French Property of the Week: Charming castle with fishing lake and pool in former Poitou-Charentes

Fancy living like royalty in your very own castle in western France? If so, then this stunning property with its medieval and renaissance architectural features, a fishing lake and a pool, might just be the home for you.

French Property of the Week: Charming castle with fishing lake and pool in former Poitou-Charentes
Photo: Leggett Immobilier
Where is it?
The property is located in the countryside 9km from the village of Coulonges-sur-l'Autize in the western Deux-Sèvres department of France, in the former region of Poitou-Charentes, now Nouvelle Acquitaine. 
Nearby are the historical towns of Niort (20km) and Fontenay-le-Comte (26km), where Napoleon I and Josephine once saw fit to spend to an evening, as well as the seaside town of La Rochelle (80km). 
The popular Futuroscope theme park and spectacular Mervent Forest are also close by.
La Rochelle International Airport is situated just an hour away from Coulonges-sur-l'Autize with flights to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh and Brussels among other international destinations.
Map: Google Maps
How much does it cost?
It's on the market for €445 000 or £391,399 depending on exchange rates.
Describe the house:
This magnificent property really doesn't have any drawbacks. From the main castle building dating back to 1905 with its turrets and terraced roof, to the garden, which offers views over the village and 12th century church, the property is exceptional.
And with a total of six bedrooms, a lounge and dining room, each with a fireplace and turret, there's no shortage of space. 
In addition to the pool (as well as a pool room), the property has a lake which is good for fishing, as well as several outbuildings, including a guest house, hunting lodge and orangery.
For history buffs, the castle is the third one to exist on the site. The first was built in the early 14th century and the property was then owned by the same family until the beginning of the 21st century. Today's building was originally inspired by a medieval castle the owners discovered and admired during a tour of Europe.
Why buy it?
Legett Immobilier say: “This remarkable property comprises a beautiful, perfectly formed castle with outbuildings and a swimming-pool on an approximately 5-hectare plot of wooded and landscaped land.
“It is a beautiful 1905 building with turrets and a terraced roof. It is up a small hill, overlooking the park and pond. From the garden you can enjoy the view over the village and its 12th century church.”
And the photos:

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MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 - particularly if you don't mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

We decided to look at where in France you could afford a property on a budget of €100,000, and it turns out there are some bargains to be had.

There are a lot of caveats while searching for property, and many local variables in place, but our search does show some of the areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget.

We used the Notaires de France immobilier website in August 2022, and we specified that the property should have at least five rooms (including kitchen and bathroom) and a floor space of at least 100 square metres.

We also discounted any property that was for sale under the viager system – a complicated purchase method which allows the resident to release equity on their property gradually, as the buyer puts down a lump sum in advance and then pays what is effectively a rent for the rest of the seller’s lifetime, while allowing them to remain in the property.

READ ALSO Viager: The French property system that can lead to a bargain

For a five-room, 100 square metre property at under €100,000, you won’t find anywhere in the Île-de-France region, where the proximity of Paris pushes up property prices. The city itself is famously expensive, but much of the greater Paris region is within commuting distance, which means pricier property. 

Equally the island of Corsica – where prices are pushed up by its popularity as a tourist destination – showed no properties for sale while the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – which includes the French Riviera – showed only 1 property under €100,000.

The very presence of Bordeaux, meanwhile, takes the entire département of Gironde out of this equation – but that doesn’t mean that the southwest is completely out of the running. A total of 25 properties came up in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. One property was on the market for a mere €20,000 – but it was, as the Notaires’ brochure noted, in need of “complete renovation”.

Neighbouring Occitanie, meanwhile, showed 12 further properties in the bracket.

By far the most properties on the day of our search – 67 – were to be found in the Grand Est region of eastern France. The eastern part of France overall comes out best for property bargains, with the north-east region of Hauts-de-France showing 38 properties and and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté displaying 25.

Further south, however, the presence of the Alps – another popular tourist destination – pushed up prices in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region which showed just three results.

The below map shows our search results, with darker colours indicating more cheap properties.

Property buying tips 

In order to make a comparison, we focused our search on properties advertised online, but if you have a specific area in mind it's well worth making friends with a few local real estate agents and perhaps also the mayor, since it's common for properties not to be advertised online.

Most of the truly 'bargain' properties are described as being "in need of renovation" - which is real estate speak for a complete wreck.

If you don't mind doing a bit of work you can often pick up property for low prices, but you need to do a clear-eyed assessment of exactly how much work you are willing and able to do, and what the cost is likely to be - there's no point getting a "cheap" house and then spending three times the purchase price on renovations.

READ ALSO 'Double your budget and make friends with the mayor' - tips for French property renovation

That said, there were plenty of properties at or near the €100,000 mark that were perfectly liveable or needed only relatively minor renovations.

You also need to pay attention to the location, as the sub-€100,000 properties are often in remote areas or very small villages with limited access to amenities. While this lifestyle suits many people, bear in mind that owning a car is a requirement and you may end up paying extra for certain services.

Finally remember that government help, in the form of loans and grants, is available for environmentally friendly improvements, such as insulation or glazing.