Expert Property Guide to Niort and surrounding area

Written by on July 28, 2020 in Property in France

Looking over the roof tops of Niort, capital of Deux Sevres in south west Farance

Niort is the capital city of Deux Sèvres in the department of Poitou-Charentes, now renamed Nouvelle Aquitaine, south west France.

This small city is home to a maze of twisting narrow streets lined with elegant Renaissance town houses. Remains of a 12th century fortress are now the municipal museum, and weekly markets bring visitors for miles around. Madame de Maintenon, the uncrowned wife of Louis XIV was born here in 1635. There’s plenty of culture and a great café lifestyle. Friendly locals whose roots go back to the middle ages when England controlled Aquitaine and loved the locals wines which they shipped home in abundance.

The city is bordered by the Marais Poitevin Natural Reserve, criss-crossed by watery highways and byways like a luxuriant green Venice, a magical maze of canals. And glorious countryside dotted with farming villages.

With almost as many sunshine hours as the south, banana trees are known to thrive here, this area is a fabulous location for those seeking the good life in France. We talk to Rose-Marie Couture, a Canadian expat and local agent who lives near Niort about life and property in the area…

Tell us a bit about you and what inspired you to move to this area

Boat rides on green water, trees overhanging from both sides of the river

I moved from Quebec to Germany to study and work and then to France with my husband in 2019. We focused on Poitou-Charentes as it offers great value for money on the housing market. The region is known for being less touristy than some others. There is a nice mix of locals and expats here, a relaxed pace and lifestyle. Deux-Sèvres is also quite charming and known for its lovely rolling countryside and sunflower fields in the summer. We also have the advantage of a temperate climate and proximity to high speed trains, as well as the coast.

Our house north east of Niort and southwest of Poitiers in the village of Fomperron. It’s a cosy house with wooden floors and lots of light. It has a great garden full of flowers, bushes, and trees. There are different flowers blooming almost all year round starting in January:  grape hyacinths, roses, gladioli, fuchsia, lilies, hydrangea, not to mention the wild flowers. We also harvest cherries, plums, walnuts, pears, elderflowers, elderberries and endless amounts of blackberries.

What do you love about living near Niort

Pretty riverside town with a church and ancient houses in Sanxay, Deux-Sevres

There are wonderful markets – weekly food markets, as well as seasonal markets for plants, home-made products, second hand items, antiques. Our local restaurant, Bistro des Amis, makes the most delicious clades de moules, mussels barbecued on pine needles in the summer. The river water pool in Sanxay is wonderful. There are amazing grounds and museum at Tumulus de Bougon, and at the Roman ruins at Sanxay, there’s an annual opera.

The Puits d’Enfer in Exireuil is a lovely place for a picnic or a hike, as are the many river trails in the area. The market, donjon and downtown area of Niort is always lovely to visit. And the market and former monastery of Saint-Maixent-l’École are superb. Poitiers is also always worth a visit with its charming town hall, museums, downtown and riverside parks. In the town of Coutières there’s even a “parking spot” to tie up your horse! And there are so many great restaurants, one of my favourites is at the Chateau le Marconnay which is absolutely fabulous.

Property Guide to Niort and around

What do most buyers seek when they come to this area?

House alongside a river, typical of the Charente area, white washed walls and blue shutters

People buy property all over the area – an isolated place with no neighbours such as Le Bois Ferrand. Or maybe a charming hamlet like Les Touches or, a village with a bistro such as Fomperron. Some people prefer more facilities, walking distance to supermarkets, a townhouse and Saint Maixent l’Escole and Menigoute are both lovely. And for those who want a riverside location, I highly recommend Sanxay. Whatever the heart desires can be found in our Deux-Sèvres area.

The traditional style here is the “Charentaise” a home with the former hayloft converted into bedrooms upstairs. This often means the windows can be small and closer to the floor, so people often compensate for that by adding higher windows or Velux windows in the slanted roofs.

Typical home buyers – everyone! French, expat, young, old. At the moment I see a trend of French buyers buying homes where they might have only rented a few years back and looking for second homes to escape from the big cities. In addition there is a big rush for UK buyers to buy and complete their sales and moves to France before Brexit becomes official.

What can home buyers get for their money?

Doer uppers can be incredibly cheap in this area and should definitely be taken into consideration. If you do not want too much work, there are also many properties that have been beautifully done up, especially by expats that are great value for money – often with fantastic kitchens (the Brits love their Rangemaster ovens!), aerothermal heat pumps, swimming pools, etc.

How easy is it to get to Niort from the UK

Transport to the UK is diverse: There are several ports to choose from if one is driving. The rail connections to the UK via Paris / Chunnel are excellent. In addition there are flights from Bordeaux, Nantes, Poitiers and La Rochelle.

What key piece of advice would you offer home seekers in the area?

Portrait photo of womanMy advice is if you are buying a home to live in, be aware of the following: Many homes here have been renovated beautifully as holiday homes, but the insulation and heating can leave something to be desired if you want to live here year round.

The climate is temperate but it can get quite chilly and rainy in the winter. If you take this into consideration you will be able to decide accordingly and find out whether you will need to invest in further insulation and heating.

Three words to describe expat life in Niort and around?

Sunny, friendly, relaxed…

See Rose-Marie’s portfolio of property in the Niort area:

Related Articles

Expert Property guide to Creuse

The department of Creuse, Limousin, is in the centre of France. It owes its name to the river Creuse which crosses the area. The western and also the flattest part of the region was an important source of inspiration for impressionist painters such as Monet. Creuse is famous for its 600 year old tradition of […]

Continue Reading

Expert property guide to Uzerche and around, Correze, Limousin

Uzerche is a pretty, fortified town in the commune in the Corrèze department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Its origins date back to pre-Roman times. Today the town is vibrant and architecturally glorious. With its many towers, vaulted passageways and old houses adorned with carved door and a magnificent octagonal bell tower, typical of the Limousin […]

Continue Reading

Moving to France during the Covid crisis – Is it possible?

We have been receiving a lot of requests from readers since the start of the COVID pandemic, all asking the same question: “Is it possible to pack and move  my personal effects and possessions from  the UK to my new home in France during the Covid crisis?”. Well the simple answer is yes. We thought […]

Continue Reading

Expert Property guide to Montmorillon and around, the Vienne

Montmorillon is in the department of the Vienne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine (formerly Poitou-Charentes) in south west France. The town is situated on the Gartempe river at the geographical crossroads of  Indre, Haute-Vienne and the Vienne. Around 50 miles from the city of Poitiers and 30 miles from Limoges, both of which have airports with flights to the […]

Continue Reading

Where to live the good life in France

When it comes to living in France, there’s lots to tempt you. Wandering through a picture-perfect medieval village, sitting at a café with a coffee and croissant watching the world go by, an early morning stroll on a sandy beach, or watching the sun set over a craggy mountain. Sunshine, great food and wine, a […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.