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France

About France

France is a founding member of the European Union and one of the most influential countries of the continent and in the world. France has always been a popular country with British property buyers, because it is so easy, and quick, to reach France by boat, plane or train, and the Channel Tunnel has made it even more accessible. It is also beloved by many for its rural and seaside villages and towns where time seems to have stopped. Its property prices are extremely competitive compared with its various neighbours, and overseas buyers looking for a holiday home will find plenty to choose from.

About France

Capital: Paris
Currency: Euro
Language: French
Schengen Area Member: Yes

France is a founding member of the European Union and one of the most influential countries of the continent and in the world. It has a population of some 63 million, which is similar to that of the UK, but in one of the largest countries in Europe, meaning that there is plenty of space. Of course, some 10 million of the population liven in the capital Paris, where space is at a premium and that is reflected in property prices. It is primarily a secular country, even if the majority of its citizens are classified as Roman Catholic, and its laws tend to promote French secularism.

France has always been a popular country with British property buyers, because it is so easy, and quick, to reach France by boat, plane or train, and the Channel Tunnel has made it even more accessible. It is also beloved by many for its rural and seaside villages and towns where time seems to have stopped. The quality of local produce is another enticement, and France has ensured that small farmers are able to keep producing the products that are a signature element of France’s culture. The weekly market is still a strong feature of rural French life, as are the bars and restaurants that could have come from a film. In short, France never loses its romance.

Its property prices are extremely competitive compared with its various neighbours, and overseas buyers looking for a holiday home will find plenty to choose from. France does not have large developments like Spain, largely because it has never been seen as an investment market. This has prevented over development and a significant number of the properties available, especially in areas such as Normandy, are what you might call authentically traditional. There are some terrific bargains for anyone prepared to consider complete refurbishments.

France economy

France’s economy is the fifth largest in the world and represents around one fifth of the Euro area gross domestic product (GDP). Currently, services are the main contributor to the country’s economy, with over 70% of GDP stemming from this sector. In manufacturing, France is one of the global leaders in the automotive, aerospace and railway sectors as well as in cosmetics and luxury goods. In terms of exports, wines, spirits and cheeses makes up a substantial element and the French government subsidises this to ensure it is the largest exporter of farm goods in Europe. Its other big ‘export’ is tourism, as France is the most visited country in the world.

France culture

The French are proud of their culture and like to show it off. Not infrequently this will involve food, which is probably the leading element of French culture, if you ignore the artists, musicians, novelist, poets and philosophers of world fame. Not everyone can be an artist, but everyday French folk pride themselves on producing wonderful meals using the produce from the local markets that enchant every newcomer. When you live in France, expect food to play a greater role in your social life and be prepared for dinners and lunches with a seemingly endless number of courses.

Location and price

France benefits from having a diverse range of locations. It has the Alps, it has rural villages and seaside towns and it has the glitzy Cote d’Azur in the south, as well as picture-perfect Provence. Dordogne in Aquitaine in the southwest is a favourite region with foreign property buyers and with property prices having fallen in many areas, there are a many bargains to be had, such as a village house for around €100,000. You will find some for less if you’re prepared to put in the rebuilding work. Languedo-Roussillon is a good alternative to the expensive South of France, and the city of Montpellier is both lively and historic. Brittany and Normandy are great for those who like the sun, but not too much of it, and the rural Auvergne and Limousin are where you will find more competitive pricing. Investors looking for year round returns should look at properties in the prime ski resort locations, which also attract summer visitors for hiking holidays.

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