entry to Breton cottage 

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Lovely Breton kitchen
 All this for 80K euros? Brittany 3 bedroom cottage 



Come shopping with me... 


Darn it! Just can't put my fingers on an article I recently read about more and more British owners parting with their second homes in France in 2010. What came to mind was that there might be some bargains out there in 2011.  


Next thing you know I'd spent a full day "surfing the web" to see what properties "a la cheap!" surfaced.  We'll look at the pro's and con's of both whole ownership and fractional ownership further on. 


In the meantime, the following French Property News article may be of interest: Who to Believe on House Prices for 2011?     




Property #1: 

Creuse Normandy

Lovely Normandy cottage- 68900 euros

Less expensive properties, bien sur, will be found outside of the more popular destinations like Paris or the Cote d'Azur where the price per meter may be double or triple that in other areas.


This recently renovated stone cottage on 3 floors has a lot of character and offers 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and is one in a row of unusual cottages in the old part of the village of Creuce.


Have you ever spent time in these Normandy villages? We have and found them lovely, relaxed, and charmingly old-fashioned. Their proximity to Paris is also appealing.


 See: http://www.1st-for-french-property.co.uk/property/Lower%20Normandy/Orne/Ceauce/38602/





Ambriere, a rural property in Western Loire     60,000 euros


Property # 2 

Ambiere stone cottage-


Let's take a look at a lovely rural property, really à la cheap at only 60,000 euros. Isn't the exterior sweet?


With 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, this appears to be a lot of property for the price. Also features a 1/4 acre garden with pond and fruit trees.





See: http://www.1st-for-french-property.co.uk/property/Western%20Loire/Mayenne/Ambrieres/40879/    


Property #3 

Breton exterior

Breton Cottage- circa 1654    80,000 euros

 Admittedly my favorite property in this search, this home was built in 1654 AD is an old "Breton" stone cottage retaining French charm and character, maintained to a high and luxurious standard. The cottage benefits from electric heating in all rooms, a wood burning stove and large open fire in the comfortable spacious lounge - making the property ideal for out of season use as well as enjoying the warm Brittany summers. The cottage is set in a third of an acre in a very peaceful hamlet. The village of Mael Carhaix is located two minutes away by car and 15 minutes by bicycle! Here you will find the boulongerie, small mini markets, bars, tabac, restaurants, banks, chemist, post office and church. The main large supermarkets are five minutes.


Breton livingroom
Breton cottage living room

  See: www.bretoncottage1654.co.uk  


Property #4: 


For me, the next beautifully renovated 2 bedroom village house with the a lovely courtyard garden, runs a close second to the Breton cottage in terms of value. At only 81,000 euros, I like the fact that its a few minute walk from the lively town of La Trimouille (north of Limoges in the Centre). With lots of exposed stone and beams, it appears to be nicely refurbished. The easy addition of a second shower also is appealing.


While we've driven through Limoges, we haven't really house shopped here. Obviously, smack dab in the center of France may double your travel time to this cottage.


See: http://www.frenchpropertylinks.com/frenchpropertyextradetails.asp?property=PN10206




Tardis 1 Trimouilles
North of Limoges- 2 bedroom - 81,000 euros.



Tardis 9

Gorgeous courtyard gardens




Tardis 2
North of Limoges 



Tardis 4
One of 2 bedrooms



Property #5: 


Now, are you wondering about my opinion of the 119K euros south of France house pictured below? I have mixed emotions but feel this is a good "buying" lesson as there are subtle plusses and minuses to this property.


First of all, south of France DOES have appeal to me not only because of the greater likelihood of more sunshine year round but also for re-saleability. Also, many of the other less expensive choices are much harder to travel to.


Furthermore, I know and like this village of Felines Minervois very much (this is NOT true of many of the villages in the south). FM is charming visually and its proximity to Caunes Minervois and Carcassonne also is a draw. I think it is fairly prices at 119K euros despite its small footprint (70m2). Having a courtyard is a huge deal in the Languedoc.


Yet...despite the appeal of the first courtyard photo, the second photo, the one with the table and chairs) tells me this is a very narrow property and will be claustrophobic for me. But perhaps not for you?? Remember-  photos can and often ARE very very deceiving.


See: http://www.aude-france-property.com/property_761.htm


Featuring small courtyard



Felines 2
Furnished Languedoc village house  119K euros




Pro's and Con's 

 Rentals versus Whole and Rractional ownership


So, like us, you absolutely love travelling to France and once there, wish you could stay longer.   Let's summarize the pro's and con's of rentals, whole ownership and fractional. Which works best for you?


Whole Ownership

A) Pros

  1. Thrill of having your own place
  2. Complete flexibility of user time
  3. Ability to generate some rental income to offset running expenses
  4. Possibility to resell at a profit
  5. Your own décor and taste
  6. The joy of feeling like France is your home and you make friends with the butcher, baker and candlestick maker.


B) Cons

  1. Difficult to get financing and much greater capital outlay
  2. Vacation homes typically used 6-8 weeks per year and running costs are for 12 months. Typical running costs are 4-5000 euros per year.
  3. Renting can be a hassle and a risk and needs management to oversee it properly
  4. Possibility that house will not resell easily and large sum of money remained tied up
  5. Like many second homes, what is fun at the beginning may become another headache to manage down the road
  6. Security risk of home empty a lot of the year


Fractional Ownership 


A) Pros


  1. Thrill of owning your own place and one a lot nicer than one might typically afford to buy outright. See # 6 above in Whole Ownership
  2. Euro diversification- shifting your $60K from a CD to bricks and mortar in France may allow your asset to appreciate as the euro is now doing.
  3. Only required to pay your share of the running costs; +/- 500 euros/year
  4. Much less expensive than purchasing whole house
  5. Don't feel obligated to use it every year since far less investment and can let friends and family use time
  6. Someone else has done the décor and handled the management details
  7. Ability to resell share but if resale is difficult, far less money tied up 

B) Cons

  1. Less flexibility when booking time. May occasionally need to travel in low season and/or forego usage that year if the month you end up with in the lottery system is not to your liking
  2. Need to pay cash as financing is not available
  3. May feel the need to spend your vacations in one place rather than hopping from one to the next
  4. Must buy into another person's taste in décor and style of management
  5. Your investment is not as liquid as a CD




A) Pros 

  1. You can go to a different place each year and are not tied down to the same place
  2. Not as much capital outlay as fractional or whole ownership
  3. Fairly flexible booking of time depending on how far ahead one books for the summer months 

B) Cons

  1. Very different experience/lifestyle than setting down roots in one place. Disadvantage of living out of a suitcase versus landing in your "own home" with your beloved cookware, outdoor barbeque, village festival.
  2. If one's plan is to spend time in France each year for a few weeks, the cost of rentals adds up. May be less expensive to pay your 500 euro annual fractional owner cost and save on cooking in, etc.
  3. Never know what your rental is really going to look like, feel like.
  4. No equity or euro diversification possible
  5. No sense of the pride of ownership



le M exterior



Life at le Muguet- four week ownership in Vers Pont du Gard


Finally, with all this talk of second homes and relaxing into the slow lifestyle in France, our Provence fractional near Uzes,

 le Muguet still has shares available with some lovely high season months still unspoken for- August and October. Interested?

Pont du Gard

le Muguet share available.

While the one share of Maison has recently been sold, you can still own a  1/8th share of Cerbere  and book time now for 2011. Email: fpshares@gmail.com

MB Ginny front door

Maison Bleue - sold



View from Cerbere terrace

View from Cerbere terrace- share available


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