Interactive Map of French Regions

  • Deciding where to buy in France?

    If you’re after a French home but can’t decide where to buy then help is at hand as we compare two of the most popular regions for British buyers - Brittany and Languedoc-Roussillon.

    We discuss the best locations for every type of buyer, from culture lovers and francophiles to beach fanatics and those seeking the company of other expats.

    Just click on one of the regions above to begin

  • Provence

    This huge region at the southern extreme of France is arguably the most exciting, varied, beautiful and sought-afterplaces to own a property in Europe. Famous for its theatrical sunlight it stretches from the Rhone valley in the west through Marseilles and on to the Italian border in the east. It also reaches inland through gorgeous countryside to the foothills of the Alps.

    Provence’s most famous areas are its Riviera and the cities of Nice and Cannes on the gleaming Cote d’Azur, but there’s also westerly Aix-en-Provence, the capital of an area adored by the British and made famous by Peter Mayle’s book, A Year in Provence.

    Best for: Beaches - Le Lavandou

    There are some wonderful towns and villages on the coast between Marseille and St. Tropez and one of the hidden gems is Le Lavandou. It’s an ex-fishing village that’s now a popular resort town that retains its narrow streets and charm.

    As well as a sandy beach to the west ofits port, there are the ‘silver beaches’, a string of small coves and beaches backed by pine woodland easily accessed from the D559 coastal road as it winds its way to St Tropez.

    Property and Prices

    Properties here are a fraction of the price to the neighbouring French Riviera and two and three bedroom apartments can be had for between €300,000 and €350,000 but you’ll have to dig deeper for a house.

    Smaller ones start at €800,000 but quickly rise in price and three and four bedroom villas with pools and sea views can be hard to find for under €1m.

    Getting there

    Le Lavandou is 30 minutes by car from Toulon. You can fly there direct from London City and Southampton airports or take the train there from St Pancras.

    Best for: Traditional France - Saint Remy de Provence

    Many of the towns in Les Alpilles, a hilly area to the south east of Provence, are said to be the most French in the region but Saint Remy de Provence is the most famous. Little has changed since Vincent van Gogh lived in the town and painted the scenery here. It is very sleepy even in its historic and alleyway-riddled Vielle Ville.

    Property and prices

    At the most affordable €350,000 buys a small town house in the centre or a larger property in one of the town’s satellite villages. But prices quickly escalate to €500,000 and beyond if you’re after something larger in the centre or a short drive from it.

    Getting there

    Avignon airport is half an hour away by car, from which there are direct flights to London City, Southampton and Birmingham airports.

    Best for: Meeting Other Brits - Lorgues

    Tim Swannie of French property firm Home Hunts recommends Lorgues in the Var which he says is renowned for being very popular with the Brits, as well as Dutch and Scandinavian buyers. Lorgues is a beautiful and warm and welcoming Provencal village with a bustling local market and good restaurants which are open all year round. “Whilst Lorgues has become very popular with both tourists and overseas residents, it retains its Provencal charm,” he says.

    Property and Prices

    The town and its surrounding countryside is affordable by Provencal standards and between €250,000 and €500,000 buys a townhouse in the centre or a small villa outside.

    Getting there

    The below average prices here reflect Lorgue’s relatively isolated position. It’s an hour and a half to Marseilles airport by car, while although Cannes airport is nearer, the drive can be a long one during the high season when the roads are busy.

    Best for: Culture and Buzz - Aix-en-Provence

    Aix is the capital of the French ‘good life’ for many Brits. It’s a large and beautiful city featuring stunning architecture and a rich cultural calendar. Museums, concerts, art galleries and cinemas are all here but it also has an amazing array of bars and restaurants. Being a university city there is a student-like buzz in town throughout the year. Aix is also the gateway to rural Durance and the Luberon Valley, both very popular with Brits.

    Property and Prices

    Paradise doesn’t come cheap and there is only a small market for affordable apartments and houses in and around Aix. Approximately €350,000 buys a two-bedroom apartment in the city, while between €500,000 ad €850,000 will buy you a four to six-bedroom mid-sized house in its suburbs.

    Getting there

    Marseilles airport is 40 minutes away by car, from whichthere are flights to London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol. There’s also a TGV station at Aix, so you could travel there via Paris by train from the UK.

    Best for: Active Lifestyle - Cucuron

    If you’re looking for somewhere in Provence to walk and cycle then anywhere in the Luberon would be ideal. Also, the Alps’ ski resorts are around five hours away. But perhaps one of the prettiest towns in this mountainous region to the north of Aix is Cucuron, which is famous for its olive oil, an industry that still employs many people in the area. The town is so eye-catching that it’s frequent used as a location for films.

    Property and Prices

    Prices are reasonable here and up to €350,000 buys a two or three-bedroom townhouse in the centre or something larger outside. But if you want a five-bedroom farmhouse then prices jump up to €800,000 and sometimes more.

    Getting there

    Cucuron is half way between both Avignon and Marseilles airports, both of which are about an hour away.

  • The Dordogne

    This verdant, wealthy, picturesque and nut-shaped swathe of countryside to the east of Bordeaux has long been many English people’s idea of idyllic and unspoiled France. Its two main hubs are Perigueux in the middle and Bergerac to the south but there’s also an array of eye-wateringly beautiful towns elsewhere includingSarlat, Riberac and Montignac.

    Best for: Traditonal France - Riberac

    This sleepy town in the Dronne valley is six kilometers fromPerigueux and is well known for its Friday market. The coach tours give it a miss because, apart from Romanesque churches, there’s not much to see. But that’s why it has retained its French character.

    Property and Prices

    The countryside around Sarlat contains a variety of property from €70,000 projects to three- and four-bedroom houses for between €200,000 and €300,000. Larger detached period houses and modern villas with pools start at €350,000 and rise to €450 to €550,000 for the largest examples.

    Getting there

    The two nearest airports are in Bordeaux and Limoges, both of which are an hour and a half away.

    Best for: Meeting Other Brits - Eymet

    Eymet is one of the most British towns in France with a few thousand expats living in and around it. Eyme has a cricket club as well asaBritish supermarket selling bitter and a raft of other familiar groceries. There’s also an interiors shop that sells Farrow and Ball paint.

    Property and Prices

    Whatever your budget Eymet and the villages around it teem with properties for sale. Basic houses in need of renovation deep in the countryside cost the least but up to €200,000 buys a very wide range of period and more modern houses, villas, bungalows and farmhouses of various sizes. If you want something larger, more impressive and with a pool then you’ll need to spend between €250,000 and €350,000 but if you want one that’s walking distance from Eymet then that range increases to between €400,000and €500,00.

    Getting there

    Eymet is an hour and a half by car from Bordeaux airport.

    Best for: Culture and Buzz - Sarlat

    Renaissance architecture dominates this preserved town on the North East fringes of the Dordogne, in particular its gorgeous central Place de la Liberté which attracts hordes of sightseers during the summer. It has featured in several Hollywood films and is known both for its community of painters and music and theatrical events.

    Property and Prices

    The area is great value, despite its popularity with tourists. Substantial three and four bedroom houses near the town can be bought for up to €200,000 while €300,000 buys big, eight bedroom modern houses and period ones of up to five bedrooms. If you’re looking for a wow factor property with a pool then you’ll need to spend between €400,000 and €500,000.

    Getting there

    Sarlat is 50 minutes by car from Brive airport.

    Best for: Active Lifestyle - Montignac

    Montignac straddles the Vézèresriver and is a tourist magnet, largely because of the nearby Lascaux cave paintings. But because it’s on a rolling river valley there is plenty here for outdoors enthusiasts including canoeing, walking and mountain biking.

    Property and Prices

    Montignac property is more expensive that the other towns in this guide and there’s less available for sale. Three and four-bedroom period and modern houses start at €200,000 but rise in price rapidly through €300,000 to €400,000 while larger renovated farmhouses go for €500,00 to €650,000.

    Getting there

    Brive Airport is 45 minutes away by car.

    What buyers need to know

    When you’re planning where to buy in the Dordogne remember that it may look lively and exciting in the late Spring and Summer when attractions, restaurants, bars and street markets are thronged, but in the late Autumn and Winter it can be very quiet so think about where you want to live.

  • Poitou-Charentes

    This ear-shaped patch of south western France has been growing in popularity with the British in recent decades because it’s close to the Dordogne but much more affordable. The region features lush countryside plusvery French villages and towns. For tipple lovers there’s Cognac.

    The region has four departments – rural Charente, seaside Charente-Maritime, wine-soaked Deux Sevres and historic but hard-working Vienne.

    Best for: Beaches - Royan (Charente Maritime)

    This is a seaside town that overlooks the Gironde estuary. It’s not the prettiest and is dominated by oyster-bearing mudflats but Royan is one of the few reasonably-priced places on this coast. And on either side of it are glorious beaches and very upmarket areas such as nearby Ile de Re. The town also hosts a huge music and fireworks festival in July.

    Property and Prices

    One-bedroom flatsgo for €100,000 and sometimes less. Prices for smaller houses start at around €180,000 and rise to €280,000 depending on size, style and proximity to the beach. Townhouses in Royan can go for up to €450,000 but after that its luxury apartments from €500,000 and big villas for up to €1m.

    Getting there

    The nearest airports are La Rochelle (15 minutes by car) or Bordeaux, where flights are more regular (two hours away).

    Best for: Traditional France - Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (Charente)

    This small rural town clings to a cliff overlooking the Dronneriver and is one of France’s official ‘prettiest villages’. It’s a mecca for holiday makers during the summer but for the rest of the year settles back to a quiet, bucolic peace.

    Property and Prices

    Prices are reasonable here and it’s a hidden gem, kept out of the spotlight by the long drive to Bordeaux airport. Substantial houses with swimming pools go for €270,000 and ones without for much less. Prices climb away up to around €700,000 for really big country houses with pools and grounds.

    Getting there

    The nearest airports are at Angouleme and Bergerac but neither offer particularly regular flights so for most people it’s got to be Bordeaux Airport.

    Best for: Meeting Other Brits - Confolens (Charente)

    This gorgeous medieval town is popular with the British, who are a significant presence in and around the town. It sits on the confluence (hence its name) of the Vienne and Goire rivers and is well known for its thermal baths, 12th bridge and preserved Old Town.

    Property and Prices

    Confolens and the surrounding area are good value for money. If you’ve got between €200,000 ad €250,000 to spend then there’s a good range of town and rural homes with three, four, five and even seven bedroom properties for sale.

    Getting there

    Both Cognac and Limoges airports are 45 minutes away by car but there’s also a train line to Angouleme, from where services to Paris and on to UK are available.

    Best for: Culture and Buzz - Cognac (Charente)

    Cognac is famous for its brandy and it’s where you’ll find such famous names as Hennessey and Remy Martin. But it’s also a cultural hotspot including a large theatre as well as plenty of venues where literature and music are discussed and performed. There’s also an international blues festival every July.

    Property and Prices

    Cognac’s reputation makes it a magnet for the rich and prices fall into two categories. First is the prime market for rural retreats which starts at around €500,000 but climbs up to €8m or more for a chateau. But there’s also a market that starts at €180,000 and rises to €450,000 for three- and four-bedroom modern and stone-built houses in outlying villages.

    Getting there

    Cognac has its own airport but the two nearest international ones are at Limoges (two hours away by car) or Bordeaux (an hour and a half). Cognac has a train station which connects with Angouleme and then on to Paris and the UK.

    Best for: Active Lifestyle - La Rochelle (Charente Maritime)

    This historic port city and eye-catching bay is the coastalhub of the region and it’s popular with both painters and outdoors types. There’s a marina if you’ve got a yacht, lots of beaches as well as cycle ways for road and off-road enthusiasts. And there’s also the Marais Poitevin, an expanse of marshland, rivers and canals an hour north-east of La Rochelle.

    Property and prices

    Entry level is €100,000 to €200,000 for one to three bedroom properties in need of modernisation but with terraces or gardens. Move out a bit and you’ll find four and five bedroom villas for €300,000 to €400,000. For a property overlooking the sea expect to pay €500,000 while large houses and mansions go for up to €1.2 million.

    Getting there

    Most people fly to La Rochelle, but it’s only got regular flights during the summer from Gatwick and Stansted. Otherwise it’s a six-hour drive to Calais or two hours to Bordeaux Airport.

  • Normandy

    This north-western flank of France is the most familiar area of France for Brits. It includes three of the channel ports making it a favourite with those looking to commute back to Britain on a regular basis.

    The Normandy countryside also looks like England and it has long-standing links to the UK, including the D-Day beaches. The region is divided into the Seine Valley, north of Le Havre; the Lower Normandy coast from Le Havre to Mont St Michel and also inland Normandy including areas popular with Brits such as Falaise.

    Best for: Beaches - Deauville

    This is Normandy’s Brighton. It’s a carefree and cosmopolitan town popular with those from Paris and one of France’s most upmarket coastal resorts. Deauville has a marina, a picturesque centre and an amazing beach.

    Property and Prices

    The town’s ritzy reputation means prices aren’t bargain-basement and between €150,000 and €300,000 buys you either an apartment in the centre or, if you drive out of town for 15 minutes, a three bedroom detached period house.

    Getting there

    The most popular way is to take the Ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre which is next door. Or Dieppe, which is an hour and a half away up the coast.

    Best for: Traditional France - Falaise

    Falaise is one of the better-known towns within the huge rural heart of Normandy, cut off from the bustle of the region’s coastal tourist resorts, although it’s pretty town centre and huge castle attract visitors during the summer months. The town, which is 35 miles south of Caen, is famous for being largely rebuilt after a vicious WWII battle in and around it.

    Property and Prices

    If you’re prepared to live in one of the surrounding villages or hamlets then between €150,000 and €300,000 buys a period property with up to five bedrooms. Large houses in the centre can be found for €350,000 or more, but they’re rarer.

    Getting there

    There are two ports within an hour or so of Falaise. These are Cherbourg and Le Havre from which boats sail to Poole and Portsmouth.

    Best for: Meeting Other Brits - Sourdeval

    Ask around and Brits who live here think Sourdevalhas the highest proportion of British residents in Normandy, although there are plenty of places where Brits live in significant numbers. It’s a small town forty minutes by car from the two big local towns,Avranches and Villedieu-les-Poêles.

    Property and Prices

    The town, and the villages near it, offer good value for money and stunning detached houses with pools can be found for under €300,000 plus there’s plenty of small houses and cottages for under €200,000.

    Getting there

    The nearest port is St Malo, from which ferries sail to Plymouth, Poole and Portsmouth. You can fly via Caen, but it’s a seasonal service.

    Best for: Culture and Buzz - Honfleur

    This pretty port is a tourist magnet during the summer but is also one of France’s official ‘culture towns’. It was regularly painted by the French Impressionists and has a large public art gallery where paintings by Monet are on view, and another museum dedicated to the its famous musical son, composer Erik Satie.

    Property and prices

    To buy a reasonably-sized three- or four-bedroom house near the town requires at least €250,000 and probably nearer €300,000. Over half of the property for sale locally is on the market for €350,000 or more.

    Getting there

    Honfleur is a short drive from Le Havre and an hour and a half by car from Dieppe.

    Best for: Active Lifestyle - Bayeux

    This medieval market town to the north west of Caen is famous for its eponymous tapestry. But it’s also a great place to live for the outdoors life as it’s close to Cotentin Regional Nature Park, which offers unspoilt countryside to walk through plus there’s the nearby coastal paths that meander along the D-Day beaches.

    Property and Prices

    Bayeux property is much sought after by both British and Parisian second home buyers.You’ll need to spend €300,000-plus to secure a pretty, period house near the town or on its outskirts, as anything under that is either a new-build or a small cottage.

    Getting there

    Bayeux is an hour a half by car from Le Havre and two and a half hours from Dieppe.

    What buyers need to know

    Normandy is more expensive that other parts of France because it’s near to both the Channel ports and Paris, both of which drawn in British and French second home buyers.

  • Brittany

    Brittany shares much with us including its name, weather, terrain and history. It’s a huge peninsula in north-western France that looks and feels like Cornwall, offering gorgeous beaches and a hilly, occasionally forested interior. The region has a strong ‘Breton’identity and an economy based on agriculture, fishing and tourism.

    Best for: Beaches - Erquy

    This is a pretty fishing town cherished for its locally-caught scallops. It sits around a horseshoe-shaped bay and offers an eye-catching harbour as well as ten Beaches. It’s on the northern neck of Brittany and is the area’s main wealth generator, helped by a strong summer tourist trade.

    Highlights include a pink sandstone quarry that gives many properties a distinctive hue, while walkers like the marked coastal paths that provide an elevated view of the coastline.

    Property and Prices

    Small cottages and bungalows start at €140,000 while larger houses kick off at €230,000 and rise slowly to around €400,000 depending on size and location. Anything over €500,000 has five or six bedrooms and a decent garden and occasionally, a swimming pool.

    Getting There

    The ferry port of St-Malo, to which you can sail from Plymouth, is an hour to the west. You can also sail to Dieppe, which is three hours away by car. The nearest airport is Rennes, an hour and half away. Fly to Rennes from Southend, Manchester, Exeter and Southampton.

    Best for: Traditional France - Dinan

    Dinan is inland within northern Brittany and is said to be the region’s prettiest town. It sits on the River Ranceand is famous for its cobbled streets, 13th century town centre and medieval walls. The riverside doubles as a tie-up for yachts and boats but it’s more than just a mooring; the town is a hub for artisans and its shops are packed withworks by its resident artists, sculptors, engravers, bookbinders and glassblowers.

    Property and Prices

    Homes come in two categories – historic apartments and houses in the centre and larger properties outside it. Properties within its wall start at t €150,000 and rise €350,000. Outside the town, between €300,000 and €450,000 buys a four bedroom house while you’ll pay up to €700,000 for a large property with a pool.

    Getting There

    The nearest ferry port is St-Malo, to which you can sail from Plymouth. St-Malo is half an hour by car but you can also sail to Dieppe up the coast, which is three hours away by car. The nearest airport is Rennes, 45 minutes away by car. Flights from the UK are available to Rennes from Southend, Manchester, Exeter and Southampton.

    Best for: Meeting Other Brits - Pontivy

    A bustling historic fortified town in the middle of Brittany. The area around here has the highest density of ex-pats living in Brittany, probably because it offers access to both the larger towns and cities in the south of the region and the northern coastal resorts.

    Property and Prices

    Properties range from one-bedroom apartments in the centre starting at around €70,000 up to €600,000 for a huge country house. In between there are some stunningly beautiful traditional stone houses for between €250,000 and €300,000.

    Getting There

    The nearest ferry port is St-Malo, to which you can sail from Plymouth. It’s an hour and 40 minutes away by car. The nearest two airports are Brest and Rennes. The former is an hour and 40 minutes away and has flights from Birmingham, Gatwick and Southampton. Rennes is an hour and 20 minutes away by car. Flights from the UK are available to it from Southend, Manchester, Exeter and Southampton.

    Best for: Culture and Buzz - Concarneau

    Concarneauis a mixture of a real, working French fishing port (it’s the country’s third largest) as well as a summer tourist resort. Visitors are drawn to its stone inner fortified centre plus the Beaches, coastal walks and, every August, a huge arts festival. It’s in the Finistère region of Brittany, at the western end of the Peninsula.

    Property and Prices

    Prices in the centre for apartments start at €60,000 and rise to €140,000 including even small houses. Larger central apartments with three-plus bedrooms can go for €160,000. There’s then a rump of mid-market, mid-size properties for sale for up to €450,000. After this properties become larger and more interesting architecturally.

    Getting There

    The nearest ferry port is St-Malo, to which you can sail from Plymouth. St. Malo is two hours and 45 minutes car. The nearest airport is Brest which is hour away and has flights from Birmingham, Gatwick and Southampton.

    Best for: Active Lifestyle - Chateaulin, Finistère

    This picturesque town sits astride the wide River Aulne in the Finistère department on the extreme western tip of Britanny. As well as being famous for its sweet macarons, it’s conveniently placed between Brest to the north and Quimper to the south. But if it’s an active lifestyle you’re after then Chateaulin is ideal. The town is very close to the Amourique National Park, a 450,000-acre swathe of preserved Breton landscape ideal for anglers, cyclists, walkers, environmentalists and horse riders.

    Property and Prices

    Chateaulin property is very affordable, reflecting local not international demand for its homes. Small cottages and houses start at €40,000 and rise to €120,000 but larger, detached properties can be bought for between €150,000 and €250,000. Complete farmhouses including large gardens and outbuildings sometimes come on to the market and sell for approximately €300,000.

    Getting There

    The nearest ferry port is St-Malo, to which you can sail from Plymouth. St. Malo is two and a half hours away by car. The nearest airport is Brest which is 35 minutes away and has flights from Birmingham, Gatwick and Southampton although these operate or are most frequent in high season.

  • Languedoc-Roussillon

    This southern region is a snapshot of France and includes high mountains, national parks, shimmering plateaus, wood-covered foothills and sandy beaches.

    Best for: Beaches - Argeles-sur-Mer

    Noted for its nightlife this resort andportis one of the main tourist attractions on the Vermillion Coast close to Spanish border. It has three wide sandy Beaches and offers some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery as the Pyrenees sink down into the Mediterranean.

    Property and Prices

    The mid-market here of between €245,000 and €280,000 includes large three bedroom apartments in the centre, mid-sized refurbished period houses and the smaller holiday villas with pools, which then rise to over half a million for the best locations.

    Getting There

    The town has a train station and both Carcassonne and Girona are a reasonably short ride away. The nearest airport is Perpignan, which is half an hour away in a car. Flights come in from Birmingham, Southampton and Luton.

    Best for: Traditional France - Uzès

    In the north-east of the region is ancient Uzès. It has been described as the ‘perfect small southern French town’. Its history reaches back to Roman times but today it’s dominated by immaculately-preserved 17th century houses both inside and outside its walls. The area is famous for its fruit and truffles and because it’s a piece of unspoilt ‘ancienne’ France.

    Property and Prices

    If you’ve got up to €300,000 to spend then there’s two and three bedroom period and modern houses and villas to be had, but they are usually in the villages that surround Uzès. If you want to buy in or near the town, or secure a larger property, then prices start at €500,000 but swiftly rising to €900,000.

    Getting There

    Uzès is a 30-minute drive from Nimes airport which can be reached from Luton and Liverpool.

    Best for: Meeting Other Brits -Pèzenas

    Not far from Beziers is the town of Pèzenas, a typical French town with narrow, winding streets atits centre surrounded by more modern properties and light industrial units. It’s popular with British families because it’s not too far from the region’s big cities such as Montpelier and Narbonne but also near local Beaches at Marseillan and Agde.

    Property and Prices

    The town centre is affordable and large apartments can be had for €150,000 while townhouses kick off at €300,000. Villas and farmhouses in the countryside start at €450,000 but rise quickly to around £900,000.

    Getting There

    The nearest airport is Beziers, from which you can fly in from Bristol and Luton.

    Best for: Culture and Buzz - Ceret

    This is a medieval walled town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. During the first half of the 20th century it became a magnet for artists drawn to the area’s weather, beauty and cheap living. First to arrive was Picasso followed by Matisse, Dali and Chagall. The town is therefore ideal for arts and culture enthusiasts. Its museum still holds manyof Picasso’s paintings.

    Property and Prices

    Ceret offers small town-centre houses starting at €90,000 as well as larger modern family homes on its outskirts (€180,000 to €300,000). Larger country villas cost between €400,000 and €1m.

    Getting There

    The town borders Spain so the nearest airport, an hour away by car, is at Girona. You can fly there from Manchester, Luton, Stansted and Gatwick.

    Best for: Active Lifestyle - Mende

    This historic city on the River Lot has the feel of a town and is ideal for outdoor types. It has twice been voted France’s sportiest city and has facilities for dozens of sports and activities including canoeing, horse riding, hiking and mountain biking. The huge Cévennes national park is next door. Mende is on a high plateau within the beautiful Lozère department, famous for its four Massif Centrale mountain ranges and scrumptious cheeses.

    Property and Prices

    There are a wealth of apartments and town houses in the centre available for between €80,000 and €200,000. The rest of the market is largely modern new-builds for local families while at the top of market at between €350,000 and €400,000 is the occasional large farmhouse or country pile.

    Getting There

    Fly toRodez, the nearest international airport, and then it’s an hour and half by car. You can fly to Rodez from Stansted.

France Provence Dordogne Poitou Normandy Brittany Languedoc