The Midi-Pyrenees is located on the border of Spain between the Languedoc and Aquitaine regions in the south-west of the country. One of France’s largest provinces, the landscape is fairly diverse, ranging from the mildness of agricultural fields and undulating hills at its centre, to the rocky gorges of Tarn in the east and the snow-capped mountains of the Pyrenees in the south.
Such diverse topography means that the weather can vary quite significantly from area to area, with flatter regions tending to be mainly hot and dry with lovely summer breezes; and more mountainous locations enjoying cooler, wetter conditions.
The region also boasts four national parks as well as numerous places of historical interest, including clifftop villages with Templar connections like Carcassonne, as well as the prehistoric caves of Niaux. Religious sites of pilgrimage include the world-famous Lourdes, together with towns such as Rocamadour, with its historical connections to the Santiago de Compostela.
Gastronomically, the Midi is famous for its truffles, Toulouse sausages, Roquefort cheese and foie gras. Armagnac and several red wines are also made in the area.
Aside from its thriving agricultural, food and tourism industries, the Midi is also the centre of the French aeronautics manufacturing business, with Airbus calling Toulouse its home.
As a result, the Midi-Pyrenees has much to offer anyone considering relocating or buying holiday real estate. Interest in purchasing property in the Midi-Pyrenees has steadily increased, in large part due to improved transport links, with several airports at Toulouse, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Rodez now serviced by budget airlines, and the newly-laid A20 motorway linking Toulouse to the north of the country. High speed rail links to Toulouse and several other towns in the vicinity also connect visitors to Eurostar stations in Paris, Lille, Avignon and the ferry port of Calais.
Another reason for an increase in foreign buying interest is the saturation of the property market in neighbouring Languedoc-Roussillon. Prospective buyers will find that their money stretches much further on real estate in the Midi-Pyrenees, particularly in the Aveyron and the Tarn, which is popular with UK purchasers. Auch, the capital of the Gers is probably the most expensive place to buy in, but prices tend to decline steadily the further out of town you go. ‘Lock and go’ ski chalets and old farm buildings ripe for conversion or renovation are also to be found in the Hautes-Pyrenees.