12 Properties for sale in Loire, Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes, France
Named for the river that begins its journey in neighbouring Ardèche, and tucked away in the Rhône-Alpes region, the Loire department is relatively undiscovered by the British. Its inhabitants are known as Ligériens, from the Roman name for the River Loire, Liger. With few large towns and many forests, mountains and areas of natural importance, Loire is largely rural. Throughout the department, there is a wide variety of landscapes, from the green Roannais in the north to the more Provençal appearance of Loire's southern reaches.
CAPITAL: ST-ÉTIENNE - A member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, St-Étienne hosts a design biennale at its futuristic Cité du Design. It's the second most populous commune in Rhône-Alpes after Lyon, and its residents escape to the Bois d'Avaize on the city's doorstep to relax and breathe fresh air.
Average property prices
Loire department : €155,000
Source: Notaires de France
Access from UK
By air: Lyon and Avignon
By train: Eurostar to Paris and TGV to Lyon then local services to St-Etienne
By road: St-Étienne is 772km from Calais
Average annual temperature: (St-Étienne): 6.6°C/16.4°C
Average annual rainfall: 718.2mm
Average annual sunshine hours: 1,985.1
The natural surroundings are what make Loire special; with mountains, forests, gorges and waterscapes, it's sometimes described as containing all the landscapes of France in one department. The dramatic Loire gorges are a natural playground for walkers, watersports fans and adventurers. Several villages in the northeast are located in the Parc Naturel Régional du Livradois-Forez, including the Plus Beau Village of Ste-Croix-en-Jarez, known for its Carthusian monastery. Architecture fans should head to the commune of Firminy to see le Corbusier's final project, the modernist Firminy Vert.
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