Brittany: A Cooler Alternative to the South
Medieval adventures, Celtic traditions, pirates and smuggling, naval battles and great explorers seem to fill the history books of our little corner of northwestern France. Such a colourful past, combined with over 2,700km of stunning and rugged coastline, spectacular beaches, lush green rolling countryside, dramatic tides and what are now very cosmopolitan and industry-rich towns and cities are just some of the reasons why Brittany has always been a popular destination and remains one of France’s most visited regions.
Consequently, the four departments that make up Brittany have always enjoyed an active property market with domestic homebuyers regularly having to compete with househunters from other areas of France, the UK and much further afield, looking to relocate or for second or holiday homes.
Of course, over the past couple of years since 2020, the whole of the rural French property market – and that of Brittany specifically – has enjoyed a significant surge in activity caused by the desire for space and countryside living following the Covid pandemic and the periods of national ‘confinement’. There seems to have been a mass exodus from large cities across France, as buyers make the most of new ‘working from home’ opportunities that have allowed them to look at detached country properties with land as principal homes. Who wouldn’t want to make the change to a more peaceful and tranquil life, with the prospect of a home to work from, a garden, a ‘potager’ and even space for animals? It’s a question of work–life balance – and in many cases, having the best of both worlds.
This may have had a negative effect on urban property markets, but in the country things are booming and demand has certainly outstripped supply for the first time in many years.
But even taking all of that into account, there is another significant factor that is drawing many buyers to relocate to Brittany and other parts of northern France making the region a real alternative – the climate…
Whatever your thoughts or political stance on climate change and global warming, the overwhelming evidence is that things are getting hotter and from all current projections will continue to do so. In fact, some scientific research is suggesting that average temperatures throughout France could increase by as much as 6°C in the north to 13°C in the south and with current averages in the south hitting 29°C, it’s easy to see where we are heading.
Already we are regularly getting the message from some clients from the south that life in the heat can be unbearable and that practical day-to-day living in the height of summer is nigh on impossible. Not wanting to venture outside, days spent inside with curtains and shutters closed, hot water from the cold tap and swimming pools too hot to use during the day are familiar stories.
And when you see more and more media coverage of scorching summer heatwaves with prolonged periods of temperatures in the very high 30s+ and wildfires threatening homes and communities, it is clear why some people are taking this into account when thinking about where to buy. What was a ‘head for the sun’ attitude of the past, has very much become a more considered and thoughtful ‘what climate may be the most comfortable in the next 10 years’ approach.
Stephen Pilkington is an independent agent with 10 years’ experience working with Agence Arguenon with offices in Dinan, Plancoët, Lamballe, Combourg and Caulnes. Tel: 0033 (0)2 96 39 96 73 agencearguenon.com
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