Provence is one of the most desirable areas to live in France, but if you are looking for property in Provence, where are the most sought-after locations? Home Hunts reveals 2015’s four top property hotspots in Provence.
The area that is generally referred to as Provence mostly corresponds to the official region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It includes the departments of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and areas of the Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse, and the largest city in the region is Marseille.
After gathering data from 2015, Home Hunts can confirm that Les Alpilles, the Luberon, the Var countryside and the Provence coast are the most popular locations with buyers purchasing prime property in Provence.
Provence is renowned for its stable property market and 2015 saw an increase in sales throughout the year, particularly in Marseille, which was a result of buyers taking advantage of the lower property prices and low interest rates.
“Despite the international crisis over the last few years, buyers have still been investing in property in Provence and it has remained a highly popular destination for international buyers,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts. “Provence is a huge region and very diverse, so there really is something for everyone, whether you are looking for complete isolation, a French village dream lifestyle or a place on the coast.”
Most of Home Hunts’ clients look for holiday homes in this area, but a number of buyers retire here to live out the dream Provençal lifestyle. “There are some great value properties available and over the last twelve months we’ve negotiated some excellent deals for our clients in this area,” adds Tim.
Here is an overview of each of the four most coveted locations to own property in Provence.
Whether you are looking for a holiday home or main residence, Saint Remy de Provence offers international buyers a strong and friendly community, making it a popular place to live. In terms of accessibility, the TGV at Avignon is only 20 minutes away and Marseille-Provence Airport is less than an hour by car.
In terms of potential lifestyle, there are plenty of cultural activities, festivals, renowned restaurants and beautiful scenery for walking and cycling. “We have found that St Remy and the surrounding countryside have become more and more popular in recent years, particularly with buyers who want to feel they are living in the ‘real Provence’ and wish to have a laid-back way of life without feeling disconnected,” explains Tim.
Buyers wanting a little more for their money could head to one of the many charming villages in the Alpilles. For example, Mouries, Fontvieille and St-Etienne du Grès are all beautiful villages, with a good selection of local facilities, which offer lower property prices than Saint Remy.
Arguably the most famous part of Provence and the area where Peter Mayle set his many books, the Luberon is considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in France. The Luberon is famed for its beautiful hilltop villages, spectacular scenery, sites of interest, exceptional food, warm climate and world famous Lavender fields.
“Since Home Hunts began, we have always found the Luberon to be one of the most desirable destinations for overseas buyers (particularly British, Dutch and Scandinavian) and this doesn’t let up,” says Tim. “Properties in villages like Gordes, Bonnieux and Lourmarin remain in the most searched for destinations on our site every year.”
Most buyers in this area are looking for stone-built properties, some want original charm with perhaps a little work to do, but stone properties with modern, contemporary interiors seem to be the most popular.
The Var is a varied department offering properties of all types, from contemporary seafront villas to châteaux, farmhouses and vineyards, and offers an authentic Provençal way of life. The inland area of the Var includes villages such as Lorgues, Cotignac, Fayence and Bargemon, but most of the villages in the Var have good restaurants and facilities, busy local markets and offer a real sense of community.
“The Var has some wonderful sites to see such as the Lac Saint Cassien, which is a huge inland lake offering water sports and excellent restaurants for those not wishing to head down to the coast,” says Tim. “One of the big draws to this area, apart from the climate of course, is the fact that it remains relatively busy all year round. It is also very easy to head to the Riviera or Marseille, so you’re never isolated in the Var.”
While Home Hunts helps many buyers find second homes in the Var, permanent residences are also in demand. “We find a lot of people looking for property in Provence buy in this area to live full-time too, from those retiring to those buying properties with an income, such as vineyards or chambres d’hôtes,” adds Tim.
The area that Home Hunts classes as the Provence coast stretches west from Saint Tropez all the way to Marseille. Saint Tropez itself and everything east of that up to the Italian border is classed by Home Hunts as the French Riviera.
A lesser-known stretch of coast in the South of France, demand for coastal property in Provence increases year-on-year. The coastline itself is a little more rugged and less built up than the neighbouring Riviera and resorts such as Bandol, Sanary sur Mer, Cassis and Le Lavandou continue to grow in popularity.
“There are some wonderful properties in this area, from small run down waterfront properties to huge sprawling estates, and everything is very discreet and a little less showy than the Côte d’Azur,” says Tim. “Buyers on the Provence coast mainly come from the Netherlands, Belgium, UK and Sweden, but we do get enquiries from clients from all over the world.”
To search for property in Provence, check out Home Hunts’ impressive Provence portfolio at www.home-hunts.com. To speak with one of Home Hunts’ consultants directly about your specific real estate requirements call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.