Villefranche sur Saone Property Insight

Villefranche-sur-Saône (Villefranche when shortened or Villefranche-en-Beaujolais) is a French town located in the Rhône department and in the Rhone-Alpes region. It is the capital of the Beaujolais, an area situated north of Lyon which covers the north of Rhone and the south of the Saône-et-Loire department Burgundy region). This zone is internationally renowned for being a wine-growing area but more recently for the very popular Beaujolais nouveau wine. Its 33,000 inhabitants are called the Caladois, and besides the area is sometimes nicknamed the Pays caladois.


Superbly situated between the Beaujolais vineyards and Dombes marshy plateaus (which are separated by the Saône River) Villefranche sur Saone offers a great number of activities and landscapes. Numerous types of hikes in the Beaujolais are organized all year long: family walks, sports backpacking, riding and even horse riding in the heart of the vineyards!

The sole sous-prefecture of Rhone, has all the assets of a thriving town centre proud of its identity and independence. Indeed, it is a pioneer in the industry sector: spray and working clothes invention. Moreover, the town is home to a large trade harbour which has a European size and make the town a dynamic one.

Villefranche’s heritage displays a large choice of the local art history. Romanesque art can be seen in some pieces of Notre-Dame des Marais church’s choir, whereas the rest of the monument is mainly represented by a Gothic style. Others arts are also worth seeing in the town such as Renaissance art and classic art.

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Villefranche sur Saone Immobilier & Property Market Trends

In 2009, a property in Villefranche is sold €2,292 /sq m, which is quite affordable considering the France average of €3,197 /sq m. Furthermore, remember that the town is located in the agglomeration of Lyon (less than 20 minutes). It thus benefits from this closeness which is displayed throughout the transport links, dynamism, buzzing life and so on. The town holding over 80% of apartments, it should be a good location if you are looking for a buy-to-let or a second home.

The rental market in the town is also very interesting, since more than 71% of the residents are tenants. Rental opportunities are thus numerous and the return on investment should be fast. Finding an apartment for sale is easy, but is it even easier to find a tenant to rent your property. A property is rented €9.37 /sq m a month, a price below the national average of €12.22 /sq m /month.

To get updated info about property prices in Rhone, 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 Villefranche sur Saone

  • Traditions and events: Villefranche sur Saone celebrates a peculiar event called the Fête des Conscrits. It takes place each year in January and gathers people who have the same last number in their birth year (e.g. 1989, 1999, 2009). They are defined in classe and the locals thus say classe en 9 for people born in 1989, 1999, 2009… The celebrations start on Friday with a parade. The conscrits jump and dance in the Rue Nationale before having a banquet which lasts until the night. Then, balls are organized for each classe. This event is also celebrated in the surroundings with variants however. The town houses a museum dedicated to the Conscrits. Other museums are also part of the local heritage, like the Musée du Souvenir (devoted to WWI and WWII memories and other wars) and the Musée Paul Dini (an art museum).

  • Transport links: Villefranche has a strategic location (on the way of the north south European road. A motorway leads to Marseille, Italy, Geneva and Paris (from where you can travel to everywhere). The town is 20 minutes to Lyon, 30 minutes to Lyon-Saint Exupery airport (regular flight to the UK) and 20 minutes to a high-speed train station. In others words, Villefranche sur Saone is easily reachable and transport links are well developed.

  • Rental opportunities: as exposed previously, Villefranche is an excellent market if you are looking for a buy-to-let investment. Indeed, the town houses about 70% of tenants. Thus, it will not be difficult to rent your property and your placement should be fast profitable. If you plan such an investment, you should pitch on an apartment, which are the most common kind of property in the commune.

  • Street markets: Villefranche will probably seduce its news residents with its numerous markets. Besides, a local expression says ‘it won’t last as long as Villefranche markets’. The locals are very attached to this tradition and will be please to welcome you in the covered market (created in the 1920s) and open-air markets. Organic produce, factory-made items and food can be found all week round. Not to be missed, the annual discount market in September: kilometers of bargains are on offer!

  • Wine and alcoholic drinks: the town being the capital of the Beaujolais area, it is obviously one of the best location to taste this famous wine called Beaujolais Nouveau. The latter is a vin de primeur, a red wine made of Gamay grape. It is fermented just for a few weeks and is traditionally for sale on the third Thursday of November. The bottles are usually very coloured and fanciful. A real pleasure for the palate!

Property Styles and Architecture in Villefranche sur Saone

Being located in the agglomeration of Lyon, Villefranche sur Saone has mainly apartments on the property market. For those who want to have a pied-a-terre near the third city of France in terms of population, then Villefranche seems to be a perfect location for you. The town is also great for buy-to-lets as it offers many rental opportunities.

Villefranche has no particular architectural style since composed of a great number of flats. If you are looking for a quiet place, you can choose an apartment being part of a residence. Moreover, you are more likely to have a piece of land in such properties. You can also find apartments in classic buildings but an advice is to try to buy one including a close garage.

Some detached houses may also be a solution, especially for those who want to settle in the area. You will find many one-storey properties but also town houses. Some come with a garden and swimming-pool. However, if you are looking for a villa / cottage, you may have to search in the surroundings and remote villages.

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

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