Updated: Jan 4
The French luxury property market is very buoyant, with high demand from international buyers, but where are the best places to purchase property in France?
Being such a beautiful and varied country there's something to suit everybody in France. Here's a list of some of the most sought after locations to buy luxury properties in France :
Despite a slight drop in average property prices in Paris since the start of Covid restrictions, buying luxury property in Paris makes for a sound investment, as here, due to little offer and high demand, the prices haven't gone down.
Also, Paris has recently been voted the second most sought after city to live in the world, after New York.
Some of the top neighbourhoods include :
- Champs Elysees for pure luxury and a top end address. The Eiffel tower and the Arc de Triomphe
- Montmartre for its charm and romantic ambiance. The favourite neighbourhood for Parisians
- Marais quarter, where it's artistic, chic and full of history, dating back to the XII century
- Saint Germain des Pres, fashionable and luxurious, where celebrities, artists and intellectuals rub shoulders
- Opera for stunning Haussmanien architecture and the mix of modern and authentic living
Prices of houses and apartments are understandably among the highest in the whole of France.
The Cote d'Azur - The French Riviera
The Cote d'Azur has long been a favourite destination to purchase a luxury property on the Mediterranean Coast, and for obvious reasons.
The climate, the pure natural beauty of The Mediterranean Sea and its beaches, the great nightlife, and the jet-set lifestyle, have made The French Riviera the place to be, and prices reflect this.
A few of the favourite destinations to buy properties on the Cote d'Azur are :
- Saint Tropez, originally a fishing village, it became well known due to the French "New Wave" film movement in the 50's and later as a luxurious beach resort, frequented by the American and European jet-set. Although the port is famous for its super yachts, the town has still managed to maintain its authentic village feel ; the perfect mix of natural beauty and a buzzing nightlife. Saint Tropez is one of France's most sought after destinations to purchase luxury villas and apartments.
- Cannes : who hasn't heard of Cannes? Famous for its international film festival, Cannes of the 19th century can still be seen in its grand villas, built to reflect the wealth and standing of their owners and inspired by anything from medieval castles to Roman villas. Everything about the town, from its pristine beaches to its top end boutiques, says luxury and refinement.
- Antibes, full of charm and authenticity, originally founded as a Greek colony, occupation dates back to the iron age.
Ideally located between Cannes and Nice in the Alpes Maritimes, Antibes with its lively nightlife and chic ambiance, is one of the favourite cities for international buyers to purchase luxury villas on The French Riviera.
There are 48 beaches along the 16 miles of coastline that surround Antibes and Juan les Pins.
- Saint Jean Cap Ferrat : located in the heart of the French Riviera, in the Alpes Maritimes, between Nice and Monaco, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a charming little town nestled in an exceptional and unspoiled green spot. located on a peninsula next to Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer and extends out to Cap Ferrat.
Its tranquillity and warm climate make it a favourite holiday destination among the European aristocracy and international rich.
- Menton, the most Italian of French towns.
Benefiting from a mild, subtropical climate, its one of the sunniest places in the whole of France With its stunning, colourful houses overlooking the port and The Mediterranean Sea, Menton is one of the most popular places to buy a luxury home on The Cote d'Azur.
The stunning inland area of Provence is extremely popular with international clients buying luxury properties in The South of France.
Provence is all about space, peace and quiet, understated discretion, natural beauty and authentic architecture.
Some favourite property purchases here are of old stone farm houses ("mas"), luxurious mansions ("Bastides") and wine estates.
Provence is home to numerous celebrities and politicians, however unlike its bling-bling cousin further South, The Cote d'Azur, people like to be neither seen nor heard.
Things here revolve more around the quiet life ; market shopping for fresh produce, lounging by the pool with family and friends and maybe an evening out in one of the many gourmet restaurants.
Although Provence isn't a strictly defined area per se, the three probably most sought after areas are :
- The Luberon, made famous by Peter Mayle's book "A Year in Provence" the area attracts people for it's stunning natural beauty, its stone hilltop villages and its relaxed way of life. There's a lot of space here, which makes a great contrast to city living.
Stretching from L'Isle sur la Sorgue to Apt in the Vaucluse department, luxury properties, such as renovated stone farm houses with swimming pool, are often the target of the discerning international buyer.
Some of the most popular villages include Gordes, Roussillon and Bonnieux, making up what is considered to be the "golden triangle" locally.
Access is relatively easy from Avignon to the West and Marseille to The South.
The Alpilles, along with The Luberon is probably the most sought after location in Provence.
It benefits from very easy access from Avignon and Marseille and is home to charming towns and villages such as St Remy de Provence, Eygalieres, Massanne les Alpilles and Les Baux de Provence.
Local markets are open all year round and it's a little more lively than The Luberon our of high season.
Once again, French and international clients tend to look for renovated stone farmhouses with swimming pools for sale. Village houses with gardens are also popular for those looking for a "lock up and go" property.
Aix en Provence is a bustling market and university town and possibly the most beautiful city in the whole of France.
It's famous for Cezanne's paintings of the nearby Saint Victoire mountain.
The architecture is the old centre is just stunning and features many pretty squares with fountains.
Aix is also a strategic hub for work, with a young and buoyant job market, and is just 40 mins from Marseille and The Mediterranean Sea.
If this wasn't enough Aix en Provence is home to international schools, making it a favourite for expats living all year round.
If you don't want to live in Aix proper, popular and very pretty villages and towns are a good, commutable option.
Luxury properties in Aix en Provence and its surroundings are very eclectic and you have the choice of luxurious modern villas in the suburbs, classy mansions and town houses, or top end luxury apartments in the town centre.
Above are possibly the 3 most popular spots in Provence, however there are other areas which see pockets of international buyers, such as Forcalquier in Alpes de Haute Provence, Uzes and the Uzege area in The Gard, to the West of Avignon and the inland Var and Verdon to the North of St Tropez and The Cote d'Azur.
Needless to say for those looking to buy a luxury property in Provence, there's something for everyone in Provence in this varied, outstanding part of France.
The French Alps
The French Alps cover a large part of the South East of France and includes the departments of Savoie, Haute Savoie, Isere, Hautes Alpes, Alpes de Haute Provence and the Alpes Maritimes.
We're going to look at the 2 most sought after departments and their top ski resorts and towns for the purchase a luxury chalet in The French Alps, Savoie and Haute Savoie.
HAUTE SAVOIE :
Although there are many places to buy a property in Haute Savoie, amongst the most popular and highly sought after are the following :
- Megeve is the epitome of luxury lifestyle in a ski town and probably had the most luxurious chalets for sale.
Created in the 1920s as a French alternative to St. Moritz by the Rothschilds, it was the first purpose-built resort in the French Alps. Originally it was a prime destination for the French aristocracy; it remains one of the most famous and fanciest ski resorts in the world
If you're looking for a charming village, stunning boutiques, beautiful views and great skiing then Megeve is the place to buy.
Just an hour from Geneva, this most chic of resorts is a firm favourite with the local French, Swiss and also international buyers.
- Chamonix Mont Blanc is by far the most popular resort for mountaineers and purists.
As the name suggests, Chamonix is home to the world famous Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.
A very lively town with an international clientele, Chamonix has been a hugely popular destination for British and Scandinavian buyers of top end chalets and apartments for many years now. Add that to the Swiss (Geneva 1hr away), Italian and French buyers, this makes Chamonix a top destination to purchase a home in The French Alps.
- Annecy Lake is both majestic and sporty, home to the young and old, and with both French and foreign inhabitants.
Annecy and the villages surrounding the lake have so much to offer!
First of all Annecy is a lively market town with a university and a great choice of shops and restaurants.
The lake is ideal for water sports and also hosts numerous public and private beaches and gourmet dining.
Surrounded by The Alps the setting is just sublime with walking and ski resorts such as La Clusaz closeby.
Finally proximity to Geneva makes for easy access for international buyers and is an easy commute from the town.
If you're looking to buy a luxury lakeside villa then Annecy makes for a superb choice of location.
With arguably the best infrastructure in the whole of Europe, Savoie is all about the skiing.
There are many resorts to choose from although the best for luxury properties are :
The 3 Valleys ; Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens.
- Courchevel is famous for its extravagant partying and nightlife, not to mention some of the most luxurious chalets in the world.
- Meribel is the more reserved and possibly more refined neighbour. As well as the great skiing, there's a pretty village with some great bars and restaurants. Very popular with a wealthy British clientele.
- Val Thorens is the highest ski station in Europe at 2300m altitude in the village and 3230m at the top. From here you can also ski in Courchevel and Meribel.
The West Coast of France
The Atlantic Coast to the West of France is huge, so for the purpose of this article, focused on where to buy luxury properties in France, we're going to concentrate on two of the most sought areas :
- Biarritz and The Basque Country is located in the far South-West of France near the Spanish border. Set on The Atlantic Ocean with the Pyrenees as a backdrop, there are few places as magical in the whole of France.
The Basque Coast is a surfer's paradise it's been well known by the French, particularly those from Bordeaux, Toulouse and Paris, far many a year.
There are pockets of discerning international buyers, many of whom choose to buy property in Guethary and Bidart. Here demand well outweighs what's available for sale on the market.
The coastal towns of Biarritz and St Jean de Luz have more homes to offer in general, however the luxury market is very tight and a buyer's agent will potentially allow you access to off market properties for sale on The Basque Coast.
Inland prices are somewhat more accessible although demand is increasing year on year, and estates with a lot of land have entry point prices just as high as on the Ocean.
- Arcachon and Cap Ferret : a truly unique location ont he Atlantique Ocean and Arcachon Basin (inner sea), 45 mins to the West of the world renowned wine city of Bordeaux in the Gironde department.
With its pine forests, cycle paths, seafood restaurants and laid back lifestyle, it's the perfect place to make the most of the quintessential French way of life.
If you're looking for something more sporty, the area lends itself perfectly to sailboating, kitesurfing and surfing.
Basically if you want a luxury villa on the peninsula or on The Atlantic Ocean, just a stone's throw from Bordeaux, you should definitely check out Arcachon and the Cap Ferret.
The above info is an indication of some of the best places to buy luxury property in France, but of course there are many more and the list isn't by any means exhaustive.
If you'd like to purchase top end real estate in France with a trusted professional looking after your best interests, please get in touch to see how our boutique service at Buyer's Agent France can help you.