If you are looking for property in the Hauts de France, you will be in good company. French buyers love it because of its strategic location. It has excellent access to Paris as well as to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Meanwhile, British buyers drive out of the Eurotunnel, and off the ferries, and instantly relax as they see the French countryside and stop for a café au lait in an authentic French village. Hauts de France has a wonderful coastline and if you venture off the A16 (which links the ports of Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne-sur-Mer) you will find sandy beaches and pretty seaside towns. The upmarket resort of Le Touquet-Paris -Plage is well named, as many Parisians have a holiday home there. It is full of boutiques, chic restaurants, a famous casino and two championship class golf courses. Inland the Hauts de France has a rolling countryside, with some notable forests. The capital, Lille, is an attractive city and an important economic hub.
The Hauts de France is the most northerly region in France and borders Belgium, it is also connected to England via the channel tunnel.
The two largest airports in the region are Lille-Lesquin which has domestic flights, as well as flights to 13 other countries (although not the UK), and Paris-Beauvais in the very south-west of the region. From Paris-Beauvais you can fly to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Dublin, as well as 26 other countries. Of course, the other Paris airports are easily accessed from Hauts de France too.
The region is well connected by train, primarily through Lille-Europe station, which is in the heart of Lille. It offers direct connections to London, Paris, Brussels, and other major cities. The Eurostar journey time to London is 1hr 22 mins. There are other popular regional stations in Calais, Arras and Amiens.
Hauts de France is easily accessible by road with the A1 autoroute running to Paris and the A2 connecting to Belgium and the Netherlands. The A26/A16 provides access to the ferry ports of Calais, Boulogne, and Dunkirk.
The ferry ports offer regular crossings to the UK and the Eurotunnel is particularly popular, as the shuttle between Folkestone and Calais takes just 35 minutes.
The property market in Hauts de France is driven by domestic demand, it should be noted that this is the second most densely populated region in France, after Paris/Ile de France. This is primarily true of Lille and the surrounding area that borders Belgium. There is still plenty of unspoiled countryside to enjoy. Three of the five departments (Pas-de-Calais, Nord and Oise have seen prices stabilise over the last 12 months, while Aisne and Somme have seen rises of around 6% over that period.
Most second homes are to be found on, or near, the coast. Le Touquet-Paris-Plage has a population of just over 4,000 but swells to 250,000 during the summer. Known as “Paris by the sea” it was particularly popular with affluent British visitors in the 1920’s, which can be seen in the eclectic architecture and property styles. Inland there are plenty of country houses to be found, and the landscape is rolling and forested – owners feel a long way from the urban landscape around Lille. Many holiday homes are owned by Belgian and Dutch buyers as they are seen as excellent value.Free PDF to read and download
The old town and historic centre of Lille is picture postcard pretty, and the perfect place for a romantic stroll around the cobbled pedestrian streets. You will often find musicians playing and there is a wide choice of bars and restaurants to soak up the atmosphere. Construction on Lille’s neoclassical cathedral began in 1854 and was completed in….1999! One building not to miss is the Palais des Beaux Arts, which is the illustrious fine art museum, it plays second-fiddle only to the Louvre in the quantity and quality of its collection of paintings and pottery.
The Aisne, Somme and Oise are in the historical province of Picardy, which is renowned for the quality of its cathedrals. There are four that stand out and you will fall in love with each of them. Amiens cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the largest gothic cathedrals of the 13th century. It is beautifully preserved and a classic example of this captivating architectural style. Laon, Beauvais, and Soissons all have glorious cathedrals too, and all are definitely worth visiting.
It would be hard not to fall in love with the beautiful coastline that the region has to offer. Known as the Cote d’Opale it runs down from the Belgian border and boasts rugged chalk cliffs (that mirror the white cliffs of Dover), as well as sandy beaches, pretty seaside towns and towering pine forests. Many of the seaside towns have a distinctly Victorian feel and will take you back in time.
Finally, a personal favourite of ours is the town of Chantilly in the Oise. It is home to arguably the best golf course in France and, unarguably, the largest racehorse training community in France. Les Grands Ecuries and Chantilly Racecourse are protected by the wonderful Chateau de Chantilly. It is in fact two chateaux, the Petit which was built around 1560 and the Grand, which was destroyed in the revolution, and then rebuilt in the 1870’s - definitely a spot to enhance your Instagram collection.
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...has a vibrant cultural scene, with an array of museums, art galleries and theatres to choose from. It has a large student population and rental properties are a popular investment. The Louvre-Lens Museum opened its doors in 2012 and helps make the Louvre’s national collections accessible to all. The region is also home to natural reserves and parks, including the forested “Parc naturel regional de l’Avesnois”, which covers 125,000 hectares. This is an important and protected, ecological area.
The Hauts de France has a rich architectural heritage and wide variety of property styles. From medieval castles to Art Deco masterpieces, via the most splendid selection of Gothic architecture in Europe.The Gothic cathedrals in Lille, Amiens and Beauvais are stunning examples, while the UNESCO listed town of Montreuil-sur-Mer boasts a particularly impressive citadel and ramparts. These are all in direct contrast to the Art Deco properties in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, where many houses and apartments were built for wealthy owners in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The town is famous for its eclectic mix of property styles, and the seafront apartments come with a healthy premium to match the sea view. If you are looking for a holiday home, or investment property, in northern France then the coastal towns have a lot to offer.
The Hauts de France countryside has many picturesque farmhouses, cottages, and old stone properties, many of which have been sympathetically restored, using local materials. There are plenty of large, renovation projects still to be had, and these are particularly popular with UK buyers who are looking for a cheap property to renovate/refurbish and bring back to life.
Prestige property in the Hauts de France comes in the shape of chateaux, manoirs and large country estates. These become more prevalent as you get closer to Paris. There are also luxury villas and apartments to be had in Montreuil-sur-Mer and the other resorts on the Cote d’Opale.
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