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REVEALED: The cheapest towns in France to buy or rent a home

While some may dream of moving to France and living in a chateau, for those people on more modest budgets location is key in making sure you get a good deal on your new home. Here are some of the most affordable places in France.

REVEALED: The cheapest towns in France to buy or rent a home
France has some lovely towns with reasonably priced properties. Photo: AFP

While the Paris property market remains out of reach for many, in France's smaller towns there are houses available for very reasonable prices.

Whether you're looking to buy or rent, this data from French national statistics body INSEE shows the most affordable places to do it.

France's smaller towns come out of the data best, with the list including some beautiful places to live, from the stunning medieval hilltop town of Beziers in south west France to the lovely Breton town of Quimper.

1. Saint-Quentin

Average family house price: €1,130 per square metre

Rent per square metre €8

Where: Hauts-de-France (northern France)

Population: 55,500

Weather: Cold and wet winters, mild summers

Nearby airports: Lille, Paris, Brussels

What’s on offer: Beautiful old architecture, plenty of history and culture, two hours from Paris

2. Niort

Average family house price: €1,220/sqm

Rent for sqm €9

Where: Nouvelle-Aquitaine (western France)

Population: 59,000

Weather: Cold and windy winters, warm summers

Nearby airports: La Rochelle, Poitiers, Nantes

What’s on offer: France's 4th main financial centre for insurance and banking which means that there are employment opportunities on offer. It's an hour's drive from the larger city of La Rochelle, so just about within commuting distance. It may have been described as 'ugly' by French novelist Michel Houllebecq, but actually it has some rather nice sights including a pleasant historic centre.

Situated within the Marais Poitevin national park it's great for outdoorsy types and is also close to the coast. 

The Roman town of Montauban, near Toulouse in south west France. Photo: AFP

3. Montauban 

Average family house price: €1,320/sqm

Rent for sqm €8

Where: Occitanie (southern France)

Population: 61,000

Weather: Mild and fairly dry winters, hot summers

Nearby airports: Toulouse

What’s on offer: Delightful Roman town with gorgeous architecture that's popular with tourists in summer but lively all year round. The mild year-round weather make it ideal for outdoor living and it's a 50 minute drive away from the thriving city of Toulouse which has many employment opportunities including a university.

READ ALSO The one place you have to visit in each French département

4. Cherbourg

Average family house price: €1,370/sqm

Rent per sqm €9

Where: Normandy (northwestern France)

Population: 80,000

Weather: Long and wet winters, windy and mild summers

Nearby airports: Caen, Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint-Malo

What’s on offer: Beautiful beaches and picturesque countryside close by. The bustling port of Cherbourg provides employment opportunities and for Brits it's very convenient to pop back to the UK to see family. The town regularly features in lists of places with the fastest climbing property prices though, so it may not be affordable for long.

READ ALSO What you need to think about before buying that dream house in France

The beaches off Cherbourg are stunning and popular with holidaymakers. Photo: AFP

READ ALSO REVEALED: Where in France property prices are climbing the fastest

5. Saint-Étienne

Average family house price: €900/sqm

Rent per sqm €8

Where: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (east-central France)

Population: 177,000

Weather: Short warm summers, cold winters, snowiest city in France

Nearby airports: Saint-Etienne, Lyon, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand

What’s on offer: Great for nature and sports lovers, it's also near enough to commute to Lyon for work. One of the biggest places on the list it has a city vibe and a strong arts culture, plus lots of interesting architecture. It also has a remarkably successful local football team which the townsfolk are very proud of.

6. Beziers

Average family house price: €1,120/sqm

Rent for sqm €9

Where: Occitanie (southern France)

Population: 76,000

Weather: Hot and dry summers, wetter winters

Nearby airports: Montpellier, Perpignan and Carcassonne 

What's on offer: Close to two national parks and also a short distance from the Mediterranean coast (including the famous Cap d'Agde if you enjoy nudism) and a stunning fortified old town with a lot of history. Unemployment in the area is high though, so you may struggle to find work.

READ ALSO Nine things to expect when renting an apartment in France

Beziers offers lots of history and pleasant town centre. Photo: AFP

7. Quimper 

Average family house price: €1,320/sqm

Rent per sqm €9

Where: Brittany (northwest France)

Population: 63,000

Weather: Mild summers and cold wet winters, partly cloudy year round.

Nearby airports: Quimper, Brest, Lorient

What's on offer: Amazing medieval historical centre with some excellent museums, situated on river banks and close to the coast so ideal for seaside lovers (and by the way, the town is pronounced 'carm-pair' not kwim-per).

8. Cholet

Average family house price: €1,210/sqm

Rent for sqm €10

Where: Pays-de-la-Loire (western France) 

Population: 53,000

Weather: Warm and partially cloudy summers, cold winters

Nearby airports: Nantes, Poitiers, La Rochelle

What’s on offer: Tranquil but flourishing town, natural parks nearby.

9. Brest

Average family house price: €1,240/sqm

Rent per sqm €9

Where: Brittany (northwestern France)

Population: 139,000

Weather: Pleasant summers, cold, wet and windy winters (Brittany is famous for its damp weather)

Nearby international airports: Quimper, Lannion, Lorient 

What's on offer: Buzzing university city with plenty of jobs on offer including at the large ocean research centre. Situated right on the stunning coastline so perfect for maritime enthusiasts.

READ ALSO Why 2020 is set to be a good year for job hunters in France

Right on the coast, Brest is also a bustling city with lots of jobs on offer. Photo: AFP

10. Valence

Average family house price: €1,480/sqm

Rent per sqm €9

Where: ‎Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (southeast France)

Population: 64,000

Weather: Fairly cloudy all year, warm summers and cold winters

Nearby airports: Alpes-Isère, Saint-Étienne, Lyon, Le Puy-Loudes

What's on offer: Great well-priced foodie scene (and close to Lyon, the undisputed foodie capital of France). Also close to the Alps and natural parks so perfect out outdoor enthusiasts.

Paris, of course, comes bottom of this list with average prices of €10,065 per square metre to buy or €26 per square metre to rent. It does have one or two other things to recommend it though.

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EXPLAINED: France’s new rules for advertising rental properties

France is introducing new rules for private landlords from July 1st. Anyone who wants to publish a property listing will need to include certain information that wasn't required before.

EXPLAINED: France's new rules for advertising rental properties

If you are a private landlord and have a property that you want to advertise on the rental market in France, the rules on what information you need to include on the listing have been pretty vague – up until now. 

But an official ruling means that from July 1st that changes. From this date onwards, your advertisement must contain the following information:

  • Rental costs 

Monthly rental costs must be clearly mentioned on your listing. 

READ MORE Nine things to expect when renting an apartment in France

  • Charges

You must include information on any charges that the tenant will incur and information on how these charges can be paid. These charges can include anything from heating costs, to a concierge service. If you want to do an official ‘état des lieux’ or inventory of the property, this costs money. If you want the tenant to cover the cost, you must mention this on the advertisement (as well as the amount). 

READ MORE The vital French vocab for renting property

  • Rent control information

If your property is in an area subject to rent control, you must include the following text in your listing: “zone soumise à encadrement des loyers“.  You must specify the minimum and maximum rental price in your area. 

You can find out if your property is in such a zone by using this simulator

  • Other  

You must include information the the deposit that will be required. You must list the commune or arrondissement where the property is located. You must also provide the surface area of the property as well as information on whether it is furnished or unfurnished. 

READ MORE Renting furnished accommodation in France: What should your landlord provide?

The above information must appear on any advertisement – no matter what form that advertisement takes.