The FrenchEntrée property services team choose the top areas for property in France…
Le Marais, Paris
Once a quaint neighbourhood, Le Marais spans the capital’s third, fourth and eleventh arrondissements, and is regarded as ‘old Paris’. Originally marshlands which were used to cultivate crops, starting in the 16th century, the quartier was developed by the bourgeoisie and is now one of the city’s most vibrant areas. With its fine array of galleries, museums and boutiques, it’s equally popular with art enthusiasts and fashionistas alike.
The most interesting area for buyers considering Le Marais is the Haut-Marais, which is further away from the river and close to the République Métro stop. Consider north of the Rue Rambuteau, south-east of Republique, the Square du Temple and the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the city’s oldest food market with its rambling food stalls.
The Haut-Marais is now a hip district and a brilliant area to consider for property investors as it offers a great rental return. Offering a wealth of bars and restaurants, bustling nightlife and close proximity to République, it’s a sought after area for young professionals. Neighbourhood regeneration and a recent makeover have transformed the once semi-abandoned, 19th-century covered market, the Carreau du Temple, into a center for cultural and sporting activities. It’s redesign was part of the city’s first ventures into public consultation exercises, which allowed local residents to vote on how the site should be utilised. Consequently, it’s now a hive of activity with a strong sense of community involvement. The area also benefits from a very active Maire, who encourages participation by local residents.
Le Marais is largely free of Haussmanian architecture and, with its maze of winding streets, is often described as having a ‘village’ feel. Buyers should budget around €12,500 per sqm as a base point, possibly higher for well-renovated apartments with a lift in the more popular areas. Studios are very sought after and will sell quickly. Consider 20sqm for studio apartments, 50sqm for one-beds and 85sqm for two bedrooms. Those requiring renovation in the lower end of the price range are in limited supply.
When it comes to returns, a studio in good condition and rented furnished will fetch €1,500 per calendar month, including agency fees, while a nice but compact one-bed brings in €2,000, and a two-bedroom €3,000.
With thanks to Susie Holland, our partner agent in Paris
This traditional, pretty market town lies at the heart of Brittany, in the campagne of the Côtes-d’Armor département. Loudéac has retained much of its Medieval charm, which is visible in its well-preserved buildings and attractive streets. It’s a decent-sized ville, boasting over 10,000 inhabitants, with a full range of day-to-day shops and services plus superb restaurants, bars and cafés. Loudéac’s modern facilities are juxtaposed with the charming weekly market, which showcases local Breton produce. Gourmands will be keen to sample the plentiful supply of regional specialities on offer, including fresh scallops and oysters, the much loved galette and Breton cidre.
In addition to plentiful urban amenities, Loudéac provides property buyers with easy access to the 2,500-hectare Forest of Loudéac, which ensures that the peace and tranquillity of the country is never far away. The town’s also within an hour’s drive from a range of beautiful beaches, including the Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast) to the north, the Golfe du Morbihan to the south and the Parc Naturel Régional d’Amorique to the west.
The ferry is the obvious choice for access, with routes from the UK linking to Saint-Malo and Roscoff. If you’re driving, there’s Autoroute access from the Channel ports. Alternatively, there’s a good rail network, with TGV links from Paris to Rennes (two hours) and on to Brest or Quimper (four hours). The airports with flights to and from the UK, some via low-cost carriers, include Brest, Dinard and Rennes.
Numerous recreational activities are available in and around town. The Forest of Loudéac and the surrounding countryside will appeal to nature lovers, and Lake Guerlédan is only 30 minutes away. Families will also enjoy the town’s Les Aquatides swimming and leisure centre, which boasts its own lagoon and rivers.
Here, in central inland Brittany, is where buyers will get the most value and land is readily available if you’re searching for a smallholding or equestrian property. Loudéac hosts the Fête du Cheval each August and there are excellent riding trails in the surrounding countryside. There are also a number of race meetings each Easter,
which are held at the town’s Hippodrome.
Bargain properties can be found and if you’re willing to take on a project, there’s a plentiful supply of charming stone farmhouses which are ripe for renovation. Neo-Breton and stone longère (‘long house’) properties are also a common style of this area. Property prices will start to increase as you travel south, into the Morbihan département.
With thanks to our partner agency in Loudeac
Bourg-Saint-Maurice, French Alps
Nicknamed the ‘Capital of the Upper Tarentaise’, Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a town in the Savoie département of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. The last large town along the Tarentaise Valley in the heart of the Alps, it’s popular with holidaymakers from all over the world, thanks to its international railway station and the fact that the ski areas of Les Arcs and Paradiski are just seven minutes away by funicular railway.
This charming town has something for everyone – baroque churches and chapels, Alpine pastures, historic and avant-garde architecture alike, plus shops, restaurants and extensive leisure activities.
The family-friendly ski runs and snowboard cruiseways of Les Arcs and Paradiski, the glorious off-piste action in Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise plus the more advanced runs in the Val D’Isère are all a short distance away and easily reachable by public shuttle.
As it sits close to the French-Italian border, the outskirts of ‘Bourg’, as it’s often called, mark the start of a number of classic mountain routes for cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers, to Annecy via La Clusaz in Switzerland, northern Italy, the Italian Lakes, southern France and the French Riviera.
Paradiski also boasts one of the best developed mountain bike trail networks in the Alps, extending from Les Arcs to La Plagne and over into Champagny, offering some really stunning views of Courchevel and the Three Valleys area along the way.
Unlike many local towns and villages, Bourg-Saint-Maurice is open year-round and is also a popular summer destination. During warmer months, it’s a haven for nature lovers that offers such activities as white-water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, horse-riding, climbing and trekking plus spa facilities. In addition, the surrounding mountains are a good spot for paragliding and hang gliding.
Its year-round popularity makes Bourg-Saint-Maurice a great choice for rental properties and the area is popular with British, Dutch and Belgian buyers plus UK and French expats who live, for example, in Singapore, Dubai or Japan. The recent fall in the Pound-Euro rate hasn’t had any effect on property sales and the market is still busy.
The area offers a wealth of property to suit every dream, from fully-refurbished, traditional stone farmhouses with beams and fireplaces and town apartments close to the shops, bars and restaurants, to ski chalets in the middle of nowhere and tumbledown barns in need of total renovation.
With thanks to Hélène Ferronniere, our partner agent in the Alps