Deciding what kind of property you are looking for in France is a big decision – and there is certainly a wealth of different choices available.

There are many different types of property available in France, often depending on the history and climate of the location it is in. Traditionally, British property buyers who are relocating to France love buying homes that require a little ‘TLC’, and there are many of these renovation opportunities still available across the country. Some of the most common types of property available in France include:


The name bastide is used both for a certain type of village and for property. Bastide villages go back to the 13th and 14th Centuries, and these were an early form of town planning – often with the marketplace as the central square and small roads radiating out from it. The bastide villages still around today can be found in the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees regions, but when it comes to property, a bastide is a style of stone built property, sometimes with timber in between (colombages), which can be found in both town and countryside.

Download our free France Buying Guide here for more tips on the property buying process



This is a style of house unique to the Charente region. It is similar to the bastide style of property, and will generally have square shaped rooms.

Traditionally British property buyers relocating here love buying homes that require a little ‘TLC’, and there are many of these still available across the country.


A domaine is a large plot of land or property, and can be loosely translated as an estate in English. Often the land will be there for a specific reason: such as for a vineyard, golf, hunting etc.


A fermette is a small farm, usually found in the countryside or on the outskirts of a village. Often stone built, a fermette will consist of a farmhouse and outbuildings with some land.


A longere is another kind of rural property, similar to a large barn, found in various regions of France. Normally rectangular in shape, a longere is usually built with materials from the region and often just a one storey dwelling, with perhaps an attic.


A mas is a largish property, again in the countryside, and usually found in the southern areas of France, particularly Provence.

French property - maison a colombage

The maison a colombage is a half-timbered house, broadly reminiscent of an English Tudor property.

Maison a colombages

Often found in bastide villages, this is a type of house built of wood and stone, roughly similar to English Tudor houses.

Maison de maître

Meaning “Master’s house”, a maison de maître is found in a town or village. They usually have practical, square layouts with an imposing front door, double fronted, high ceilings, a grand staircase and at least two rooms at either side.


A pavillon will usually be a more modern detached house, with a cellar and garage on the ground floor. This is the most common type of property in most areas of France. You will also find that bungalows in the North of France are also called pavillons.

Villa d’architecte

This is another kind of modern property, and will generally have been built in the last 50 years or so, varying in design from one storey houses to more extensive properties. They are normally built to resemble the style of older properties of the region. For example, there are several villas in the Languedoc Roussillon of this type with the typical “languedocienne” roof of curved slates in earthy colours.

The pavillon, a detached family home, is the most common type of property in France.

Questions to ask yourself

When thinking about what kind of property to buy, we would recommend first making some notes about what you want and need in a property. We have put together a number of questions for you to ask yourself to help you choose:

  • What type of property do you see yourself living in? A modern apartment, villa, village or town house, character home, or a farmhouse with outbuildings?
  • How big does it need to be? How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms?
  • Would you prefer to live in an old house or something new? If old, are you happy to manage a serious renovation? Or perhaps a redecoration is more in line with your plans?
  • Do you need a terrace? Off-road parking? A garden? A swimming pool? Maybe you are looking for some land with fruit trees?
  • Are you looking for a property that you can open as a gîte or a B&B business?
  • What type of view (if any!) do you require from the property?
  • What else is needed to fulfil your property requirements?
  • How can you ensure that you will find the right property from a good, trustworthy agent?

Many of the answers to these questions are subjective, but our property portal can help you figure out what you are looking for. Browsing our great selection of different properties across France can give you a good idea of what your budget can offer you – and we can easily put you in touch with a reputable estate agent who has gone through our due diligence processes.

Buying a House in France Guide.

The France Buying Guide walks you step-by-step through each stage of the property buying process in France, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:

  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in France

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