Where can you find a good-value property in France and immerse yourself in holiday heaven? Here are some of the best places to buy a second home in the French countryside
The terrain of the glorious French countryside varies greatly from region to region. This can often be a surprise when travelling around the country as it can often change far more rapidly than you would expect.
If you want to be surrounded by vineyards, it’s better to go for an AOC appellation where beautiful scenery will go hand in hand with delicious local wine.
For mountain views you could head towards the Alps or the Pyrénées, or for seascapes you could look in Gironde near Bordeaux, the Riviera or the Aude in Languedoc.
Here you’ll also find the wild natural surroundings and scrubby Mediterranean vegetation known as “garrigue”, hilltop castle ruins and medieval villages, as well as thousands of acres of verdant, majestically-aligned vineyards.
Find a dream country home in glorious Gers
For Rory, a Home Hunts consultant in South West France, one of the best places to invest in property is Gers, one of the departments that makes up the ancient region of Gascony (as well as Landes and the Hautes-Pyrénées).
“Condom, Lectoure, Fleurance and all other places in between are popular with international clients wishing to buy a country estate away from busy roads,” says Rory. “Here they can also be within one hour or so of Toulouse with its excellent restaurants, shops and culture.”
This pretty stone six-bedroom house priced at €798,000 (HH-11431752) shows how much you can get for your money in this part of the country. Located in Condom it offers stunning views over the Gers countryside. With original features, such as terracotta tiles, fireplaces and a mullioned window, the property is set in 1.7 hectares of grounds. Manicured lawns, an orchard, a tennis court and an azure-blue swimming pool make the exterior of this home a sublimely relaxing place to spend the holidays.
Get the best of city and country life in Gironde
Prices have risen in Bordeaux by more than 10% in the past 12-18 months and there is currently more interest than ever in properties outside of Bordeaux in the Gironde countryside. Rural retreats that offer proximity to this world-renowned city are rising in popularity with overseas buyers and Parisians now the TGV links the area to Paris in two hours.
“We get a lot of enquiries from clients looking for a charming property in the countryside within 30 or 45 minutes of the city because it is such a cosmopolitan hub,” says Rory. “Interest continues to pour in for both apartments in the city and rural properties close by.”
Discover a rural retreat on the Riviera
Just 30 minutes to Nice airport and about the same to the closest sandy beaches in Antibes or Cannes, the Mougins and Valbonne areas are excellent inland locations to invest in a holiday home in the French countryside.
“Both villages are authentic, charming and medieval, with a lot going on all year round, but not yet disturbed by tourists in the summer season,” says Amy Bault, Home Hunts’ Riviera manager. “They have good amenities, including excellent restaurants, and they are close to several international schools, hence very sought after by expatriates who live here all year round.”
An eight-bedroom house that would be hard to beat as the ideal holiday home (HH-11740862), this exquisite property provides panoramic views of the hills and the old village. It features stylish interiors that mix modern touches and splashes of colour with more neutral traditional features and every window displays a glorious view. The lush gardens include tall palm trees and the secure swimming pool isn’t the only place to relax and have fun as there is also a pétanque pitch, a huge terrace, and a golf course down the road.
Holiday in deepest Provence in Les Alpilles
For those that want to feel as though they are in deepest Provence, the villages around Les Alpilles – which are roughly between Arles and Avignon – are good locations to explore. A small range of low mountains that are wild, unspoilt and breathtakingly beautiful, it’s possible to find stunning countryside properties at a far more affordable price than the equivalent in more popular areas of Provence.
For international buyers, the strong and friendly community in Saint-Rémy de Provence are part of the reason why it is so sought after. A charming village in the heart of Provence, it has summer festivals, lively restaurants and beautiful scenery for walking and cycling.
“Saint-Remy has a wonderful atmosphere and offers superb shopping, food and markets,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts. “If you want to feel as though you’re in ‘real Provence’ and enjoy an authentic Provençal lifestyle, this is a very good place to buy property.”
Around 2km from Saint-Remy in the middle of the countryside, this attractive three-bedroom Mas (HH-9605675), with pretty light-blue shutters, is on the market for €799,000. A spacious terrace, shady trees and an inviting swimming pool makes this a dreamy holiday home and an excellent investment opportunity.
Snap up a bargain in the magnificent Aude
The Aude stretches along the Mediterranean coastline in Occitanie from the glorious beach resort of Leucate to the north of Gruissan Plage up to the old Cathar site of Lastours. Its most popular towns include the medieval city of Carcassonne and Narbonne, which has a lively city centre as well as miles of golden sands.
A department renowned for its excellent wine, the Minervois wine region stretches across Hérault and the Aude. The latter is home to the Corbières wine region, too. In this area, Lagrasse and Ferrals-les-Corbières are both recommended as good locations to buy country properties.
“These tranquil villages, in the heart of the stunning Corbières wine region, offer overseas buyers excellent value for money,” says Julie Reaney, a consultant for Home Hunts. “With house prices expected to rise, property here can make a great investment opportunity.”
In the Minervois area, the market town of Bize-Minervois is popular with families. At the foot of the Black Mountains, the medieval town of Caunes-Minervois is another location that’s favoured by a growing number of overseas buyers.
This extremely grand property is a dream holiday home both inside and out. Part of an old winery – hence the splendid gated entrance – it is nestled in one-hectare of grounds and has air-conditioning to ensure each of the ten bedrooms are kept cool during the summer. With a beautiful swimming pool area and located just a short drive from Narbonne, this is a must-view property, especially as it is on the market for €990,000.
If you are searching to buy a second home in the French countryside, you can check out Home Hunts’ portfolio at www.home-hunts.com. But to speak to a consultant about your specific requirements or viewing any of the properties mentioned in this article, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.