France has a huge range of properties available to buy. Here is our guide to some of the most popular types of property that buyers look for from Bed and Breakfasts to Gites, Farmhouses and Fishing Lakes.
Bed & Breakfast property for sale in France
Hosting bed & breakfast at your property in France can mean working at home, meeting new people and making friends. You’ll need good accommodation - including bathrooms - welcoming common areas and an adequate kitchen. When choosing a location, decide whether your guests will be taking a whole holiday or stopping over whilst travelling - and consider both the immediate environment and access to main routes, shops, restaurants and places of interest.
Bed & breakfast in France is competitive. You’ll need to research thoroughly and make a detailed business plan that includes the cost of getting the property up to scratch, pricing policy, daily schedule, a clear idea of your market and how you are going to reach them. Niche market appeal is increasingly popular; could you offer themed breaks such as art, cooking, wine tasting, French language, yoga or boules?
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Gîtes for Sale in France
Whether the gîtes are in a wing of your French house or in freestanding outbuildings, be sure that you can get the accommodation right up to scratch. Ask yourself whether the property and your budget can offer the stylish décor and high level of mod cons that are increasingly expected by visitors.
Gîtes in France are a highly competitive business and it helps to have an edge, such as proximity to beaches, leisure facilities and areas of outstanding natural beauty or unusual and appealing architecture, garden or setting. Decide also what facilities you can offer, such as swimming pool or tennis court – and will you provide any meals? Running gîtes must be regarded as a highly demanding occupation rather than a pleasant hobby but, if successful, it can offer a great French lifestyle.
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French Farmhouses for Sale
A farmhouse in France can mean bags of regional character, architectural features and charm. Traditional farmhouses are often spacious and may come with plenty of land and/or outbuildings to convert to accommodation for envious, admiring guests or to use for storage or hobbies. Many farmhouses are in a rural position with glorious views and peace & quiet to soothe the soul.
But when searching for your dream French farmhouse property, be practical! That charming ruin will need a lot of work and you’ll need to plan realistically both building costs and time – including your own supervision on site. Might the rural location prove too isolated or lonely? Can you really manage such a big spread of land or can it be rented out? If you plan to offer holiday lets, will it be through word of mouth or advertising? Francophiles who tackle the renovation of dream farmhouses tell tales of challenge and adventure – and for those who are well-prepared, the stories have happy endings!
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Water Mills for Sale in France
Owning a water mill in France – what an evocative prospect! The romance of rugged stone, a huge grain loft with exposed beams, the dramatic sound of water as it rushes from the circling wheel into a mirrored lake or meandering river. It’s a great dream for French property seekers to hold - and not totally unrealistic. Water mills do come on to the market and, fully restored, command high prices. Such properties offer that potent historical charm along with the ready-made conveniences of modern living.
If you favour a renovation project, try to remove those rose-tinted glasses and bear in mind that the work may be onerous and must be sympathetic to the architecture. It could involve not only traditional building projects but also specialist attention to the working mechanisms of the mill and wheel, so do your homework and budget accordingly. And a generously proportioned open loft space could prove expensive to run and heat. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that a water mill in France has an undeniable wow factor for its owner, visitors and tourists alike.
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Fishing Lakes for Sale in France
Angling holidays in France are becoming very popular. Suitable lakes to buy are found in several French regions, including Normandy, Brittany and Picardy for accessibility from the UK, the South West for its sunny climate and the central Limousin, whose lakes and hills are fast being discovered by Francophiles.
Buying and running a fishing lake in France could make sense for expert anglers with a good head for business and knowledge of the market but allow time to stock your waters. Anglers generally go for carp, catfish and some sturgeon and expect to find fish up to 50lbs weight. You’ll need to regulate access to fishing and decide what level of facilities, equipment and accommodation you’ll provide. The latter ranges from camping site with shower block to bed, breakfast and evening meal.
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Chateaux for Sale in France
An elegant classical façade, tall stone turrets, serried ranks of neatly shuttered windows – all whisper of bygone opulence and history’s half-forgotten secrets. The appeal is obvious. No wonder that the market for French chateaux in the South and South West regions is already saturated. But there are finds still to be made, especially in the Limousin, Auvergne and other up-and-coming areas.
Modernised chateaux come on the market at high prices but remember that restoration also costs. As a rough guide, to modernise an interior allow 500-700 euros per square metre and double that figure to include the external structure. If your chateau needs a new roof, the budget could soar further. Renovation grants can be available for listed properties but the process can take several months and you must use an approved architect and craftsmen.
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