Each pocket of France provides a different feast for the senses, from Luberon lavender fields to Alpine meadows, art in Paris to jazz on the Côte d’Azur and the perfumeries of Grasse to the enticing aromas of Gascon cuisine. Here is a taste of some places you shouldn’t miss.
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On what is quite possibly the world’s premier holiday coast in terms of fame, reputation and a century of name-dropping glamour, you need only look at the private jets stacked up like dominoes at Nice airport to see that having a home on the Côte d’Azur is a solid symbol of success.
Nearly three decades after Peter Mayle turned the vicissitudes of life in Provence’s Luberon region into a best-selling novel, international buyers continue to make a beeline for its landscapes of lavender and vines and medieval hilltop towns that are regularly voted the most beautiful in France.
Gascony has dynamic Toulouse as its hub, yet you can soon stray off the beaten path into ‘La France profonde’ at its most peaceful. Buyers can find all that is worshipped about rural France – fine wine, cuisine and countryside – with the added benefits of beautiful Atlantic beaches of Aquitaine close at hand and the Pyrenees ski resorts for winter activity.
New-build property is practically unheard of in Paris’s UNESCO protected historic core, so living the Parisian dream of a high-ceilinged apartment with herringbone parquet floors and tall windows with balconies in a period Haussman building is what most buyers in the French capital turn to in reality. If that vision also includes a location on a leafy boulevard with cafés, boulangeries and one of the burgeoning street markets at hand, then it’s the picture of Parisian perfection for most overseas investors who are buying as much for personal usage as long-term investment potential.
For those seeking a French property that provides a very different lifestyle to the Mediterranean coast, the Alpine resorts continue to hold a strong allure for UK-based buyers in France. Being within an hour’s drive of Geneva is a big bonus for French resorts as that opens up the potential for British buyers to spend weekends on the slopes and for Swiss buyers to find better value second homes over the border. Elegant Megève, which also sees high demand among Dubai-based buyers in search of cooler summer temperatures, scores highly on that count and will see a boost to its fortunes later this year when its Four Seasons hotel opens.
Read more on all the regions in France we cover in our inside view France.