Holiday homes in France have long been popular amongst British buyers. As a tourist destination, France offers a great variety of picturesque locations, often just a convenient drive away from the UK ferry ports.
So, where to begin your property search? Here, in no particular order, are a few exciting French property destinations and an idea of current prices:
Normandy is very easily accessed from the UK and in 2007 the western part saw property prices drop to around half of their peak value. This fact, plus Normandy’s great tourist attractions, (including world-famous cheeses and cider), make it a favoured destination for holiday homebuyers in France today. Main focuses for property searches are in and around Rouen, Caen, Le Havre and Bayeux.
Le Mont St Michel, Normandy
Perched between Normandy and Brittany, Le Mont St Michel and its bay make for a stunning location, served by the A84 motorway which provides a main gateway to Brittany. As a favourite tourist destination in France, buying a holiday home here could make perfect sense.
Great beaches and a changeable coastline, along with plenty of space and interesting medieval towns make Brittany a hit with British holiday homebuyers. They can pop across The Channel on one of many car ferries and reach their French getaways within a day. This area’s prices remain incredibly low and shrewd buyers are beginning to invest here.
Another stunning and peaceful part of Brittany, Morbihan sits in the south of the region and is famed for its Gulf of Morbihan, widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Clermont-Ferrand, Massif Central
Ideal for nature lovers and rugby fans alike, Clermont-Ferrand is surrounded by green fields and unspoilt villages and is home to one of the most supported rugby teams in France. You can get to this area of France easily by air, with many direct flights from UK airports flying to Clermont Ferrand airport. Flybe operate flights direct from Southampton during summer months. Other airports nearby are Limoges, Lyon and Rodez.
You don’t have to be a brandy lover to enjoy this quiet corner of south west France. Armagnac sits in the heart of ancient Gascony and, although it is famed for its distilleries, you will also find plenty of history to marvel at which dates back to the 14th century. You’ll find a host of fine, old properties, including châteaux and farmhouses to choose from.
The Loir River
Head a bit further north of the stunning châteaux of the famous Loire Valley with its popular towns of Saumur and Amboise and you could find your dream holiday home, close to the Loir River in a town such as La Chartre-sur-le-Loir. While your address will sound like the prestigious Loire, your property in Le Loir will cost far less than in the Loire Valley!
Sunshine, pretty villages and rolling vineyards plus a rich history and culture make Languedoc an interesting option. With more affordable property prices than on the French Riviera, Languedoc is popular with buyers looking for great value in the south of France. The old market town of Olonzac between Carcassonne and Narbonne reflects the charm of this region and is far enough from the crowds of the coast, just 30 minutes’ drive away.
“The Alps might not be the first place to come to mind if you were looking for bargain properties in France,” explains Liz Standley of French Property Ski “but there is certainly good value for money in the area, particularly for families who love skiing.” Bordering Switzerland and Italy, this region in the east of France is most popular for top quality winter sports, while its nature reserves are ideal for mountain, lakeside and forest trekking.
Sitting just north of France’s ever popular Provence, Drôme Provençale is a nature lover’s dream located in the Rhône-Alpes. As the name suggests, it’s surrounded by the Alps and borders the impressive River Rhône. William Pearson of Prime French Properties explains: “The Drôme Provençale is off the beaten track, but has a lot to offer, from old Roman towns to olive groves and fields of lavender.”