A Place in the Sun

Hot Properties in France


Property in France

France is consistently the second most popular choice for Brits who choose to buy a property abroad (after Spain) and it’s easy to see why - from the stunningly diverse scenery to the laid-back Gallic lifestyle, the chic towns and charming villages, and beautiful beaches, it’s got a bit of everything. Since Covid it’s also been increasingly important that it is the one place we can feasibly drive to – and French is the one language of which some of us have a rudimentary grasp.

Now that climate change is becoming increasingly important in people’s decision-making too, driving to north- west France where the summers do suffer 40-degree heatwaves is another trend.

Then there comes the property. Prices are still very affordable in many parts of France, with vast swathes of the rural interior that offer gorgeous detached houses with land for the price of a London flat. Many buyers have a budget of around €200,000 and some are still keen to renovate, despite the increase in building costs.

What’s more, France is one of the safest places to buy property on continental Europe. When did you last hear of someone buying an illegal property in the Dordogne or Brittany?

For peace of mind, the buyer is so well protected in the purchase process there’s even a seven-day cooling off period to change your mind. France is certainly a ‘safe haven’ and a much more affordable one than super-safe Switzerland. The French have embraced hybrid working big time too and the ‘race for space’ continues to revive rural markets, including southwest and central France. Your money goes a long way in the Charente, Loire, Vienne, and the Limousin, for example.

There are many British buyers applying for long-stay visas, having fallen in love with the traditional, rural lifestyle of many French regions. As a long-term investment it can also offer great returns, with the world’s highest number of tourists (82.6 million in 2022) allowing homeowners in France to rent out their properties and make significant financial gains on their property

Where to Buy Property in France

The south-west of France tends to be one of the most popular areas, for its climate, cuisine and beautiful countryside peppered with charming bastide towns or villages.

The Dordogne, in the Aquitaine region, is always a favourite with UK buyers and prices have fallen by as much as 50 per cent. Bijou village houses go from under €100,000 and three-bedroom family houses with good-sized gardens for €200,000.

Don’t be shy about haggling as many homes have been languishing on the market for a good couple of years. The Lot-et--Garonne is a similar scenario.

The market in Gascony is a little bit more lively, and there’s been a growing demand for Poitou-Charentes in the past couple of years, where you can get a three-bed home for €150,000 or a charming renovated watermill for less than €250,000. 

Another area growing in popularity is the Pyrenees-Orientales region for its combination of mountains, chic coastal towns and its proximity to Spain. The lovely village of Ceret, the vibrant city of Perpignan or the chic town of Collioure are all worth a look.

Or the Languedoc-Roussillon area offers a cheaper option to über-pricey Provence or the Cote d’Azur, with cities such as Montpellier, a dynamic, high-tech industrial city with an arty, bohemian culture.

The countryside has vineyards and lavender fields like Provence, the Mediterranean is on the doorstep, but for €150,000 you can get a flat in Montpellier, or a country cottage or village property without much land but in good repair.

There’s no doubt that the Cote’Azur remains THE place to own a holiday home on the Med for many wealthy buyers from around the world but prices haven’t nose-dived and the hotspots around Nice, St Tropez, Cannes, Antibes and Mougins are all still much in demand. Look for nearby villages to these hotspots for greater affordability. 

Up in the north, Brittany and Normandy are great options for people who like their places in the sun not too hot, but still averaging 5ºC higher than in southern England.

The fishing villages are a great attraction, with restaurants on the harbourside, but inland you have the weekly markets, chateaux, green countryside and a wonderful infrastructure, all just a hop over the Channel. That convenience pushes seaside prices up, but go a few miles inland and sizeable farmhouses go from €250,000, cottages from €85,000.

Go into the less populated interior of France - the Auvergne and the Limousin, for example - and prices drop even more, so it's well worth investigating these beautiful and dramatic regions of France a little further. 

Paris, like London, has bucked the national trend, and prices are still rising, while the French Alps remain our most popular ski-property location, with the Three Valleys as popular as ever. For investors, the dual-season returns of the prime Alpine resorts are hard to beat for returns. 

If you love classic French red wines then a fantastic area is that of the Entre deux Mers around the elegant city of Bordeaux, where many homes come with a small vineyard. 

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