±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Buying Property

Centre (Centre - Val de Loire) - Buying Property

QUICK LINKS: France Guide - France Discussion Forum - France Property Listings

‘Centre’ is the name given to the region situated in the middle of the country, but is commonly known as the Loire Valley or Central Loire. It has six departments: Cher, Eure et Loir, Indre, Indre et Loire, Loire et Cher and Loiret. The area is filled with impressive chateaux and attracts large numbers of visitors each year who come to hike and cycle throughout the countryside. The whole area is proving to be very popular with expats who move to the region each year in search of a more relaxed lifestyle.

The region has a population of just below 2.5 million and the northern part of the region is within reasonable travelling distance to Paris, so attracts a lot of commuters. The location is an attractive feature of the region as all areas of the country can be easily reached. Industry in the area is mainly agricultural, although a number of manufacturers have established bases in the region.

Average property prices varied widely across the region during 2009, but still remained below the national average. The Indre department is one of the cheapest in the country when the prices are calculated on a per square metre basis.

The Cher department has around 300,000 inhabitants and is located directly under the Paris Ile-de-France region, making this department very popular with workers from the capital. There are a number of agricultural areas which vary from livestock farms to vineyards. The average price for property in 2009 was €1735 per square metre, although apartments were a good investment with prices ranging from €1300 to €1450 although the proportion of apartments in the area is lower than in most other departments. The average purchase price for a house in the Cher department in 2009 ranged between €81,000 and €159,000.

The town of Bourges in the Cher department has a large number of apartments which makes it popular for those who want to buy to let. Chateaumeillant has properties which are below the average cost of the rest of the department, while Sancerre is ideal for those who are looking for a larger property.

French mortgages for expats The Eure et Loire department has just under 425,000 inhabitants and is only around 90 minutes from Paris. This is another department which is mainly agricultural and has many properties which are suitable for renovation. This is one of the most expensive departments in the region but prices are still below the national average at €2430, as calculated in 2009. Apartment costs were on average €1910, with smaller apartments much sought after. The town of Luce attracts many commuters and apartments sell very well there.

The Indre department has 235,000 inhabitants and attracts many potential homeowners as it is very close to the Limousin region and has beautiful scenery. The average property price in the region was €1260 per square metre in 2009 which is less than half of the national average. For those who are looking for buy to let properties, towns such as Chateauroux have a large proportion of tenants. A small house cost as little as €73,000. The prices are more expensive in popular tourist areas though potential buyers will find bargains in the country.

The Indre et Loire department has over half a million inhabitants and many of these live in the main city of Tours. The city is home to much of the industry in the department, while the rest is mainly agricultural. The average property price in 2009 was €2170 per square metre and houses can still be bought very reasonably. Properties in Loches are lower than the average for the rest of the department which makes it attractive to those who are looking to relocate or purchase a second home. Tours is a good choice for those who want to rent out their property, as there are a large proportion of tenants.

The Loir et Cher department has 315,000 inhabitants and the administrative centre is the popular town of Blois. There is more commercial enterprise in this department which offers employment opportunities, although agriculture is still a big part of life in the area. The average 2009 property price was €1668 per square metre which is lower than expected given the closeness to Paris. The average cost of an apartment works out to be more expensive than a house when calculated per square metre. Most people who buy a property choose to live in them rather than rent them out, and the area has a fairly low proportion of apartments.

The Loiret department has around 650,000 inhabitants and is home to the town of Orléans. The area is popular with Parisians as it offers a relaxing lifestyle away from the city and is just an hour’s drive. It is an area where larger houses can be bought very cheaply. Average prices in 2009 were €2159 per square metre, which is another attractive feature of the area as is it below the national average and is much lower than prices in Paris. Studio flats are more expensive to buy per square metre than larger apartments.

Perche traditional locatures are a familiar sight in some areas of the region. These are wooden framed and half timbered houses which are fairly small, as they used to be the homes of agricultural workers. These are available in their original form as a small property, though many have been converted and consist of several locatures which have been combined to form one large property.

The ‘maisons bourgeoises’ are luxury homes, which are large buildings with plenty of land, a swimming pool and outbuilding. Many have been converted to B&B properties so they are ideal for those who are looking for a business opportunity.

Sologne properties are found in the region of the same name and are half timbered style with the walls made from brick and cob. The roofs are usually red or brown tiles and many of these houses still have period French features which make them attractive to expat buyers who are looking for a traditional French home.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.