From the trendiest cities and up-and-coming student towns to a sought-after Alpine resort, we get to the heart of France’s hottest areas to snap up buy-to-let properties
Thanks to its booming wine industry, Bordeaux attracts hordes of international investors and is a hugely popular place for short- and long-term rentals – and now is the time to buy. For a solid investment opportunity, look no further than the city centre and Quartier Saint-Michel. This lively square is a welcoming hotchpotch of markets and cafés, shops and cultural crossover, built around the gorgeous Gothic Basilique Saint-Michel. As well as its rich heritage and renowned gastronomic offerings, Bordeaux benefits from excellent connections to the capital, with just two hours between them, thanks to the new TGV Océane line.
A young and dynamic southern city with a buoyant rental market, Montpellier is ideal for letting to the large student population that lives here, as well as the countless holidaymakers who flock to the region. With its Mediterranean climate, good transport links and proximity to the sea, this buzzing city is regularly voted the best place to live and work in France – plus it’s more affordable than Paris, Lyon and Nice. Boasting top universities, a wealth of beach activities and water sports, not to mention charming squares, and bars and eateries in the old quarter – it’s a real all-rounder.
Unofficial capital of the oh-so-glamorous Côte d’Azur, and the second most popular tourism destination in France after Paris, Nice by nature is a costly area ripe with investment potential. Try the old town for rental apartments; the city’s historic heart is a magnet for travellers seeking that quintessential French charm. And baroque architecture, winding alleys, markets and outdoor restaurants are all part and parcel of life here. In many ways, the Riviera is an investor’s paradise, as over a period of just ten weeks in the height of summer, holiday-let owners can easily earn as much as long-term rentals over 12 months.
The French Alps have become a huge hit with foreign investors in recent years. As the demand for modern flats and traditional chalet-style lets has soared, most areas have experienced a price hike. Based at the foot of the Tarentaise Valley in the Savoie département, the pretty town of Bourg-saint-Maurice is worth looking into. Part of the prestigious Les Arcs resort, but far enough from the major hotspots, it boasts an enviable position and a more appealing price tag. Served by a TGV connection, a funicular to the pistes in ski season, and sitting on the doorstep of Vanoise National Park, it’s an attractive tourist destination all year round.
5 Île de Ré
A mere hop across the water from La Rochelle, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, this dreamy island on the west coast is a popular patch for holidaying Parisians. Unsurprisingly, property doesn’t come cheap here – instead, buyers are looking at serious investment potential with good returns. There’s plenty to love about this sunny slice of France, from the enduring charm of the whitewashed town houses with their green shutters, to the old fishing locks and fresh seafood served up in local restaurants. This area also has abundant leisure activities, such as cycling, horse riding and various nautical sports, so there’s never a dull moment.
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