Chase away the winter blues by snapping up a property in one of the most vibrant villages or technicolour towns in France
Nowhere in France does bright, bold and beautiful quite like Alsace. Colmar is the largest of a string of Haut-Rhin towns and villages, including Mulhouse, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim and Riquewihr, that sport vivid half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets straight out of a fairytale.
Average house price; €249,300 (Notaires de France)
Trentemoult, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique
A short ferry ride along the Loire from the centre of Nantes is the charming neighbourhood of Trentemoult. Once a fishing village, it is now very much part of the city, but its narrow terraces of colourful houses, restaurants and crêperies give it a hip and almost seaside feel.
Average house price: €215,300 (Notaires de France)
Like many towns on the French Riviera, the port of Cassis is a riot of colour. The town, near Marseille, regularly tops the rankings as the favourite coastal resort of the French.
Average house price: Notaires’ figures are unavailable but houses cost an average of €408,000 in next-door La Ciotat and €489,200 in the neighbouring 8e arrondissement of Marseille.
Matisse, Picasso and many other giants of painting were inspired by colourful Collioure on Occitanie’s Riviera. The picturesque harbour town, with its glittering bay and castle, is one of the jewels of the Vermillion coast, named after the reddish tinge of its schist rocks at dawn and dusk.
Average house price: Notaires’ figures are unavailable but houses cost an average of €194,200 in next-door Argelès-sur-Mer
Lots of Mediterranean resorts are colourful but Menton is in a league of its own. Not only does its Lemon Festival cheer up the crowds in winter, but its buildings are a year-round riot of citrussy colour. No wonder the grieving widow Queen Victoria liked to holiday here.
Average house price: €350,000 (Notaires de France)
Rue Crémieux, Paris
This street is surely the most colourful in Paris. Rue Crémieux is a cobbled pedestrian street in the 12th arrondissement and a world away from the capital’s uniform Haussmannian style.
Average apartment price: €9,760/m2 (Notaires de France)
Deauville has the most colourful beach in Normandy even when nobody is on it, thanks to its famous parasols and tents. As host of the annual American Film Festival, the glamorous Calvados resort is at the heart of the so-called Parisian Riviera.
Average house price: €367,000 (Notaires de France)
Across the Channel from East Sussex, the seaside resort of Mers-les-Bains is prized for its unspoilt esplanade and brightly coloured villas, set against the backdrop of white cliffs. It was a sleepy fishing village until the 19th century when Parisians began arriving by train to enjoy the sea air and bathing.
Average house price: €113,500 (Notaires de France)
A great fire ravaged medieval Troyes in 1524, but its resplendent half-timbered houses were rebuilt in exactly the same style and location, complete with vibrant facades, and are now the pride of the city. The capital of Aube, in the heart of the Champagne region, is today known as “the city of a thousand colours”.
Average house price: €150,000
A hop, skip and jump across the Channel from Dover is the elegant seaside resort of Wimereux, north of Boulogne. With its colourful 19th-century and early 20th-century seafront buildings, it is one of the gems of the Opal Coast, so named by the Impressionist painters such as Monet, who loved the soft pearly quality of the light.
Average house price: €239,500