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The 20 small towns most popular with house-hunters in France

The Local France
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The 20 small towns most popular with house-hunters in France
Towns with between 2,000 and 20,000 inhabitants proved the most popular. Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

Property hunters in France are increasingly seduced by small towns rather than big cities, with places with under 20,000 inhabitants judged the best - here are the 20 towns most popular with buyers in France.


The annual real estate trends survey for France found that an increasing number of people were moving to towns and villages with populations of between 2,000 and 20,000. 

And an increasing trend shows people moving out of big cities to smaller towns.

"The real mobility comes from the major metropolitan areas, which are saturated. Over the study period, 30 percent of people who lived in the metropolis moved to a small town (18 percent) or a rural commune (12 percent), Aurélien Flament, real estate director at Leboncoin, told Le Parisien.


“This shows that people are looking for a more human environment.”

Of the 7,000 people surveyed, 28 percent lived in small towns before they had moved, while 34 percent lived in small towns after they had moved. Over the same period, the number of property hunters living in big cities dropped by seven percentage points, according to the poll for classifieds website Leboncoin with Ifop.

Those living in large and medium-sized towns remained the same (15 percent), while rural communities have increased two points to 22 percent).

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The platform identified the small towns that are popular with the French by analysing data from all French towns with at least 30 ads online in January 2020, 2021, 2022 and June 2022.

But remote living is not the aim of the game, the study found.

Every single one of most popular small towns on Leboncoin’s site is not that far from a larger city: Saint-Jean-de-Liversay (Charente-Maritime) is half an hour from La Rochelle; Troarn (Calvados) is within 30 minutes of Caen’ and Bouloires (Sarthe) a similar commute from Le Mans.

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Saint-Chamas (Bouches-du-Rhône) is not far from Salon-de-Provence or Aix-en-Provence. This commune of 8,591 inhabitants saw its responses to property ads posted on the site rise 47 points between January 2020 and June 2022. 

Meanwhile, Veules-les-Roses, a village of 550 inhabitants in Seine-Maritime, is one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Gières, a town of 7,134 inhabitants, a 10-minute rail-trip from Grenoble, is also one of the most sought-after cities according to Leboncoin.

"We're not talking about an exodus to isolated cities, but rather to small peri-urban communities, not far from employment areas," Flament concluded.

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Their own property, added space, a garden, and - following the pandemic - access to natural spaces were also among the main factors for people moving house. Space to work and work-from-home options were towards the bottom of the list of reasons given for moving in the study. 


And Flament reckons this is just the beginning.

"With financing problems for real estate projects and the construction of new housing at half-mast, people are forced to move. It's a safe bet that the attractiveness of small towns will continue to increase."

Here are the 20 towns that proved most popular with buyers in France

  1. Veules-les-Roses in the département of Seine-Maritime, Normandy
  2. Saint-Chamas in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, close to Marseille
  3. Gières, Isère département in the Alps
  4. Colayrac-Saint-Cirq, Lot-et-Garonne in south west France 
  5. Troarn, Calvados, Normandy
  6. Bouloire, Sarthe in Pays-de-la-Loire
  7. Saint-Jean-de-Liversay, Charente-Maritime in south west France
  8. Livron-sur-Drôme, Drôme département in the French Alps
  9. Massongy, Haute-Savoie in the Alps
  10. Grans, Bouches-du-Rhône
  11. Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde, Charente-Maritime in south west France
  12. Pouillon, Landes in south west France
  13. Maulévrier, Maine-et-Loire in north west France
  14. Saint-Pierre-des-Fleurs, Eure, near Rouen in north west France
  15. Monnaie, Indre-et-Loire, north west France
  16. Etupes, Doubs in eastern France
  17. Aniane, Hérault, close to Montpellier on the south east coast
  18. Saint-Sulpice-de-Royan, Charente-Maritime in south west France
  19. Saint-Clair-de-la-Tour, Isère département in the Alps
  20. Maché, Vendée on France's west coast



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