Four French Property Location Questions
When deciding where to buy French property it is vital to take time to think carefully about the location that will meet your needs best. It is very easy to get tempted by lovely looking houses on websites but that really isn’t the way to start your French property search. I think there are four location questions that anyone thinking about buying a home in France should consider carefully.
What Amenities Would You Want Near Your French Home
It is really essential to think about the amenities that you would like to have easy access to. Nearly everyone says that they are looking for a house in a location where they can walk to the boulangerie and to a bar. Unfortunately, a property offering this kind of location often ends up not being the kind of property that you might have had in mind. It is rare to find a detached, country cottage, surrounded by its own land and within walking distance of these facilities. So, even at the start of your search you may realise that you could have to make some compromises on location versus property type but I am a firm believer in always knowing the co promises you are making when choosing the house. Often when considering amenities the choice lies between a French village or town house or a bike ride to collect the bread and a torch lit walk home from the bar!
The amenities you may decide that you need ready access to are likely to vary according to whether you are buying a holiday home or a full time home and also according to your age and circumstances. But among the things to consider are….the importance of access to shops, banks, restaurants, cafés, doctors, hospitals, schools, cinema, good walks, cycle trails, swimming, activities for your friends and visitors to enjoy etc.
Very few U.K. buyers of French property choose a townhouse but I think that such properties are seriously worth considering.
Access To Your French Home From The U.K
If you are buying a property for a holiday home then ease of access from the U.K. may be very important so that you can make frequent visits. Easy airport or driving access is also worth considering if you are moving to France full time as it will make travel for your friends and family easier (although maybe that wouldn’t be a bonus!). Luckily France has a large number of small airports all offering budget flights from different airports in the U.K. Take a look at our quick guide to Airports in France.
For people, buying French holiday homes, who prefer taking their own car to France, then do consider the distance that you are happy to drive. France has a superb motorway network, but it is expensive to use it. It is worth thinking about just how far down in France you want your home to be, especially if you plan on making lots of visits.
For those people who plan to fly to reach their holiday home in France then the distance from the airport can be important, especially if you are buying a holiday home and would rather not keep a car out in France nor incur the cost of car hire for every visit. Being less than half an hour from the airport means that you could use a taxi to take you to and from your French home. If you decide on this option you will also need to make sure you buy a property where there are plenty of amenities in walking distance so that you can have the fun of managing without a car. B
Climate When Buying Your French Property
Climate is often quoted by prospective purchasers as one of their main reasons for buying a French property. Once you are south of the River Loire you are guaranteed a longer, warmer summer than we get in the U.K. South West France offers earlier springs, longer summers, beautiful autumns and short, cold winters. As you head towards the Mediterranean you will be able to enjoy 300+ days of sunshine every year and long, hot summers with cold sunny winters. France enjoys a lot of microclimates so it is well worth researching areas carefully to ensure you are looking in the part of France that will be likely to give you the climate you want. Although, we all have to accept that anywhere may be subject to climate change over the years.
I remember the joy of early springs, mainly sunny summers, late autumns and short winters when I lived in central France. There was certainly much more predictability about the weather than we get in the U.K. and we definitely spent so much more time living out of doors. Then, when I moved to a property in South of France, there was the joy of waking up most mornings to blue skies and the al fresco lifestyle that a warmer climate offers. Coffee sitting outside at pavement cafés even in the depths of winter, trees ladened with mimosa blossom in February, swimming in the waters of a warm Mediterranean Sea in the summer and autumn colours made even more perfect by the indigo blue skies of the autumn, such are my memories of living in the South of France (Languedoc Roussillon), an area of good value property.
View more property for sale in Languedoc Roussillon
The choice of location for your French property may also be determined by your budget for buying a property. Prices vary considerably throughout France with property in popular towns and in the south of France, being the most expensive. As the French population continue to drift towards towns for employment, rural houses are less sought-after and are usually very good value for money. The centre of France is a good location in which to search for real bargain property. However, at the bottom end of the market you will either need to do some work to the property or accept something small.