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Why renting it and what type of property choosing

Why renting your French property?

As the world’s number one tourist destination, France attracts 82 millions tourists a year of which 11 millions are British and half a million of them stay more than 6 weeks en France. Why not take advantage of this situation?

Short, medium term and seasonal lettings provide a mean of optimising your holiday home occupancy, provide an extra revenue stream and the benefits of not leaving a property empty for months which is not the best way to keep it sane, even for new build homes. A well-managed lease of your holiday home can contribute to mortgage repayments, and cover running costs and local taxes. Furthermore, if you have a mortgage in euros your rental income in euros might negate or reduce the costs of transferring sterling to euros to cover the mortgage repayments.

You can rent your French property to retired people who have time available for a long stay of several months, to people scouting to buy a property in France, to people taking a break, or people overlooking renovation works.
Because of its accessibility and also its central position in Europe France attracts tourists from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavia thus providing a wide market for holiday lettings.

In this section we deal with the basic aspects of short and medium term and seasonal lettings as a way to make the most of a privately used property. If your intention is pure investment without personal use, consult our section on Buying process for French leaseback. Of course you can buy a new build French property in order to let it permanently.

Choice of your French new home

If you intend to rent your holiday home on a regular basis you should have that in view when choosing and try to find a new home with a year-round appeal or at least a dual-season appeal. Still, bear in mind that your priority number one is your personal use! The letting potential of the property might just help you sort out if you hesitate between several developments.
Choosing a new build property is in itself a better guarantee that your holiday home can be rented all seasons. Generally developers choose sites close to towns and therefore with access to all amenities, easy transports (TGV train, airports), and the year-round activities of metropolitan life. In selecting our properties portfolio this is the concern we had within the area we cover. We have summarised it in 4 points: Sea, Spain, Ski and City (not to mention ‘Sun’ because it goes without saying in the South of France!)

Sea: Mediterranean sea and Atlantic Ocean

From Poitou-Charentes to the Spanish border in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the properties we generally select have an easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. This is of course of interest for summer lettings but also for winter lettings since seaside climate is milder. It is interesting to note that from one end of the Pyrénées to the other one you can also have easy access to some ski resorts such as Gourette, La Pierre Saint Martin and Artouste in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques or even easier on the western side with a 88km drive from Perpignan to the slopes of Font Romeu.

Close to buyoant Spain

Proximity to another country can represent an extra appeal for holiday rental, especially for a long stay. For people renting long-term your holiday home, a foreign fix, whether in Pais Basco or in Catalonia can be a refreshing change of scenery. In just a short drive you switch to a different culture, atmosphere and a day-escape seems like a mini-holiday in itself.

Ski: the great Pyrenees

If you intend to invest in a ski-ing property and target a dual-season, then prefer lower-altitude villages connected to ski-ing area rather than purpose-built, high altitude resorts. Even in winter post-ski life is more pleasant since you have the charm of traditional mountain architecture, authentic atmosphere, shops and restaurants, opened all-year round. In summer these valley villages offer different activities such as hiking, horse riding, rafting, fishing, canyoning, hence lengthening the potential renting period, whereas high altitude are dead and ugly in summer.

Cities: La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Toulouse, Montpellier

Proximity to big cities can also represent an extra advantage for long-term rentals. The first is easy access from UK through a wide range of low cost  or regular flights, Eurostar and connections to high-speed trains. French major cities boast numerous restaurants, chic boutiques, museums, cinemas (and only in big cities can you have a chance of viewing a movie in English!).

  • In the area of Aquitaine, when buying a new home in the Gironde department, you have the appeal of Bordeaux. Bordeaux is a beautiful XVIIIth city, classified on Unesco world heritage list, along a majestic river, the centre of a world renowned wine region, an important students city, and has of course the Ocean and charming Bassin d’Arcachon at its doors.
  • Follow the coastline down to the South and stop in Pyrénées-Atlantiques where you can enjoy as many activities: exciting metropolitan life in cities with year-round appeal such as Bayonne or Biarritz and its Belle Epoque beauty, easy access to countryside quietness, the Pyrénées ski resorts and of course the Atlantic Ocean.
  • On the other end of the Pyrénées, take a taste of Spain in Perpignan which also commands access to the last long sandy beaches before the dramatic and scenic coastline of the Côte Vermeille and its tiny fishing villages such as Collioure and Port Vendres. Perpignan is also the gate to the untouched inland landscape of the “Pays Cathare” and its many abbeys or medieval castles nestled in vineyards. Perpignan has an international airport with direct flights to London, Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton.
  • Montpellier and Toulouse are also exciting cities because young and vibrant with student life. Both cities are important students city and while Toulouse boasts the second rank after Paris, Montpellier is the oldest medicine faculty in France, dating back to the Middle Ages. Now both cities attract young active since Midi-Pyrénées (capital Toulouse) and Languedoc-Roussillon (capital Montpellier) are the fastest growing French regions for their population. Both capitals offer a trendy and lively lifestyle. Montpellier is easily accessible from the UK thanks to its own airport and Nîmes’ airport 30 minutes away. Located in the heart of the most extended and oldest vine growing region in the world, Montpellier is also the door to Avignon and the Vaucluse, the wild sceneries of Camargue, its marshes and the outstanding medieval town of Aigues Mortes, and many other historic curiosities (Pont du Gard, Nîmes, Arles…) and above all is only a few minutes from long sandy beaches.
  • Toulouse boasts a very easy access from the UK and Ireland with 12 routes operated by 7 companies, low cost or regular airlines. Known as “la ville rose” thanks to the terra cotta colour of its brick architecture, Toulouse combines the charms of an Italian city with the activity of a powerful economy. Thanks to Airbus the city has a somewhat cosmopolitan appeal which you could only find in Paris. Toulouse is then an important city which combines high ranking economics, education, and quality of life of an interesting region: from the gentle hills of Le Lauragais also called the French Little Tuscany with its many Renaissance Castles, the city is also the door to rural departments of the Dordogne, Lot et Gers, destinations very priced by the British thanks to their nice villages and sweet landscape. The Toulousains often enjoy summer weed-ends on the Mediterranean Coast and winter ones in the Pyrenées ski resorts, both sea and mountain within a 90 minutes drive.