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PROPERTY

Where in France will a countryside home cost you the most?

Many people dream of their very own house in the French countryside. But where in France are people forced to fork out the most to make that dream become a reality?

Where in France will a countryside home cost you the most?
Photo: davidmartyn/Depositphotos

France has more second homes than any other European country, with 3.3 million second homes representing 10 percent of the country's housing stock. 

That's four times more than Germany, and over the past five years, the buying of second homes in France has gone up 1.7 percent.

But where in France are people coughing up the most cash for their rural property?

A survey by French newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche and French property website Seloger reveals all. 

Unsurprisingly, two of the most expensive places to buy your very own piece of rural France were in the sunny south. 

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Photo: Depositphotos

The Gard department in southern France, which is home to the city of Nimes, as well as many, many vineyards – something which is particularly appealing to foreigners – and the south eastern department of Vaucluse, were among the top three most expensive departments in the country. 

Average-sized properties in Vaucluse, just 2.5 hours from Paris by TGV, went for an average of €435,649 while in the Gard they went for €358,013. 

Meanwhile, luxury properties in Vaucluse went for a whopping €866,576 and in Gard they went for €804,868. 

Similarly, the third department making up the top three was Calvados, famed for its apple brandy, in Normandy, which is close to the French capital and is known for its stunning coastline. 

Prices in the Calavdos department for average properties were €376,706 and for luxury apartments the average price was €864,919. 

“The main motivation is pleasure,” property expert Xavier Boutiron told the French press, adding that the property market in France was “more about passion than reason”. 

The survey also revealed that the French remain particularly attached to the Atlantic coast, with a 13 percent of homes in the north west region of Brittany, a figure well above the national average. 
 
In the Breton department of Morbihan the price of average-sized properties was €315,230 while more luxurious dwellings were an average of €788,371. 
 
The jobs you can do if you live in deepest rural France
Photo: AFP
 
Meanwhile further down the west coast in the department of La Vendée, demand has shot up with sales increasing by 20 percent in just one year. 
 
“This is all down to customers from the Loire Valley or the Paris region looking for a property that combines a desire to be surrounded by nature and quality of life,” said Benoit Brossier from property giant Foncia. 
 
“Small towns like Challans [in La Vendée] are booming: you can find properties twenty minutes from the sea and all the services that make life easier,” he said. 
 
However not everywhere was quite so eye-wateringly expensive. 
 
The departments of Yonne and Nièvre in the less popular region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and Aveyron in the south west of France all offered up more reasonably priced properties. 
 
In Yonne, average-sized properties were available for €170,659, in Nièvre they were €137,021, and in Aveyron they were €176,328. 
 
French words to know
 
Second homes – les résidences secondaires
 
Country house – une maison de campagne
 
Prices are shooting up – les prix s'envolent 

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PROPERTY

Tenants in France: How to make your home more energy efficient

Insulation, ventilation, heating - given the cost-of-living crisis that’s affecting France as much as many other countries, it’s understandable that there is a lot of talk right now about improving energy efficiency in homes.

Tenants in France: How to make your home more energy efficient

In France many people rent and although you would hope that your landlord would do improvements like this, if they are unable or unwilling than you have the right to do these works yourself.

It means the work is at your own expense, but if you’re a long-term tenant you may make the money back in savings on your energy bills.

Here’s how to go about it:

Inform your landlord

The first thing to do is inform your landlord you intend to carry out the work, at your expense. Do this by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. 

The letter must describe the transformations envisaged, the conditions under which these works will be carried out, and the name of the company undertaking the work.

If you have not received a written response in two months, you can assume you have the tacit agreement of your landlord to carry out the work.

Work you can carry out

A decree published in France’s Journal Officiel on July 21st defines the list of works a tenant can carry out at their own expense on the property they rent.

  • insulation of lower floors;
  • Attic and upper floor insulation;
  • replacement of exterior joinery;
  • solar protection of glazed or opaque walls;
  • installation or replacement of ventilation systems;
  • installation or replacement of heating and domestic hot water production systems and associated interfaces.

The work cannot affect communal areas of a shared property, and must “respect the expected energy performance”. 

Work cannot affect the building structure, its external appearance, require a permit, or change the purpose of the building.

What happens afterwards

Within two months after the completion of the work, the tenant must inform the landlord that the work has been carried out by the chosen company and that it corresponds to what was announced in the pre-work letter.

Other work tenants can undertake on a property they rent

In 1989, a law was passed that allowed tenants to undertake certain work on a property – painting and decorating, adding or changing floor covering – without the permission of the landlord and at their own expense.

Any other works require the written agreement of the landlord – otherwise the tenant may be obliged to return the property to its original condition. 

The landlord can also keep the benefit of the work done without the tenant being able to claim compensation for the costs incurred.

Landlord’s responsibilities

Landlords must provide decent housing, which implies, in particular, heating in good working order, and compliance with a minimum energy performance criterion. Under current rules, doors, windows and walls must be airtight. 

A tenant can only require work from his landlord on these elements, if they are deficient.

From January 1st, 2023, properties advertised for rent in France must have a Diagnostic de performance énergétique rating of G or better.

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