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Where are the best places to live in France?

A-street-in-Sarlat-Dordogne

Where are the best places to live in France? And where are the up-and-coming areas that could help you make a clever purchase? Frances Marcellin spoke to buyer’s agent Home Hunts to find out…

It is no secret that France is the most visited country in the world. For 2015 the world record is due to be broken with more than 85 million visitors expected. Likewise, Paris is on target to be the most visited city, having welcomed more than 30 million people in the last 12 months. Incredibly, by 2020 100 million people are expected to visit France each year.

The numbers continually prove France to be a globally desired, world-class location. Its diverse landscapes, culture, wine, cheese, markets, medieval villages, gastronomy, fairy-tale castles, vineyards and endless lavender fields – to name just a few of its most charming yet obvious attractions – are what dreams are made of.

But while some are happy to holiday in France, others want to turn their dreams into a day-to-day reality and live in France. Whether you’re looking for a second home in France or a permanent property, with the current mixture of reduced property prices, low interest rates, great mortgage deals and favourable currency conditions, it is a good moment to find your ideal French property and an enticing deal.

But where are the best places to live in France? And where are the up-and-coming areas that could help you make a clever purchase?

According to Home Hunts, a buyer’s agent, the most popular regions are: Aquitaine, Paris, The Alps, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and the Riviera. As Home Hunts’ consultants are based in these locations, their local knowledge of each city, town and village is detailed and current. Home Hunts also offers a free property finding and advice service, meaning that all the legwork can be removed from the house hunt and clients are guided stress-free through the sale.

Aquitaine

It is the Périgord Noir in Aquitaine, south east of the Dordogne, which has been attracting a large number of overseas buyers. With the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canéda at its heart, this picturesque area is steeped in history and is endlessly charming. “The Périgord Noir is very popular with overseas buyers and their reasons seem to be twofold: the scenery and the ambiance,” says Esther Deneau, a Home Hunts’ consultant.

Gironde is popular, too, especially Bordeaux. Long adored for producing world class wines, Bordeaux offers residents a difficult-to-beat combination of French tradition and modern culture. Recently voted “Best Destination in Europe”, the best places to buy in Bordeaux’s city centre include Chartrons, Jardin Public, Fondaudège and Parc Bordelais.

Paris

Montmartre, with its magnificent city views, winding streets and elegant Parisian ambiance, are what continually keep it as one of the most coveted places to live in Paris. It always delivers on authentic Parisian ambiance, often considered the perfect muse for creative souls.

Paris-Place-Valida-Montmartre

But for families, it is the Monceau Park area in the 8th and 17th arrondissements that is growing in popularity. With a beautiful park – which includes playgrounds and flower gardens – and a British school, it attracts plenty of overseas buyers looking for family-sized properties.

The Alps

Val d’Isère and Meribel (part of the Three Valleys) have emerged as the best-performing resorts in terms of price. However, with Geneva and Lyon airports welcoming a million more passengers during the summer than in the winter, it is mid-altitude resorts such as Chamonix and Megève that are sparking interest with those looking for year-round destinations.

Alps

“In terms of up-and-coming areas, Samoëns is offering buyers excellent value for money,” says François-Xavier de Vial, Director of Home Hunts. “A fraction of the price of destinations such as Three Valleys, its year-round value for money is unbeatable.”

Provence

Landscapes resplendent with olive groves, lavender and vineyards; a glittering coastline drenched with sunshine for more than 300 days each year; and the promise of a relaxed Provençal lifestyle, Provence has long been a dream destination.

Lavender-field-in-Provence-home-hunts

But where are the best places to buy in Provence? Property along the Provence coast, in cities such as Fréjus, and in the Luberon – where gems such as Isle-sur-la-Sorgue can be found – offer stable investment opportunities as demand never dwindles.

Villages on the southern side of the Alpilles are increasing in popularity in Provence. “Mouriès, St Etienne du Grès and Fontvieille are beautiful villages set amidst the Provençal countryside that offer excellent value for money,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts.

Languedoc-Roussillon

Renowned for its diversity – from its smooth sandy beaches to vineyards and wild mountain plateaus – Languedoc offers buyers excellent value for money.

Canal-De-La-Robine-In-Narbonne

 “People choose Languedoc as it hasn’t yet been taken over by mass tourism and therefore it feels like a real French region,” says Phil Rees, a Home Hunts consultant.

“Prices are more economical, compared to areas like the Provence, but the climate is the same. You are also closer to the sea throughout the whole region than in Provence.”

Buyers looking for good investment opportunities should explore the area around Narbonne. With its wide promenades and UNESCO-protected Canal de la Robine, it is a beloved holiday destination of the French.

Riviera

With 900km of sun-drenched coastline and glamorous seaside resorts, the French Riviera is one of the most popular destinations in the world. Sales are up 90% compared with last year, partly due to significant price drops. “House prices inland are now 20% less than in 2008, so more people are buying in the smaller villages away from the fast-paced life of the coastline,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts.

Riviera – Mougins

 Mougins and Valbonne are the most coveted. “Both are very popular for families who want to put their children in the international schools,” says Tim. “But buyers can get more for their money in villages such as Biot, Opio, Roquefort les Pins and Châteauneuf de Grasse. All of these are within 5-15 minutes’ drive of one another. However, as with all properties, prices vary depending on position, views, condition, style and grounds.”

To search for your dream property in France, visit Home Hunts at www.home-hunts.com.

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