What’s the population of Carcassonne, or of Montlaur, or Fontcouverte? Or any town in the Aude?
44,000, 522, and 425, respectively. And it’s easy to find out. L’encyclopedie des Villes de France is a wealth of demographic information. Enter the name of the town you’re interested in and find population, average income, commerce, schools, tourism, percentage of permanent residents, percentage of second homes, number of houses in the town, all kinds of information.
One of the things that’s difficult about looking at French property listings is that there isn’t demographic information and if you don;t know the area you have no frame of reference.
How can demographics help you buy a house in France?
If you know that you absolutely have to be in a village with a cafe, or a grocery, or a school you can use L’encyclopedie des Villes de France to get that information. It’ll help you rule out houses in villages that don’t have the services you need. It’ll certainly mean that you don’t waste time looking at properties for sale in towns and villages that don’t suit you. Obviously it’s not going to tell you the whole story but it’s a good start. The site is in French so have a dictionary handy.
Combine demographic information with a map
Use Geoportail to locate the town or village and then switch between aerial views, relief maps, and road maps and you’ll start to get a feel for that part of France. It’ll help you focus on the area that you want to look for property in.