So many of us dream of owning a property in the south of France - some charming Provençal farmhouse set amongst the lavender or vines, with views over the Mediterranean. But buying property in the south of France, whether in Provence, the Côte d'Azur or Languedoc-Roussillon, isn't something you want to rush in to. It's easy to buy the wrong property - one that might be badly-positioned, cost too much to renovate or maintain, or one that doesn't really meet your needs.
Where to buy houses in the south of France?
The first thing to think about when buying property in the south of France is to choose the right location. The south of France, stretching from Menton near the italian border to Collioure near Spain, is a huge and varied part of France, offering a wide variety of types of property for sale at huge differentials in price. Property in Languedoc is cheaper than property in Provence, which is cheaper again than property in the Côte d'Azur. If you're wedded to a bit of glamour, sophistication and 'bling' - then start looking for property in Provence or the Côte d'Azur. If traditional, real south of France charm is what you're after, then you'll probably be happier buying property in Languedoc - a poorer area of France that offers better value.
Once you've decided on an overall area for your property in the south of France, start thinking about where within that region might suit you best. The Côte d'Azur provides the prettiest coastline should you be looking to buy a property for sale overlooking the Mediterranean - but the beaches tend to be quite pebbly. The traffic in summer is also horrendous. And the prices are sky-high. The Languedoc coast is much, much cheaper - but it's not terribly attractive. It's very flat and straight, with very good beaches, but tends to cater to mass tourism, so properties for sale in this part of the south of France tend to be either small beach-front apartments, modern villas in new build developments, or, if you're lucky, a village house in a pretty coastal town like Marseillan or Gruissan. Again, the coastal areas get swamped with tourists in summer, so don't buy your southern French property here if you're looking for tranquility.
If your vision of a property in the south of France involves some rustic farmhouse or cottage in a rural idyl, then you'll need to move back from the coasts into the hinterlands. Both Provence and Languedoc offer gorgeous properties for sale in the south of France - although Languedoc offers more opportunities to find an abandoned property and renovate it yourself, whereas most of these have already been renovated in Provence. The countryside in both Provence and Languedoc is equally beautiful - with rolling vineyards dominating Languedoc, whereas Provence has most of the lavender fields. If you're looking to buy a house in the south of France close to or in a village, then villages in Provence tend to be more touristy and pretty and full of foreigners, whereas those in Languedoc are more 'real' - working villages full of locals, often dominated by a 'cave cooperative'. Again, the properties for sale in Provence tend to be in better shape and in less need of renovating than houses for sale in Languedoc - but you'll pay a premium of course. Property in Languedoc can be significantly cheaper than buying some pretty maison secondaire in the Luberon.
What type of property?
Property in the south of France comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes - from millionaires châteaux overlooking the Med in the Côte d'Azur, to small village apartments in Languedoc. So decide exactly how large a house you're looking for. If you’re buying a property as a summer holiday property, then it may not need to be that well insulated - as you’ll be there when the weather is warm. If you’re looking to live in the property all year round, don’t forget that the winters in Provence and Languedoc can be bitterly cold, and a property with lovely beams and buckets of character can be miserable to live in if it’s not well insulated and heated. Most look for properties for sale in the south of France that offer outside space. Mediterranean culture is very outdoors - and you’ll find even a small terrace a godsend in summer. There’s nothing quite like sitting outside on a warm evening with a bottle of rosé and a BBQ. But properties with gardens and terraces will cost more, and local authorities are less and less likely to give permission to build terraces - especially in old houses in villages and towns. If you do buy a property in the south of France that ‘needs work’ - make sure to factor in a budget for renovations. Builders estimate about €1,000 per square metre for new-build homes, and €1,500 for renovations. So renovating a property in the south of France doesn’t come cheap - and you’ll have all the headaches of absent builders, possibly shoddy work and have to spend lots of time sourcing nice tiles, windows, doors, pools etc etc. If the purpose of your house in the south of France is to just relax and get away from it all, a building project could be the last thing you need. And with building costs so high, you won’t necessarily make your money back when you sell the property.
Agent or direct?
Basically, you have two options when buying property in the south of France. Either buying from an agent, or buying direct. Agents tend to fall into two categories - local and expat. Local agents cater to the French market - which is dominated by smaller, cheaper, more modern properties - often for a young family just starting out. The French don’t put as much of a premium on ‘character’ - and so are keener on modern property with good plumbing and electrics and lower maintenance costs. With this in mind, you’ll often find local agents don’t have that many properties to suit expat buyers - who tend to want to buy gorgeous stone village houses or farmhouses in the south of France with wood beams and old terracotta tiles. For these properties, you’re probably better off with agents that cater to the foreign market - who are also more likely to speak good english. Remember though that estate agent fees can be as high as 7%, so you’ll probably be paying slightly more if you buy through an agent.
Buying direct is the other option. Many of the properties for sale in the south of France on the Creme de Languedoc website are being sold direct - and so you could save money on the price. You’ll also be able to talk to the owners directly - and ask them in-depth questions about the property and its history before you view it.
How to buy property in the south of France on our website
If you're looking for beautiful Languedoc property for sale in the the south of France - you've come to the right place. Our site now boasts more French properties in Languedoc, France, than any other website!
More information on each Languedoc property
Hunting for Languedoc property can be frustrating - as many of the sites that list Languedoc houses for sale give pretty scant details on each property. We've insisted that owners and agents of the Languedoc property listed on our site give as much information on their house, apartment or château as possible - so that you can make a more informed choice.
To use this property search page, simply select the criteria you want on the left side of the page (above), and the relevant properties for sale in the south of France that meet your criteria will be shown on the right.