Gwyn Brooke is South African, married with two teenage children, and has a passion for people and travel. She divides her time between Nice and Dubai, where she works as a property sales consultant. We asked her about the path that led to this stunning 3-bedroom apartment in the Côte d’Azur.
What brought you to France?
I worked for a cosmetic brand and travelled to France on business. Then my husband was relocated to Paris for one year that turned into three. We loved the beauty of the countryside, the markets, cycling through the forest or picnicking in Versailles. We had so many pinch-me moments and really could never quite believe our luck. France had got under our skin.
You were originally thinking of a traditional home with land, what changed your mind?
I had visited Nice several times for work and then with the family on a cruise, we love the area and the easy access to the airport to fly to and from Dubai. As the search progressed we quickly realized the “lock-up-and-go” option was more practical. This apartment has the advantage of a full time guardian in a secure estate, a new development set in landscaped grounds with infinity pool high on the Col de Villefranche with majestic views. It’s a haven of tranquility only a stone’s throw from Nice and Villefranche sur Mer, and near all the beautiful surrounding coastal towns of Eze, Monaco, Antibes, St Paul de Vence, Mougins and Cannes. Without a doubt, it’s the best of both worlds.
How did you find this gem?
I didn’t. I had tried to go it alone a few years earlier and found it difficult, wading through endless property portals and really not having objective feedback. We engaged Property Finder Rebecca Russell who was not only a pleasure to work with, but has now become our friend. She broke down our needs exactly, saved us money making a fair and acceptable offer to the seller, and put us in touch with a Notaire who spoke very good english. She gave us lots of advice in general.
What were any challenges?
The bank would not provide finance unless the apartment had a kitchen, and we weren’t aware that many new developments didn’t provide one. As a result we had to work very quickly to install a makeshift kitchen. Later we replaced it with a beautiful permanent one. Rebecca found us a reputable artisan. We also purchased all of the larger furnishing online and only visited the apartment once for the soft furnishings.
What is your favorite spot?
I have to say the terrace. We have family evenings and we play cards and board games out there. In the morning you can see the city of Nice light up as day breaks, and at sunset the city transforms with it’s bright lights reaching far into the distance. It’s food for my soul I simply cannot get enough of it!
What do you enjoy about the area?
We love to start the day with a walk up the mountains or down into Villefranche sur Mer or the Port of Nice, then stop at the local boulangerie on our way back for a coffee and croissant. We balance staying in to lounge by the the pool with exploring, it could be San Remo in Italy or the pebble beach of St Jean Cap Ferrat. There’s so much happening here all the time.
What would you say to someone who is considering buying a property in France?
Had I had the help of a property finder when we first searched, it would have saved us time and money. I would also say, educate yourself about the legislation and the due diligence required.
What are the plans for the future?
We like to travel so for now, when we are not using the apartment, we are making it available for short-term rentals to guests. In the long term and once we retire my husband and I plan be spending more and more time in France. We have so much to look forward to!
Originally published in the January-February issue of FrenchEntrée magazine, with thanks to Rebecca Russell, Property Finder in Nice.
If you are interested in contacting Gwyn about a short-term rental of the apartment you can email her at [email protected]
For further information about this property or for help with your property search, please call our consultant at +44 (0)1225 463 752 or email [email protected] or contact one of our local property finders with expert knowledge of the area.