holiday home

SEE ALSO: FrenchEntrée’s Maison Secondaire Zone

Here are some practical tips to help you get the most out of your maison secondaire

Look for a gift horse…
If a property has been on the market for a long time, there’s probably a good reason for this. Check out the cost of similar property in the area to make sure it’s not overpriced

Transport
If you’ll only be visiting the place a few times a year, you don’t want to spend all your time travelling. Think about how far the property is from the nearest airport/train station/motorway/ferry port.

Hidden extras
A second home costs money, and not just what you pay for it. Remember to budget for local taxes, heating, maintenance and transport

Regular features
If you have a swimming pool remember this needs to be maintained regularly and you may need to get someone to do this for you. The same applies to gardens.

Have consideration
You can help break down local barriers by always trying to speak French with the French. They will appreciate the effort even if you haven’t yet mastered the subjunctive…

Be sensitive
Don’t drone on to the French about how cheap property prices in France are. In rural areas especially many people are on very low incomes and what for you may not be expensive could seem like a small fortune to your new neighbours.

Think local
Where possible, try to use local tradesmen – this will help to keep you in the good books of the locals. Ask around about who’s recommended.

Shop wisely
Get known at your local stores and shops and more often than not you’ll find that people will be helpful and friendly and go out of their way to help you. A little politeness goes a long way.

Finding suppliers
Use France’s yellow pages on the internet (www.pagesjaunes.fr ) to help look for suppliers. A different section of the same website lets you search for individuals

Buy the local newspaper
The small ads can be an invaluable source of information on markets, brocante or second-hand goods sales , fetes, foires and so on.

Gifts
If you are lucky enough to be invited to the home of a French family for drinks or a meal, remember to take a little gift with you. Flowers, a houseplant or chocolate are a good idea – best to avoid taking wine unless you know them well.

Swap plants
Many French people are very keen gardeners and sometimes it’s possible to swap plants of cuttings with the neighbours. It’s a good way of getting to know people

By the FrenchEntrée team

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