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French property watch: Why buy in Loire and what prices to expect

We look at what this department has to offer and what sort of property your money buys you

Saint-Etienne, in the south of the department, is by far the largest cities, with around 175,000 people Pic:

Departmental capital: Saint-Etienne 

Main cities/towns: Saint-Chamond, Roanne 

Loire is a department name that often trips up foreigners, who imagine the chateaux a long way downstream of the river that gives it its name. 

Here the Loire, not yet as wide as it later becomes, runs through a flat plain but with low mountain chains following its course on both sides. 

There are two main centres of population. 

Saint-Etienne, in the south of the department, is by far the largest, with around 175,000 people. 

To that can be added another 35,000 from Saint-Chamond, with which it shares a local government métropole status. 

Up in the north, Roanne has around 34,000 people. 

All the urban centres are relatively new, springing up during the 19th century when the region’s coal mines were in full swing and Saint-Etienne became famous for making everything from bicycles to guns. 

The years after 1945 brought glory, but Loire also suffered quickly from the closure of industries and mines, and people moved elsewhere to work. 

Now its population is on the up again, both because the local economy hosts more high-tech businesses, especially in manufacturing, and because the quiet mountain villages offer a way of life people are increasingly hankering for. 

Road links are good – the A450 takes you from Saint-Etienne to Lyon in around an hour, with its TGV station and airport, or you can take the A72 to Clermont-Ferrand. 

In town, house prices are relatively high but bargains can be found in the countryside. 

An example is a near-ruin for €19,000 built next to a departmental road in the commune of Saint-Priest-la-Prugne, west of Roanne. 

Old, stone-built factories offering lots of space can also be found for €50,000, ready to be converted into homes.

Read more: Château, pavillon, villa: France’s property lexicon explained

What your money buys under €450,000

Pic: Leggett Immobilier

A large five-bed, 169m² house with enormous potential for expansion, with 175m² annexes to renovate. 

For lovers of good wines, you will have the use of two vaulted cellars. This property also comes with two private parking spaces and a large garage. 

Located in Saint-Galmier. 

€289,000 Ref: A17154

Pic: Leggett Immobilier

A lovely four-bed, 170m² house, situated on almost 1,300m² of land, with swimming pool. 

This large and bright house was built in 2013 and is located in a very quiet position on the border between Saint-André-le-Puy and Montrondles-Bains. 

€449,500 Ref: A18639GDU42

What your money buys over €1,260,000

Pic: Leggett Immobilier

An exceptional bed and breakfast and gîtes with swimming pool, wellness area and open views. 

This former wine estate has been entirely renovated. 

The property consists of five guest rooms, a large gîte with four rooms, and a gîte with two rooms. 

Situated in Roanne. 

€1,260,000 Ref: A12582

Pic: Leggett Immobilier

A 597m² Art Nouveau-style manor house with 1.7 hectares of land, swimming pool, and five gîtes

Ever fancied living in a chateau

This stunning 19th century manor house, located in Saint-Julien-Molin-Molette at the gateway to the Ardèche, could help make your dreams become reality. 

€1,595,000 Ref: A12285

Properties available through Leggett Immobilier Tel: 05 53 56 62 54

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