Are you an avid skier or do you prefer a sun-drenched beach? Whatever your preference you’ll find the perfect place to buy a home in France. Here’s a quick run-through some of the best areas to start your search.
As our nearest European neighbour France remains the most popular country in the world for Brits buying abroad. Around 200,000 of us have been happily seduced by the laidback lifestyle, pretty ancient villages, pavement cafés, haute cuisine, rich history, stunning coastlines and last but by no means least the reasonable property prices? It’s little wonder we are continually drawn to this beautiful country that’s just a short hop over the English Channel.
Around 200,000 of us have been happily seduced by the laidback lifestyle, pretty ancient villages, pavement cafés, haute cuisine, rich history, stunning coastlines and last but by no means least the reasonable property prices?
Interestingly, the French themselves generally have a different idea when it comes to property hunting in their country. Where Brits often have their heart set on a period property with plenty of character and land, many French people are keen to find an easy to maintain new build property with a small garden. So it’s no surprise older properties tend to stay on the market for longer – particularly the larger ones. It appears the French are relying on us to do the renovation work!
To cater for this demand from the locals there has been an increase in the development of new homes in many parts of the country. According to French statistics company Insee, more than 300,000 new homes were built last year. If you want to break the British mould a buy something a bit more contemporary you’ll have plenty of properties to choose from across the land.
New or old, where are the best areas to begin your property search in France? We have picked out some of the most popular towns where property will prove a sound investment. We suggest venturing out into the surrounding area; you may be surprised what you can pick up with your budget!
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Toulouse – Affectionately known as “the pink city” Toulouse is the largest town in the Mid-Pyrenees area. Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus is and the “Cite d’espace” theme park are located here, as is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe. Rugby lovers will be delighted to hear the city is very much at the centre of south-west France’s rugby heartland, and home to one of the top teams in Europe. Radiating out from Toulouse are some wonderful towns such as Albi, Carcassonne, Cahors and their surrounding villages: great spots for a viewing trip.
Bordeaux – A traditional, well-kept town and centre of the wine industry France is world-famous for. Here prices have risen slightly in recent times, making it a sound area for investment. You can be in Paris on the high-speed TGV train in 2 hours. Again, take a look at the surrounding area, particularly places such as Saint Emilion and Libourne.
Paris – Understandably a more expensive option, but head just outside the affluent 6th, 7th and 16th arrondissements – boroughs – and you can still find a smart pied-à-terre – small urban property – for an attractive price; one which would offer an excellent rental return if you so choose and is likely to increase in value.
So all the talk is of buying overseas is finally over and you’re actually ready to head out to France for a viewing trip to find your dream home. Find out how to make the most of your visit by downloading our free guide to planning a viewing trip.
Lyon – The gastronomical capital of France, and that’s saying something such is the nation’s culinary reputation! A strong local economy and excellent banking, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, plus convenient access to Paris, Nice and London make this a good choice for second homes. Another advantage is the city’s proximity to the French alps, which can be reached in less than two hours by car for a spot of skiing.
Côte d’Azur –Also known as the French Riviera, this region is famous for its glamorous beach resorts such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes, and the independent microstate of Monaco, which is equally famous for its upscale casinos, yacht-lined harbour and prestigious Grand Prix motor race. Prices are unsurprisingly expensive, so a good tip is to look a little further inland where the cost of a home drops quite significantly. The enduring popularity of this salubrious stretch of Mediterranean coast means you won’t have any problem renting out your new property, and you can rest assured the price will only rise.
The enduring popularity of this salubrious stretch of Mediterranean coast means you won’t have any problem renting out your new property, and you can rest assured the price will only rise.
Alps – Definitely one of our favourite areas in terms of stunning scenery. Here you’ll find plenty of new build apartments and chalets that are continually being constructed to cater for the hordes of snow sports enthusiasts that descend on the slopes in the winter months. Ski in ski out properties are expensive but you can still find some lovely little studio apartments a little further away for under the €200,000 mark. Long-term investment potential is aided by consistent demand in the French Alps, leading to it being dubbed a bulletproof property market.
Of course this list could go on and on! There are plenty of very pretty areas where you can pick up a lovely house for a song: also consider the Limousin and Charentes. The choice is yours.
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: