How to decide on the style and location of your ideal French property

Which type of French property best suits you and your lifestyle?

Image
It may sound obvious, but sometimes it is easy to forget: France is more than four times bigger than the UK. This of course means that there is an enormous variety, not only in the regions of France, but in the types of property. The main French property styles are traditional village houses, farmhouses, chateaux, townhouses, apartments, and new builds. We take a closer look at each of these properties.
 
Traditional village houses with character are always popular for British people buying in France. They are often old, with original features, such as floor tiles, staircases and fireplaces, but many will need renovating to some extent; and exterior space may be limited (if there is any at all) so do bear that in mind when you fall in love with a partly rundown wreck of a village house. The advantages of this type of property are that you can walk to the bakery for your morning baguette and will be part of a community.
 
Farmhouses are always popular too, often with larger rooms than village houses and offering stunning views of the countryside. Many will have outbuildings ripe for conversion. That is all fine if you don’t mind a bit of hard graft and are happy to drive to the nearest shop, so bear that in mind in your planning.
 
Chateaux exist all over France. They obviously have some status and often come with land. Remember to budget for maintenance and repair, since many chateaux are very old and deserve to be renovated sympathetically, in keeping with their character.
 
Townhouses or “maisons bourgeoises” were originally built by or for wealthy businessmen or local dignitaries. They are often found in towns and larger villages and will have a flat wide front on to the street, large windows and a substantial staircase. Bear in mind that a property in a town is going to cost more than in a village.
 
Apartments, both new and old, are usually found in towns and are popular with the French.  The obvious advantage of buying an apartment is that they are more secure than, say, a rural cottage and may come with in-built facilities, such as a pool, if they are within a new development. You may have to sacrifice outside space, although many come with the rather attractive “Juliette” balconies, from which you can watch the world go by.
 
New builds are also very popular in France. There is plenty of development along the French coasts these days, with some great bargains to be had; seeking out a reputable developer means you should find somewhere which is built to a high standard. The benefits of buying a new build property are many: they are affordable, offer lower maintenance and come with a 10 year structural guarantee from the builder.
 
In deciding which type of property to buy, think about your own lifestyle. Buying that ancient village house brimming with character may sound like a dream come true, but think about renovation and the maintenance that will be required as the years go by. There is such a good choice of properties in France, so our advice is that, if in doubt, look at several types of property and take as much time as you need to decide.

Further reading for Buying In France

Image

Viewing Guide

Finding the right property and can be a challenge. What do you need to think about early on?
Read more...

Image

Legal Matters

Buying a property in France has very different legal requirements to the UK. 

Read more...

Image

Hidden Costs

Spending tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds on a property in France is a HUGE decision.
Read more...

Image

Currency Zone

Did you know that you could save thousands of pounds when emigrating by using a currency specialist?
Read more...