time rent an apartment or a chalet. Thus, the rental market there is excellent. Isere is a great location if you are looking for buy-to-lets.

  • Gastronomy: apart from being a wonderful location for ski lovers, Isere is also famous for its gourmet food. The Grenoble walnut, an AOC produce, is used by the locals in many dishes such as salad and sauce. You can also find walnut oil and walnut wine typical from Isere! The gratin dauphinois is also a delightful speciality: potatoes cut in slices and mix with cream, milk and Gruyere cheese and cooked in the oven. Saint Marcellin cheese is usually eaten after the main dish, but is also cooked to accompany meat or starters (e.g. in sauce). At the end of the meal, drink a few centilitres of Chartreuse liqueur, this will help you digest!

  • Tourism – sights: Isere is an attractive place for ski lovers. Indeed, about 20 ski resorts make holidaymakers happy in the area. Tourism plays an important role in the department’s economy, making it a good location for an investment, especially buy-to-lets in the mountains! People come in Isere in both winter and summer, to practise many kinds of sports: skiing, paragliding, snowboarding, mountain biking…

  • Location – transport links: Isere boasts well-developed road and railway networks. It is easily reachable by train: the high-speed train travels from Paris to Milan (Italy) and serve Lyon and Chambéry. Regional trains regularly drive to these cities. Grenoble airport (40minutes from the city) offers regular flights to the UK, especially London Stansted. Motorways will let you travel in both the south and north of France.

  • Rental opportunities: Isere is both a popular tourist location and a thriving economic centre. In winter as well as in summer, the department offers excellent rental opportunities either from seasonal short term lets (visitors spending holidays there foremost to practise ski or mountain bike) or long term lets (in cities such as Grenoble, where students are pretty numerous).

Local Property Market: 6 Popular Towns

  • Alpe d’Huez Property: this is a very famous and popular ski resort in France. It welcomes each year a huge number of holidaymakers and represents an excellent location for a buy-to-let investment. In summer, tourists come to practise activities such as climbing, hiking or paragliding. Wonderful landscapes and great weather are others assets of Alpe d‘Huez.
  • Les Deux Alpes Property: this wonderful ski resort of the Isere department offers amazing sceneries in both winter and summer. An idyll for ski lovers, rental opportunities are also excellent in the area as Les Deux Alpes welcomes numerous holidaymakers all year long.
  • Grenoble Property: the prefecture of Isere has much to offer. Astonishing landscapes (many mountains around the city), easily reachable from many European cities… The aerial tramway will let you admire the beautiful view over the city and its surroundings. Grenoble offers good rental opportunities, however, property prices may be high in some places.
  • Saint Marcellin Property: famous for its cheese, Saint Marcellin is located at the heart of the moutains and offers great landscapes. From the town, you can visit beautiful natural sites in the surroundings and have a quick and easy access to the slopes.
  • Vienne Property: great archaeological monuments can be seen throughout the town. Museums will tell you the story of the ancient Vienne. This is an excellent place for culture and archeology lovers who will be immediately seduced. Close to Lyon, the town has an excellent rental market and is ideal for lets.
  • Voiron Property: this lovely town is home to the renowned Caves de la Chartreuse, where the eponymous liqueur is produced by monks. It is surrounded with mountains and sceneries are amazing. Close to the slopes and dynamic area, it is a good location for a second home or a main home. The rental market is also interesting there.
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Property Styles and Architecture in Isère

  • Apartments: many apartments can be found all over the department, especially in cities or large towns such as Grenoble or Voiron, but also in many ski resorts where the rental market is excellent. They have no particular architectural style. When built in residences, they may offer facilities like garage, parking, park… When located in mountain, they are very close to the slopes and can be rented very easily.

  • Chalets: they are mainly located in the mountains and represent an excellent kind of property for those who are looking for buy-to-lets. Holidaymakers come in the area in both summer and winter, and usually rent a property. Chalets are charming and typical properties mainly made of wood (both inside and outside). They are very romantic and offer a gorgeous view over the surroundings.

  • Detached houses: they are mainly located in the countryside, but some can also be found in towns. They are more or less luxury properties: they may be villas (modern and luxury), cottages, one-storey houses… Villas often come with a swimming-pool and a large land, whereas other types of properties hold a garden, terrace and sometimes a garage. You can find either modern properties or houses to be renovated.

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

Take a closer look at the Isère property market:
L'Alpe d'Huez Property Information Les Deux Alpes Property Information
Grenoble Property Information Saint-Marcellin Property Information
Vienne Property Information Voiron Property Information