French property watch: Indre has aeronautics without sky-high prices

The aviation industry keeps on growing but houses here remain affordable, especially in the countryside

Department capital Châteauroux with its towering Eglise Notre-Dame
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Department 36 capital: Châteauroux

Main cities/towns: Issoudun, Déols, Le Blanc, Le Poinçonnet, Argenton-sur-Creuse, La Châtre, Valençay, Vatan

Indre is one of the departments in the historic old province of Berry, and sits just north west of the centre of France.

It has good rich farmland, giving way to rolling hills, gentle rivers and green woods as you move towards the Massif Central.

Aviation industry

Near Châteauroux, the department’s largest town and its prefecture, is a giant airfield where the Americans poured millions of dollars to create an airbase before pulling out when France left Nato in the 1960s.

For years, it was a white elephant but it is now starting to attract more and more aeronautic firms, as well as being one of Europe’s largest ‘parking garages’ for airlines when they have too many planes for the business available, such as during the Covid crisis.

The aeronautics industry is now the largest single employer in the department, and good wages in this sector have seen the area around Châteauroux show strong demand for property.

Transport links

Transport-wise, the department has the A20 autoroute and is also a stop on the Paris/Limoges rail line. This is not high speed and Châteauroux to Paris is around three hours in old but comfortable trains.

For airports, head down the autoroute to Limoges (about an hour). Châteauroux’s airport has not attracted regular airlines.

Reasonable prices

House prices are reasonable. In the countryside, houses with lots of work to do, barns and some land can start as low as the €30,000 mark.

Solid-looking houses with gardens and 1960s interiors can be found in some towns for around €50,000.

At the other end of the scale, €500,000 is enough for a sprawling property with 17 bedrooms.

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