Normandy is the land of cider, cheese, and Impressionism, and it seems British buyers are catching on. The Sunday Times this week spoke with estate agents and leading French property experts – including FrenchEntrée Property Director Alistair Lockhart – to see what all the fuss is about.
Hugh Grahan spoke with artist David Hockney, who has called Normandy home since 2019 and made headlines during the spring 2020 lockdown when he shared a series of artworks from his Normandy garden. Hockney, 83, bought a 17th-century cottage in the Calvados department, which he described as being “beautiful wherever you look” and affectionately calls ‘the Seven Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel house’. He’s in good company: Normandy has long been an inspiration for artists, including Monet, Renoir, and Manet.
But it’s not just the stunning landscapes and art heritage that are drawing property buyers to the coastal region. It’s also the competitive property prices. Average property purchases come in at around £114,000 according to Leggett Immobilier, although you’ll spend more for a coastal property. An added bonus for British buyers is the convenient ferry links – the crossing from Portsmouth to Caen takes just five hours, plus there’s a 3-hour FastCat ferry to Cherbourg in the summer months.
Normandy not only has coast and countryside within easy reach, but it’s also famed for its cuisine (think cider, seafood, and camembert) and is home to some of France’s most visited sites including Bayeux, Mont-Saint-Michel, and the D-Day landing beaches and memorials. All of which make great reasons to buy in Normandy.
So, where’s best to buy?
Lower Normandy seems to be the most popular spot for Brits. FrenchEntrée Property Director Alistair Lockhart told Graham: “Some people buy around Rouen, for some it is a draw. But most buyers go to Calvados or Manche. My in-laws lived in Lisieux, near where David Hockney is, and it really is like going back in time to the England of the 1960s and 1970s in terms of the way you live.
“If you want to get back to nature and a much simpler way of life but still want the convenience of getting back to the UK in a couple of hours, I think that is why a lot of people are choosing Normandy right now.”
Looking to buy in Normandy?
Read the Sunday Times article ‘How to Buy a House in Normandy‘.