Even if you don’t have a big budget, you can still buy a glamorous property in France, says Karen Tait
The Alps are home to some of France’s most luxurious properties. Owned by the world’s rich and famous, chalets can easily sell for multi-million euro price tags and the best come with indoor swimming pools and spas, stunning mountain views, sumptuous interior design and live-in staff to cater for your every need.
Luckily, it’s not just the wealthy who are able to experience the exhilaration of the pistes. Property can be surprisingly affordable too, with many smaller properties using every inch of space. If you don’t want to compromise on luxury, many apartments come with high-quality fixtures and fittings, with that chalet chic ambiance even if they’re located in a purpose-built block. Properties are also a lot cheaper away from the most sought-after resorts and the ski lifts, and even whole chalets can be within reach.
• Luxe: 10-bedroom chalet in a sought-after area of Val d’Isère – €23m (Town & Country Property France)
• Less: Studio apartment in ski-in ski-out village with heated pool, spa, cinema and underground parking in La Plagne – €58,000 (Pastures Greener)
The château is perhaps the pinnacle of French properties, but you don’t have to be a king or queen to own one. Smaller examples won’t necessarily break the bank, or you could buy within a château development – perhaps an apartment within the château itself or an apartment or house in the grounds; choose between established ones or off-plan projects where you can get in at the beginning. These developments usually offer on-site facilities such as a pool, tennis courts and bar/restaurants, as well as a ready-made community of fellow property owners. Furthermore, with the grounds being taken care of, you’ll be left to relax and enjoy your spare time. And when you’re not using the property, you can always rent it in and bring in an income too. You could also consider one of the other grand, yet generally smaller, styles of property such as a manoir, maison de maître or gentilhommière.
• Luxe: Historic five-bedroom château with two gîtes, a 5* B&B, spa, pool, vinyards, orangery, 87ha grounds in Hérault – 10.75m (Latitudes)
• Less: Two-bed apartment in a wing of a renovated château in Haute-Garonne plus barn to renovate – €288,000 (My French House)
As with capital cities around the world, Paris doesn’t come cheap, especially in the more sought-after districts. An elegant townhouse could set you back millions of euros, but you can still have your own little corner of the capital for a much more reasonable price. The emphasis here is on ‘little’ – there are some stunning pied-à-terres to be found, often within elegant period buildings with high ceilings that convey a sense of space. Alternatively investigate the districts or arrondissements further out of town; those that are still on the underground Métro line offer easy access to all the city’s attractions but with much cheaper property.
• Luxe: Four-bedroom penthouse apartment in the 7th arrondissement – €16m (Town & Country Property France)
• Less: Leaseback studio near Disneyland Paris – €46,000 (Sextant French Property)
YOUR OWN VINEYARD
Another French property dream is the vineyard. Estates with many hectares of vines and a grand house don’t come cheap, but you can still live the dream on a smaller budget. Options include a small hobby vineyard, a property on a development with a vineyard, or a home among the vines, where you can enjoy the views and local wine-tastings without the hassle of being a landowner. It may also be more affordable to buy a house and vineyard separately.
• Luxe: Nine-bedroom bastide in Provence with 250 acres of vines, olive groves, meadows, forests and river banks – €15m (Home Hunts)
• Less: Historic wine chai for restoration in the Gaillac wine region, Tarn – €84,400 (Leggett Immobilier)
The French Riviera has long been the playground of the world’s jetset, home to glitzy events such as the Cannes Film Festival. The Côte d’Azur is one of the most glamorous destinations on earth so it would be easy to dismiss it out of hand as a househunting location. However, if you can’t afford the dream seafront villa, there are more affordable options. If you’re willing to compromise on space, there’s a huge choice of coastal apartments on offer, including developments with a pool and other facilities. What’s more, if you buy in a leaseback development you will receive 20% off the sale price too, in the form of the reimbursed VAT. Head a short distance inland and you can find more affordable houses with their own land and pool. you can also save on costs by choosing Nice over St-Tropez, for example.
• Luxe: Eight-bedroom villa with pool and sea views in Cannes – €45m (Home Hunts)
• Less: One-bedroom leaseback apartment in residence with pool €110,764 (Sextant French Property)
All properties on France Property Shop at time of writing