CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today CLICK HERE

7 things to think about before buying a coastal property

PUBLISHED: 17:05 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 19 April 2017

A house on the French Riviera sounds lovely but think about it before ©Musat - Dreamstime

A house on the French Riviera sounds lovely but think about it before ©Musat - Dreamstime


Dreaming of a home by the seaside? France’s varied coastlines offer plenty of choice but don’t forget to think about these 7 important considerations before you buy a coastal property in France

1. Price

The impact of tourism on the coast – and the subsequent attractiveness of those areas for buyers and investors – tend to bump up property prices. You’ll have to adjust your budget accordingly: views of the sea, closeness to beaches etc will heavily influence prices. But this also means a house will sell well when the time comes for you to move since there is always high demand for coastal properties. You could for example consider a house which may not have a view of the sea but is within walking distance to beaches or the marina.


Related articles

10 insider tips for successful househunting

Where you can buy a property in France for under €100,000


2. Location

You’ve established you want to be on the French coast but do you want a buzzing city location or a quiet rural town or village by the sea? A larger coastal town will often also be a busy port so will be dynamic, culturally rich and have all the amenities you need, including schools (sometimes even universities). It will also be easy to access either by train or road. But, like most large towns, it can also be noisy, polluted and slightly more expensive. With large ports come vast, unattractive commercial and industrial areas too. A seaside village might have a traditional fishing port or a small leisure marina with a few sail boats moored up. Fishing villages are quiet, offer beautiful character properties and have tightly knit communities of fishermen and passionate locals. However, they can sometimes be a little isolated and lack amenities. Their location on the coast can make them difficult to access: winding coastal roads are slower to travel so you might take longer to drive a relatively short distance. They are also more prone to being very busy with tourists in the summer and ‘ghost villages’ in the winter.

3. Seasonality

If you’ve gone on holiday in on the French coast, you’ve probably enjoyed vibrant sea fronts and marinas, gone to restaurants busy with happy crowds and basked in the hot sunshine while cooling on sandy beaches. For residents, however, seasons come and go and so do the crowds. In high season, tourists flocking to a town on the coast often entail pollution (noise, dirty streets and waters) and over-crowded roads and car parks. Shops can close very early or completely in the winter and the town can sometimes feel very empty when the last tourists leave. However, this does mean you can enjoy a quiet location most of the year, beautiful surroundings and an attractive lifestyle.


Related articles

7 things to consider before buying in a French village

15 of the most beautiful coastal villages in France


4. Population

As with any location when house hunting, it’s important to think about who your neighbours will be. Generally, coastal towns will attract retirees looking for clement weather year-round – particularly in the south – and a good quality of life (after all, the coast means healthy maritime air, fresh fish and sea food, sunshine and easy-going outdoor activities like walking, swimming and cycling). You’ll also find foreigners buying second homes and pied-à-terres and staying only a few weeks a year, or even families, whose working members might commute to nearby larger towns inland. Unless you are considering booming coastal cities, you probably won’t find many young people who continue to head to larger towns to find jobs.

5. Maintenance

Properties on the coast tend to be more affected by the elements, particularly by erosion because of the humidity of the sea air. Thoroughly examine the properties you view by looking for the quality of insulation, humidity, ventilation and cracks both inside and out. This also means you’ll have to factor in higher maintenance costs than some inland properties. If buying in a copropriété (co-ownership property), ask to see the last annual meeting reports and inform yourself on any works that are needed and whether they are planned ahead or not.


Related articles

Where to buy a bargain rural retreat in France

Where to buy a bargain city apartment in France


6. New-build or old character?

You can find traditional Breton longères, Provençal mas or pretty Charentaises full of character but, as mentioned above, keep in mind that maintaining these older properties on the coast will demand more effort and money. In seaside resorts, you’ll find mostly new-build or recently built apartments but you can also come across some charming village houses. It really depends on what you are looking for: an easily maintainable pied à terre to visit regularly and let out the rest of the year? Or a comfortable permanent home where you can enjoy the delights of the French coast?

7. Buying-to-let

This leads us to the option of investing and purchasing a buy-to-let property. As mentioned above, properties on the coast come at a certain price so investing in a buy-to-let could help offset the expenses of the original purchase while enabling you to make the most of a pied-à-terre in a seaside location whenever you want to go there yourself. This is a good way to see whether you like the location enough before moving permanently for example. There are some financial incentives too as laws like the Pinel law help buyers purchase properties, particularly new-builds, they intend to let out.

More from Living in France

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How does a jewellery designer, filmmaker and restaurateur who was born in Israel and grew up in New York come to turn a French château into an artists’ retreat? Ziggy Attias shares his life in Champagne-Ardenne

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

When Lin France and her husband Geoff moved to La Suisse Normande in Calvados they took on a major renovation project, turning a derelict building into a lovely home and a holiday accommodation business

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

France has helped launch a satellite to study the effects of global warming; but how do French attitudes towards climate change compare to those of other Europeans?

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

France has historically been on the leading edge of eco-friendly projects and regulations. While many argue that much more needs to be done to meet environmental goals in France and globally, here are 11 ways that French government, companies and people are striving to be green.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Seen a French property that would make fabulous food business but unsure of the paperwork and process? Read Tracy Leonetti’s at-a-glance guide to opening a restaurant or cafe in France

Read more
Running a business
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thinking of setting up a campsite in France? Here’s what you’ll need to consider when it comes to planning permission.

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

With its unbeatable wine and cheese and laissez-faire attitude, there’s nowhere better to retire than France. But which cities are best for growing old in? Here’s the top 10

Read more
Pays de la Loire
Thursday, January 25, 2018

If you are buying in or moving to France you will need a French bank account but before you open one make sure you read these 11 things you need to know to avoid making a costly mistake

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

France might be experiencing a shortage of general practitioners but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a GP willing to take on new patients. Here’s what you need to know about finding and registering with a doctor when you move to France

Read more
Expats in France
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The French pharmacy is so much more tham a place to pick up your prescriptions. Here are 11 things you might not know about pharmacies in France.

Read more
Healthcare in France
Subscribe for

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now