Housing Costs In France
Most Brits who own a property in France choose a rural location and such properties cost less than half the price of anything similar in the U.K. Similarly, rural property rentals are also a bargain compared to rental prices in the U.K. It is, however, important to be aware, when considering owning a property France, that it is only rural and small town properties that will be such attractive prices.
Renting Or Owning Property In France
If you are contemplating buying or renting in any of the major French cities then prices will equate with U.K. prices. However, there are still French property bargains to be had in the major cities if you are prepared to consider less desirable locations. Inevitably, house prices are determined by the desirability of their location. Properties near centres of highly paid employment, along the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts or in the major ski resorts will all be more highly priced than properties in French rural settings.
When it comes to looking at the costs of owning a property in France it obviously depends on the size of your property. Average property taxes for a 3 or 4 bedroomed home are €96.25 monthly, but again, they will be determined by the location of the property. By law everyone in France needs to have house insurance and the average monthly cost of this is €26.42. These costs apply to a holiday home or a full time residence whereas the following costs are based on full time occupancy which you need to adjust for the amount of time you will use your French home. When it comes to heating, lighting and water costs there is still not as much competition in France as there is in the U.K. and the likely monthly costs for a 4 bedroomed house will be €162.50 whereas for a smaller property these costs could be reduced to €45. Phone, internet, mobile and TV costs can range from €50 – €91 per month depending on the package that you sign up for.
Cost Of Eating In France
Most of us relish the idea of eating in France, not only eating out in cafés and restaurants but also shopping and cooking to eat at home. A love of French food is one of the reasons that people tell us motivates their desire to own a property in France. When you are in France it is good if you can take pleasure in the quality of the local food. Eating in France is a special experience so it’s worth looking at the cost of this experience. By all means, buy your basics in the supermarkets but if you don’t shop in the markets or the smaller specialist food shops in town then you will be missing much of what makes France so special. If you are buying a holiday home in France then there is likely to be time to really enjoy your shopping and cooking. It certainly does take longer to go to the boulangerie, the fromagerie, the boucherie, the poissonier and the marchand de légumes but its great fun and you will get so much free advice about what to buy and how to cook it. It’s such a joy to be asked “when will you be eating the cheese” so that a cheese at the right stage of maturity can be chosen for you! Even the supermarkets will label the origin of all their fruit and vegetables, many will even list the grower and the distance from field to shop.
Eating out is also a pleasure that most of us associate with our time in France. There is no doubt that some of the best gastronomic restaurants are found in France but to my mind I just love the tiny local restaurants where you can eat a superb ‘worker’s’ lunch which will be freshly prepared, usually by an elderly lady. The meal will be a local recipe, probably a family recipe and you can be sure that the produce used will all be fresh. Unfortunately, such cafés and restaurants are getting harder to find but if you can find one then you are likely to get a superb 3 or 4 course meal with wine for no more than €15. The other great place to eat is in a café in a covered market. Wherever there is a covered market there will be cafés, usually at either end if the market hall, cooking fresh food bought In the market that morning. A one course meal is likely to cost around €8 and will again, be a local recipe cooked with local produce.
The Cost Of Fun In France
There is no doubt that away from the major cities, the cost of having fun in France is much cheaper than in the U.K. anyone who owns a property in France will know that most small villages will have their own tennis courts, often free to use, there are leisure lakes in most areas that do not have easy access to the coast, and again these are free and, of course, France has an extensive coastline. Most beaches are free even though a few have luxurious beach clubs that do charge. However, to my mind, the cost of a beach club is a treat well worth paying for. Luxurious beds, towels, showers, waiter service to your sunbed and beautifully prepared food in the beachside restaurant are a memorable indulgence. There are free cycle tracks throughout France, inexpensive water sports and bargain local skiing away from the Alps.
Museums and galleries are usually free of certain days of the week and tend to only make a nominal charge on other days. A day’s shopping in a large town will not set you back a fortune before you start with an enormous car parking charge. I love the fact that most areas still make no parking charge during lunchtimes. France is a country that loves its festivals and throughout the year there is always somewhere near that will be celebrating something. At these events street food is cheap, a glass of wine or a beer is a bargain and you can spend the whole day just sitting around chatting to friends and neighbours. Finally, and most importantly, life in France is simple, where your ability to have fun depends more on your sociability than your finances.
Some Useful Links: