We talk to Petri Valo from Finland who now lives and works as an estate agent about what life is like for expats in Cannes.
Tell us a little about yourself
I moved to France few years ago as my fiancée (we’re getting married this year) is from Cannes. As I come from the dark and cold north, Cannes feels really lively and a wonderfully sunny place to live. I still remember my first visit to Cannes – that blue blue sky and gently swaying palm trees, it was memorable.
What is your home like in Cannes?
We have an apartment in the city, it took us a while to find the right one for us. The heart of the apartment is a big living room and we have two balconies where we love to eat out. We didn’t need to do much renovation – and that’s typical of apartments in Cannes.
We fell in love mainly for the view from the terrace. The location is great as we can walk to the center easily, we’re in front of the national park of Cannes, La Croix des Gardes. We love to walk there and do some sports or just to enjoy the views of the sea or the snowy mountains.
What do you love about Cannes
The big thing is of course the weather – less than 60 rainy days in a year makes Cannes one of the sunniest cities in France.
I love that in the summer there’s always something going on but when the tourist season is over it’s peaceful. You can walk in the center or by the sea and you might be the only one. Then when Spring comes the big events start such as the Red Bull Air Race, in May of course there is the Film Festival with celebrities from around the world arriving to enjoy Cannes. And, at the end of May, Formula One in Monaco, which is only 45 minutes’ drive from Cannes.
I love that when I go to the local bakeries, the staff remember me, it’s the same with some of the shops and restaurants. It makes me feel like I belong. You just need to remember to smile and be polite and that way people will remember you and you become a member of the community.
What are some of your favourite things to do in Cannes
Summer time I like to go to the beach and do some snorkeling. I take my underwater camera with me and try to catch some cool pictures. Autumn and winter time, I like to go hiking and sometimes downhill skiing as the pre-alps are only a one and half hour drive away. Visiting some of the small medieval villages in the area is a joy.
What tips do you have for those searching for a home in Cannes?
Most of the properties on my books are apartments as well as villas and properties on the outskirts of Cannes. People always think that Cannes is just about luxury and expensive properties but that’s not true, if you’re after a bargain, they do turn up, so I tell my clients, make sure if you want a bargain, you’re ready to go when it comes up!
The rental market in Cannes is good so if you are looking a holiday home with good rental income Cannes is an excellent prospect. Studios and one-bedroom apartments start at around 100,000€ and for less than 200,000€ you might even find 2-bedroom apartments sometimes.
Don’t only consider the middle of Cannes when it comes to your dream south of France home. Le Cannet is right behind Cannes and some of the best views towards the Mediterranean Sea and Cannes are actually from properties in the Le Cannet postcode area.
If you don’t need to be right in the center a neighborhood 20 minutes away might be something to consider and really opens up your options.
If you like a property but it’s just a bit over budget, discuss it with your agent because occasionally there might be some leeway, perhaps buying without a garage or negotiating some other way to get the price closer to your budget.