Minervois Property

A guide to the Minervois area of France and property found there

The Minervois area of France - where is it

The Minervois, situated in the south of France, is perhaps best categorised as a region within a region. Known for its excellent wines, particularly its reds, the Minervois occupies a territory that takes in parts of the departments of the Aude (Aude Property Guide - 11) and the Hérault (Hérault Property Guide - 34), in Languedoc-Roussillon (Languedoc-Roussillon Property Guide). Although it does not quite extend to the Mediterranean coast, the region is very Mediterranean in both looks and ambience.

The Minervois has a fantastic climate

The Minervois has a huge appeal for foreign property buyers, not only because of its natural beauty, its pretty villages and its superb wines, but also because of its climate. As any guide book worth its salt will tell you, the Minervois benefits from around 300 days of sunshine a year, and in the summer months the temperatures can climb to the high thirties and even into the forties. So if your dream of owning a French property includes long, sun-filled days in the garden, dining al fresco and waking every morning to the warmth of the sun streaming in at your window, then the Minervois could be the ideal place for you.

Minervois's other natural advantages

Besides the enviable climate, the Minervois has plenty to offer the property seeker. Possessed of a natural beauty that can take your breath away, this is a region where you can find spectacular hills and river gorges, wild moor lands (known as the garrigue) scented with aromatic Mediterranean herbs and glossy, well groomed vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Canal du Midi passes through the Minervois
That amazing feat of seventeenth century engineering, the Canal du Midi, passes through the Minervois on its epic journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Adding considerably to the interest and ambience of the region, the canal is a never ending source of joy to those who live close enough to enjoy its charms.

Canal du Midi - a place for all seasons

In summer, under its canopy of green leaves providing welcome shade and a respite form the blistering sun, the Canal du Midi is filled with life, as happy holiday makers cruise its waters, battling with the locks and enjoying the passing countryside. In spring and autumn, the colours of the countryside that surrounds the canal provide an amazing canvas for walking (Finding property in the best walking areas of France), painting or simply dreaming. Even in winter, when the boats are moored up and the holiday makers have all gone home, the canal is a lovely place to walk the dogs or to cycle the mercifully flat tow paths. Or you could just marvel at the dream and vision of the man, Pierre Paul Riquet, who made it all possible, armed with little more than an army of men with picks and shovels.

The Minervois and its Cathar castles

The Minervois region is brimming with history too, and lies at the heart of many of the tales and tragedies of the Cathars and the Albigensian crusades. On many a hilltop you can see the ruins of a castle... and if you want to see one that isn't in ruins then you will be delighted to know that the beautiful mediaeval city of Carcassonne (Carcassonne Property Guide) is on your doorstep! You will never be stuck for somewhere to take guests.

Pretty villages in the Minervois

The Minervois is known for its gloriously pretty villages, many of which are mentioned in the best guide books to the area, and some that are classified as Les Plus Beaux Villages, or the most beautiful villages of France. Typical Minervois villages are built from ancient sun-baked stone, soft creamy yellow in colour, with narrow winding streets. They are set to a backdrop of hills or vineyards (French property with vineyards), and are almost inevitably topped with a glorious blue sky, even when the winter is in full flight and the temperatures dropping.

Minervois property seekers - what else can the Minervois offer you?

If you are considering purchasing a property in the Minervois, there are certain practicalities that you have to consider, however taken you are with the landscapes and the wines. Transport for one thing, is always going to be important, whether you are planning to relocate completely or to use the property for holidays (French Connections). Fortunately, the Minervois has excellent travel links, with Carcassonne and Toulouse both close at hand offering TGV and other rail systems, international airports (including budget airlines) and the auto routes too (French Connections - Travel to Centre-South France, Travel France).

The Minervois lacks for nothing

You will also want to know that you can access all manner of modern conveniences, such as shops, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and sports and leisure facilities. Have no worries, the Minervois may be rural in essence, but its proximity to major towns and cities such as Béziers (Béziers Property Guide) and Carcassonne means that it lacks for nothing.

Minervois property - what is available?

Although the Minervois offers all kinds of property, with local estate agents offering everything from modern villas to vast chateaux, the most sought after properties in the region are the typical stone built village houses or farms and wine growers houses. The architecture of these houses is typical of the area, yet also calls to mind Tuscany, with its mellow stone colours, pretty painted shutters and background of cypress trees straggling up the hillsides.

Minervois property - is it expensive or not?

Property in the Minervois sits around the middle price bracket for the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Less pricey than the coastal areas, such as Collioure (Collioure Property Guide), Narbonne (Narbonne Property Guide) and Sète (Sète Property Guide), yet a little more expensive then northern parts of the Aude, or inland Hérault. For a region with the advantages enjoyed by the Minervois, however, property represents a very good investment, with plenty of potential for financial growth.

Can you still find renovation property in the Minervois?

There are still plenty of renovation properties available in this area, so it's a great place to look if this is what you are after (House Renovations in France, Building or extending property in France). As the market is pretty buoyant in the Minervois there is a real possibility of making a substantial profit on a renovation too, if you plan to sell up and not stay for ever. Though many people set out to do exactly this, and then can't bring themselves to move away... so be warned, the Minervois can be addictive!

Who buys property in the Minervois?

The Minervois is popular with both the French and with all nationalities. There are lots of Brits too, but not in embarrassing numbers (Brits in France). The region appeals to those who love the climate, the countryside, the history and tradition of this ancient part of France, and those who appreciate the twin delights of a slower pace of life and excellent locally produced wine!

Additional articles which may be of interest:

Languedoc Property - Top 10
South-west France Property
Languedoc-Roussillon Property - an insider's guide
Property grants available in France

About the author

Joanna Simm moved to the Languedoc area of south-west France in October 2004 having found her property through French Property Links.

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