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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New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

A new accessibility scheme recently announced by the French government gives grants for home improvements such as installing a stair lift or widening a doorframe to allow wheelchair access - here is how you could benefit.

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

According to a recent survey in France, the vast majority of retired people expressed a desire to stay in their homes long-term, rather than entering a care facility.

While there are several schemes by the French government to provide assistance for renovating homes in order to make them more accessible for elderly people, the newly announced “MaPrimeAdapt” seeks to streamline the process.

When was it announced?

MaPrimeAdapt was part of President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election campaign, with plans for it first announced by the president last November.

Most recently, the government aid was earmarked to receive funding in the upcoming 2023 budget, which also hopes to increase the number of nursing home employees, as well as boost public funding for care centres.

The budget is set to allocate €35 million to the National Housing Agency (ANAH) in 2023. In response, the ministry of housing said to Capital France that one of their top priorities is “a single aid for the adaptation of housing to ageing” that would replace several existing government subsidies.

What is the goal of Ma Prime Adapt?

Similar to Ma Prime Renov, this programme hopes to provide additional funding for home refurbishment.

But while Ma Prime Renov focuses on environmentally friendly home adaptations, Ma Prime Adapt aims to make it simpler for older people or those with disabilities to refurbish their homes in order to maintain their autonomy and avoid falls.  

The French government also aims to reduce the number of fatal or disabling falls of people aged 65 by at least 20 percent by 2024, and by 2032, the goal is for at least 680,000 homes to be adapted, particularly those of low-income older people.

Who can benefit?

According to reporting by Le Monde, this aid is not solely reserved for people who already have decreased mobility. 

Instead, it is intended for older people generally. When applying, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are an independent retiree and need (this could be based on income, age, health, etc) to adapt their housing in order to make it more accessible.

The amount of assistance offered will be means-tested based on financial status.

What types of work would qualify?

Some examples of work that might qualify for assistance might be:

  • adapting the bathroom (for example, adding grab bars or enlarging the door)
  • replacing the bathtub with a shower
  • installing a bathtub with a door
  • installing a stair lift
  • adding access ramps to the home

The benefit is not limited to those options – any project that aims to increase home accessibility for a senior could qualify, as long as it is not simply aesthetic-focused.

Can it be combined with Ma Prime Renov?

They have different criteria, but Ma Prime Renov and Ma Prime Adapt can be combined in order to provide maximum support to elderly people wishing to adapt and stay in their homes.

How can I apply?

In order to apply, you will be required to meet the conditions stated above, in addition to being able to demonstrate that the housing in question is at least 15 years old and that the amount of work being done would cost at least €1,500.

Keep in mind that the renovation will need to be carried out by a recognised building company or contractor – specifically one with the label “RGE.”

You will be able  toapply for the Ma Prime Adapt aid via France’s National Housing Agency (ANAH). A dedicated website will be created to facilitate the process, with a launch date TBC. 

On the site, you will submit an application form that includes the estimates of the work planned. According to Le Monde, €5,600 will be the maximum amount of aid to be offered, and the cost of work will be capped at €8,000. However, this information has not yet been published by the National Housing Agency. 

What have the other available schemes been?

Currently, retirees in France can apply for the “Habiter facile” scheme from the ANAH (Agence Nationale de l’Habitat), which also helps to finance work that promotes the ability of elderly people to remain in their homes.

“Bien vieillir chez soi” is a similar aid scheme which is offered by the CNAV (social security).

The elderly and disabled can also benefit from tax credits on accessibility or home adaptation work. 

These will likely be replaced by Ma Prime Adapt, which will combine all benefits into one package.