Buy here, buy now

Blog reader John sent us (thank you!) an article entitled “7 Reasons to Buy a Property in Carcassonne”. It was sponsored by a real estate company so there were lots of enticing photos with descriptions including words such as “mansion, garden, village, views, marble fireplaces, and wooden floors.” Everything you want to see and read when you are fantasizing about your French dream life. Since we’re already living that dream, it was easy enough to look past all of the beautiful marketing to see the concrete reasons that someone might want to buy here or elsewhere in France, for that matter. We’ve included some of our own observations with each of these ideas from author Karen Tait.

Local olives at the market

Best of Both Worlds—There are 2 parts to Carcassonne, the upper walled city that’s attracted as many as 3 million visitors in a busy year (photo across the top of our blog) and the lower town where most of us live. We’ve been in several other French cities with a similar arrangement even without the high/low aspect and a river separating the two. In those cases the downtown core is Medieval, or earlier since the Romans were here around 50 BC, and outside the walls the towns have grown with all the businesses and services you need on a daily basis. You have history on your doorstep yet you can leave that for the visitors to enjoy while you retreat to your home a short walk away.

Year-round Appeal—Depending upon the time of year, Bill and I could attend some kind of organized entertaining event almost every day of the year. That word “almost” disappears in the summer with the month-long music festival and in December with the Magic of Christmas activities. The city fills the weekends the rest of the year with events centered around food, wine, art, music, and sports. We have visited a few of the Mediterranean beach towns near us during the winter and found some of them to be too quiet for us.

Canal-du-Midi lock and port

Waterworld—We live a 5-minute walk from the river and 7 minutes from the Canal-du-Midi, so we’re never far from a water view. While that’s the good news, it also means we consulted the flood map to make sure that our house would be out of the flood plain. There’s a swimming lake with a water park about a 15-minute drive outside of town or you can drive to the Mediterranean Sea in less than an hour. 

Sunny South—This part of France has a Mediterranean climate that I think of simplistically as being warm and dry summers with cool, wet winters. There are over 300 sunny days a year and one day with snow that’s gone by noon. We have a portable bedroom air conditioner that we used a few nights last summer and we’re considering something more permanent since the national weather service, Meteo France, said that 2022 was the warmest year on record.

Village of Mirepoix

Home Base—Living without a car is pretty easy when you can walk to all of your daily needs or even to one like a hospital that you might not ever need. City buses take us a bit further and trains can get us all over this country and then into any other part of Europe we might want to visit. Flights go to Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, and several UK destinations. Within an hour and your own car you can be at the sea, the mountains, deep in the vineyards, or immersed in picturesque villages far into the countryside. 

View of the Pyrenees

Easy Access—This was an important consideration since we moved to France to travel within this country and across Europe. As mentioned above in Home Base, we can get where we want on foot or on public transportation. What a delight to walk from our house to the station, board a train, and later that day step off in Madrid, Milan, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam, or Paris!

Affordable Properties—There’s a website called Meilleurs Agents (dot com) that keeps track of house prices across France. Based on recent sales in Carcassonne the average price for a house is 1,660€ per square meter or about $163 per square foot. In Narbonne, about a 30-minute train ride to our east nearer the Mediterranean, those figures rise to 2,584€/m2 or $253/ft2. There’s no place like home 😉

Source: The original article appeared on the website Complete France. Thanks again to the author, Karen Tait and to fellow France enthusiast, John!

Bonus attachment: Thanks to the timely questions from blog readers Monique and Kathy, we’ve created a one-page list of links to sites that might be helpful to anyone looking to settle in France, be it buying or renting. Clicking near the end of this sentence should take you to the pdf of Real Estate Rentals and Buying that has some specifics about Carcassonne as well.

13 thoughts on “Buy here, buy now

  1. What a timely article for me! Thanks for sharing – so helpful. We just arrived in France in February and are shifting our house-hunting efforts to the Carcassonne area as of May 1 so I will be pouring over all this info!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. One immediate question I have is: wind! Currently we have been in Gers while house-hunting but we are thinking after visiting Carcassonne and east that is where we would rather be. When we have mentioned that to people here, one of the first things they say is “But the wind is just terrible there!”. So I looked it up and learned that the Aude is one of the windiest areas in France, especially in the fall. Obviously you wouldn’t be there and stay there if the wind was a real problem for you but I would be curious to hear yours and Bill’s thoughts on this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Nancy, We do have wind sometimes but it is not constant at all. It also helps to moderate the temperature here and we could not imagine a summer without a little wind so we rarely use AC. On the other hand the Provence region has 30 named winds some of which can last for days and we have heard can drive one a little crazy. We walk most everywhere and I have chased my hat more in other towns than in Carcassonne. We are inland a bit so maybe not as windy as the coastal towns.

        You will just have to come visit for yourself and see what we mean.


    1. Patience. When he’s ready you’ll know and then it will be the right time. In the meantime, thank you for reading our blog which will hopefully make your move even easier.


  2. My friends, who purchased a B&B, really do love it there. They write me glowing things every day. My visit, though short, was lovely as well. In conclusion, I think it’s a great spot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anthony, your friends obviously have great taste 😍 Maybe when you come back to visit them for a longer stay we’ll get to meet you!

      Liked by 1 person

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