Five of the best villages to buy property on the French Riviera

Five of the best villages to buy property on the French Riviera 1

The latest research from Home Hunts reveals the most popular villages to own prime property on the French Riviera

With its golden sandy beaches, yacht-frequented waters, vibrant villages and magical atmosphere the French Riviera never ceases to be one of the most desirable places to own property in the world.

“People buy here because of the climate, the sea, the stunning scenery, magnificent food and accessibility,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts. “There are superb beaches and the Alps are just behind, so it is a real year-round destination.”

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Why buy property on the French Riviera?

One of the reasons the French Riviera is consistently so sought-after by overseas buyers is because property in this part of France either holds its value or adds to it. Those with the means to buy into the luxury market are generally always making a savvy investment as prices remain stable despite economic or political traumas – as the Riviera’s property market has proved over the last decade.

“After the crash in 2008-2009, Riviera prices dropped a little, but not a lot compared with many other destinations,” says Tim. “Prices have been relatively stable throughout and are now on the way back up again – and have been for the last year or two. There hasn’t been a boom, just a slow and steady increase, which keeps on rising.”

Tim adds that the majority of buyers (around 75%) are looking for properties in the €1-€5 million range and villages such as Valbonne, Opio, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Saint-Tropez are among the most coveted locations.

In terms of what people want to buy, recent research from Home Hunts shows that the most popular types of properties are those with views of Mediterranean Sea, renovated homes close to a village and modern villas with beautifully-designed swimming pools.

Valbonne offers an idyllic Riviera lifestyle

With the sea just twenty-minutes away and the shopping and glamour of Cannes half-an-hour down the road, property in the pretty village of Valbonne is in high demand. A peaceful location yet with an unrivalled ambiance, a lively restaurant scene, atmospheric old town and bustling weekly market, a property in Valbonne can bring with it an idyllic Riviera lifestyle.

For those who enjoy walking, the river and woods are a wonderful place to take a stroll and for people looking for more active pursuits, the closest ski resort is about an hour’s drive into the spectacular French Prealps. Water sports facilities, horse riding, hiking and cycling opportunities are all around.

“Valbonne is extremely popular with families who move permanently due to its excellent amenities and because there are three international schools in this area,” explains Tim. “Some properties up in the hills offer the most incredible views, yet remain close to everything you could need in the village.”

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The peak of perfection in Opio

Tucked away inland around 20km from Cannes, between Grasse and Roquefort-les-Pins, is the small, but perfectly-formed village of Opio. Consisting of an old church and some charming village houses, it is perched up high overlooking the surrounding Mediterranean countryside.

It is the perfect location for golf enthusiasts as the Golf Opio Valbonne golf club – which was designed by English architect Donald Harradine – is ten minutes away.

“Opio is highly popular with our overseas clients who are looking to buy property on the Riviera,” says Tim. “It is a stunning village, which is extremely peaceful and offers easy access to the coast without the tourist traffic during the summer months.”

Live the dream in Villefranche-sur-Mer

With Monaco on one side and Nice on the other, the medieval village of Villefranche-sur-Mer is considered to have one of the most beautiful bays in Europe. Somehow retaining an authentic village feel where people know each other, in the heart of the cosmopolitan Côte d’Azur, Villefranche is a unique place to live.

“This bay contains some of the world’s most expensive properties and sought-after addresses,” says Tim. “There are all kinds of properties here, from contemporary villas to apartments and châteaux, and the village is filled with wonderful restaurants, three ports and easy access to Nice, Monaco and Italy.”

A royal retreat in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

“Beau lieu” literally means “beautiful place” and there is no denying that this is a fitting way to describe Beaulieu-sur-Mer. With white sandy beaches blending into turquoise waters and palm trees scattered behind, this chic, picturesque village is an ideal seaside destination.

Once a favourite with the likes of Queen Victoria and Gustave Eiffel, it has remained unspoilt and relatively unknown, despite it being near some of the most glamorous and most-visited destinations in the world.

Reach for the stars in Saint-Tropez

From quaint little fishing port to one of the most glamorous resorts in the world, Saint-Tropez has evolved over the years into one of the most sought-after locations for prime real estate. It was firmly put on the jet-set map by Brigitte Bardot after filming “And God Created Woman here in 1956. Two years later she bought her beloved residence La Madrague in Canebiers Bay and to this day it remains her favourite place to spend time.

Saint-Tropez property guide

Fond of her privacy, these days you’re more likely to spot the likes of Elton John, Hugh Jackman and Leonardo DiCaprio in and around Saint-Tropez – especially if you pop into at Club 55 on nearby Pampelonne beach.

“Mythical Saint Tropez has been at the top of worldwide destinations for the rich and famous for more than 50 years,” says Tim. “Here you are guaranteed to find superb properties, world class restaurants and a great mix of people.”

If you are looking to buy property on the Riviera, visit Home Hunts’ online portfolio at, but to speak to a consultant about your specific real estate needs and other desirable locations in the area, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.

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