Which Type of French Property Should You Buy in the South of France?

Which Type of French Property Should You Buy

The South of France is much loved for its culture, natural beauty and quality of life, as well as its diverse selection of real estate options for buyers. As one of the country’s most prestigious regions, buyers look for properties here thanks to solid investment opportunities and luxury living. With so many property types available, every buyer can be satisfied with the area’s selection of homes.

Which Type of French Property Should You Buy

What Are the Unique Advantages of Investing in the South of France?

There are so many reasons to invest in property in the South of France, ranging from quality of life to business potential. Let’s explore a few of them.


The South of France is packed with culture, including art scenes, historic landmarks and world-renowned festivals. Cannes, Marseille and Nice have a particularly vibrant cultural heritage, improving the lifestyle of residents while also appealing to tourists.

Economic Stability

France, particularly the South of France, has one of the world’s most stable economies, making it a safe area to invest in property. There are a number of industries in the area that add to its dependability, including agriculture, finance, technology and tourism.

Property Value

In the South of France, property prices and values tend to rise over time. This is due to the area being desirable while having limited space, particularly in the most-coveted locations.

Quality of Life

Living in the South of France means having an incredible lifestyle that most people only dream of. The Mediterranean climate (warm, sunny summers and mild winters) makes it easy to enjoy the gorgeous beaches and landscapes year-round. On top of that, high-end amenities, accessible travel routes and the best dining and shopping you can find add to the region’s allure.

Rental Market

There’s also a strong rental market in the South of France, primarily due to the area being a popular tourist destination. Both short-term rentals and long-term leases do well here, creating a  steady income for investors.

Tax Considerations

Finally, there are a lot of tax incentives in France that investors can take advantage of. For example, investing in a new-build rental property can mean getting a tax deduction. Furthermore, inheritance tax laws often favour residents, which is helpful for long-term investors.

How Do Lifestyle Choices Influence the Type of Property You Should Buy?

There are an assortment of lifestyle considerations when choosing the right property for you in the South of France. Let’s go over some of them.

Which Type of French Property Should You Buy in the South of France?

Visiting France for Short Stays

Secondary residences and holiday homes in the South of France are popular with those who want the option to escape to their beachfront apartment or sprawling villa when they have the time.

For these types of buyers, being close to an airport is extremely important. Large international airports will have the most travel options, making it easy to plan a trip whenever you want one.

When it comes to being in a city versus a more tranquil setting, the choice depends on what you want most from your getaways. Popular tourist destinations offer hustle and bustle, while more serene settings can mean plenty of rest and relaxation.

In general, holiday home buyers who are looking in the South of France want a coastal setting, where they can be close to a beach and popular attractions.

Relocating to France Full-Time

Instead of purchasing an investment or holiday property in France, some buyers intend to move there full-time. In this case, homes should strike the right balance of accessibility, amenities and comfort, whether that’s close to the city centre or in a residential neighbourhood.

Proximity to airports and other travel routes will only be important to those who plan to leave the country or travel around France often, either for business or personal reasons. Similarly, being close to a city is most important if education, employment or healthcare opportunities need to be accessed often.

While it may not be a pressing need to be close to cultural events and amenities, having access to certain activities can improve quality of life. Ultimately, it’s up to the homeowner and the lifestyle they’re after.

Moving To France After Retirement

Searching for a home post-retirement typically means looking for a comfortable apartment or villa in a serene setting that has convenient access to must-have amenities, like grocery shopping, healthcare and cultural activities.

Proximity to airports is mainly important if family will be visiting France, and being on the outskirts of a major city can offer a quieter, slower-paced life while still having access to transport routes.

Furthermore, coastal settings are often sought-after by retirees, as they offer the scenery, weather and activities (golfing, cultural events, etc.) that retirees want most.

What Should You Consider When Buying a Property to Renovate?

Classic French properties, such as barns and farmhouses, have character, charm and personality that some modern homes and new builds lack. Features like exposed beams and traditional materials such as stone and tile create a unique home with rare aesthetic appeal.

However, while renovating a classic French home comes with an array of rewards, it also has its drawbacks. Here’s what to expect.

Hiring Local Builders

Unless you’re a skilled craftsman and plan on doing all the renovations on your own, you’ll need to find and hire reliable local builders. Finding workers with the necessary experience to work on a historical property can be a challenge.

Extensive Customisation Potential

When you buy and renovate an older French property, you can essentially do whatever you want with the home. Many homeowners opt to retain original features and blend them with more modern comforts. You can create a living space that’s completely unique and personalised to your needs.

Limitations Due to Regulations

Unfortunately, many classic French properties are prone to strict regulations, especially if the home is considered a historical monument. It can take a lot of time to secure the permissions and permits that you need. You’ll also need to adhere to guidelines in order to preserve the character of the property while updating it.

Improved Property Value

A classic French property that’s undergone a high-quality renovation can significantly increase in value, especially if it’s located in an area where property is in high demand. This can mean a great return on investment if you choose to sell or rent out your property.

Incorrect Cost Estimates

It’s common for actual renovation costs to be much higher than their estimates. Problem-solving when an unexpected issue arises and purchasing specialised materials required for a classic home can quickly drive up costs.

Comparing Historic Châteaux with Modern Villas and Luxury Apartments

Both historic chateaux and modern homes in the South of France can appreciate in value when they’re well-maintained. Having a home in this region, whether it’s brimming with history or it’s furnished with contemporary amenities, is valuable. To decide between the two types of homes, the buyer’s preferences need to be considered.

Historic Chateaux

Historic chateau in valbonne

Historic chateaux are known for being charming and grand, with intricate details, large grounds, and plenty of interesting history. While it’s common for homeowners to preserve the authenticity of these homes, they also add modern conveniences to enhance comfort.

Since many classic chateaux have withstood historical events and have even been the homes of noble families, they tend to have a high amount of historical value, which makes them more prestigious.

Because of their age, historic homes in the South of France require a lot of maintenance, such as masonry and roofing repairs, maintaining gardens, and preserving antique features. This requires specialized skill sets and materials.

Modern Apartments or Villas

Antibes Villa

The charms of a modern home are its contemporary design and high level of comfort. It’s common for modern architecture to have clean lines and open spaces that integrate with the natural scenery.

While a modern home won’t have historical value, they’re designed to maximise convenience, light and space. Modern properties typically require less maintenance than historical homes, as newer materials and building techniques mean simpler upkeep. Plus, modern homes are designed to be efficient, which further reduces costs.

Final Thoughts About Which Type of French Property You Should Buy

The different property types in the South of France align with varying lifestyles and goals. The one that’s best for you will depend on a variety of factors ranging from travel accessibility and favorite pastimes to required amenities.

Modern apartments and villas are best for buyers who are looking for a second home, as they won’t have time to dedicate to in-depth renovations. Luxury apartments are especially appealing as rental investments, as tourists look for short-term rentals in the center of the action.

Classic French homes and historic chateaux may be more appealing to buyers who are excited about renovating a property and making it truly their own. And retirees may want a serene, coastal setting that’s close enough to activities without being in the heart of a city.

To find the perfect property in the South of France that matches your interests, contact a HomeHunts property agent who specialises in the region.

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