Languedoc Property For Sale
Languedoc-Roussillon is a vast area of southern France, covering the region between the Rhone in the north, and the Pyrenees Mountains in the south. Throughout its long and varied history, the area has changed hands many times, and the Catalonian influences are strong. In fact, it was not until the 16th century that the French finally gained possession of this much prized region. Even the name, Languedoc, stems from the language once spoken here. In such a large area, you can expect all manner of stunning Languedoc properties, from rustic farmhouses overlooking fields of sunflowers, to studio apartments in medieval towns to typical Mediterranean villas with swimming pools.
The climate is typical for the South of France, with long, hot summers and pleasant, sunny winters. Inland, under the imposing shelter of the mountains, the seasonal variations are more pronounced; but the sandy, Mediterranean beaches that border the region to the east are worth a visit in any season. Imagine relaxing beside a pool, soaking up the sun and looking out across the countryside from your own terrace.
As would be expected, food and wine production is abundant in Languedoc. The hills and mountains are dotted with sheep and goats, which produce the speciality cheeses of the area. The valleys are filled with fields of olives, fruit and lavender. Wine has been produced in the region for over 2,000 years, and the whole region abounds with vineyards. All along the coast, fresh fish and shellfish are caught daily, allowing a wealth of gastronomic delights.
The diversity of Languedoc is almost unparalleled. As well as drawing visitors who come solely to partake in the exquisite food and wines, there is something to suit all tastes. The beaches, washed by the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea, are both a haven of relaxation and an opportunity to try water sports of every description. Inland, the mountains provide inspiration for painters and hikers alike, both enjoying the breathtaking scenery in their own way. In the towns, there are cookery courses, unrivalled for their fresh and tasty ingredients, museums, art galleries, and sites of historical interest.
Most of the towns and villages in the Languedoc region hold numerous fetes and festivals during the year. These are as varied as Languedoc itself, and include outdoor theatre shows, food and wine festivals and authentic medieval fairs, to name but a few. With the Spanish influence strong in the region, traditional bullfights are common. Of particular note are the 'Course Camarguaise', which retains tradition while ensuring no harm comes to the bull, and the ‘fete votive’, where bulls are allowed to run the village streets. These are held in numerous villages around the region throughout the year. Most towns hold regular markets, still held in the historic market squares. The local food produce on sale is varied, but renowned for its freshness. Other markets are held for non-food items, such as the antique fairs offering many bargains. Properties in the Languedoc region can be found for as little as 50,000 euros or less, or at the other extreme, exceeding 20 million euros.
The sports facilities offered by Languedoc are too varied to list, having everything from paragliding to scuba diving, and everything in between.
Languedoc-Roussillon is comprised of five departments; north to south these are: Lozere, Gard, Herault, Aude, and the Pyrenees Orientales. All but Lozere, with its breathtaking scenery from the mountains, border the sea.
The Gard is named after the river which runs through the department, inciting the Romans to settle and make Nimes the ‘Rome of France’. The Rhone delta is also situated in this department, where pink flamingos have been known to search for food along the marshy banks. Gard has numerous sporting opportunities, including canoeing in the Gorges du Gardon, horse riding in the oak forests or mountain biking following the route of the Roman aqueduct.
Herault, the most prolific wine-producing area in France, has a wealth of beautiful scenery. From scrubland to forests, to long, sandy beaches, Herault has it all. The 'Bassin de Thau', a spectacularly huge lagoon in the south of the region draws visitors and shellfish hunters alike.
The department of Aude is known for both its wine and its historic castles and abbeys. As well as miles of unspoilt sandy beaches, Aude’s famous Canal du Midi runs through the department, offering the opportunity for barge holidays.
The Pyrenees-Orientales has a distinctly Catalan feel, having been, until fairly recently, a part of Spain. Its landscape is diverse, with beaches, mountains, vineyards, valleys that climb to the Pyrenees, and flat inland plains. Leisure possibilities including skiing on the high plateau of the Cerdagne. The scenery here is fabulous with pine forests and glacial lakes adding a magical dimension.
The Lozere department covers the southern part of the Massif Central, including the mountainous regions of Aubrac, La Margeride, Le Gevaudan, and the Cevennes. Lozere has an identity all of its own, with many traditional local customs, and many speciality dishes unique to the area. The capital of the Lozere department is Mende, a tranquil town on the river Lot. The narrow medieval streets, in places lined with grand Renaissance houses, seem to always lead to the Cathedral Notre Dame - a spectacular 14th century building with beautiful stained glass windows. The town is a good base for exploring the countryside with boating, canoeing, walking, cycling and riding facilities all nearby.
The largest, and perhaps the most rewarding, city in Gard is Nimes. Founded by the Emperor Augustus, it flourished at once due to the 'Pont du Gard' which brought water to the city from the natural springs in Ales. Much of the Roman architecture remains remarkably well preserved. 'Les Arenes', a replica of the Colosseum in Rome, still hosts many traditional French and Spanish pastimes. In addition to the historic sites and many museums, Nimes is a beautiful city, with many parks and gardens. This area includes many beautiful Languedoc properties including chateaux, townhouses, villas and farmhouses, and also apartments of every size.
To the northeast of Nimes lies the beautiful old town of Uzes. Perched on the hillside, it has breathtaking views and the Renaissance architecture of the buildings themselves has been lovingly restored, making Uzes a truly beautiful town with much to offer those buying Languedoc property. Aigues-Mortes, located towards the sea is a charming example of a walled town. Like Uzes, it too has spectacular views, but this time to the Petite Camargue.
Nearby Ales nestles alongside the Gard river, offering many opportunities for water-based activities. The town was once an important centre for coal mining, started, almost improbably, by the monks that once lived here. Now the coal industry has left, leaving behind a town whose industry now thrives on the natural beauty nearby. The 'Parc National des Cevennes' is a haven for wildlife and offers many opportunities for hiking, ornithology, caving, etc. With such a wealth of natural splendour on offer, Languedoc property is an ideal way to enjoy and live life the French way.
The regional capital of Montpellier is an old university town, with medical schools established as early as the 9th century. Around the ancient centre has sprung up a vibrant city, full of culture, with numerous art galleries and museums. Our portfolio includes many Languedoc properties in and around Montpellier. The ‘Place de la Comedie’ in the centre of the town is considered to be the hub of the town, and street performers congregate to entertain the customers of the open-air cafes and bars. The buildings that surround it are stately, with the elegant 19th century Opera an exact replica of the Paris opera house. The old town is a labyrinth of 17th
Guide to the French Buying Process
1. Signing the Agreement (Compris)
On finding a property you wish to purchase you will need to negotiate the terms, price and conditions of the sale with the owner. The next step, once you are in agreement, is to sign the preliminary contract (Compromis de Vente). This is a legal document and after ten days will be binding on both parties. Rules change frequently in France and it is best to consult with your notary about when this period starts. Generally the compris will be signed in France with the Agent. Variants can be included in the compris, for example an Acte (clause) can be added if the name or names to go on the title deed have not been finalised. If a mortgage will be required to purchase the property, the details for this, including the name of the mortgage company, must be on the compris.
2. Paying the Deposit
Generally the deposit will be 10% of the agreed purchase price. This will normally be paid to the notaire. There are exceptions to this, if the agent holds a carte professionelle, is bonded and fully registered then you may pay them, but do not hand over the deposit to anyone else. If for some reason the purchase does not go through, for example, if you write to the notaire and the agent that you do not wish to go continue with the purchase before the contract is binding (within seven days of signing the compris), then your deposit would be repaid. This would also apply if a condition had not been met, or the mayor or S.A.F.E.R. (a government agency that has the right of first purchase on most rural property that comes onto the market in France) could oblige the purchaser to give way. If you decide after the seven days 'cooling off' period that you do not wish to complete the purchase and pull out of the sale you would lose your deposit. If however the vendor pulls out of the sale then you will receive your deposit back plus the same amount from the vendor.
3. On Completion
Generally it will take around two or three months to complete the purchase. During this time the balance of the purchase money must be paid into the account of the notaire, this must be done well ahead of the completion date. The notaire will prepare the documents, check that the deed of sale (Acte de Vente) is in order and have the legal title ready to be signed over. It is possible to have someone sign on your behalf if you give them power of attorney. An interpreter may be of use at this point if your French is not very good and many Notaires will suggest (or insist) that an interpreter is with you.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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