You will find a wealth of property across France, meeting different criteria depending on the area's history and often it's climate. Traditionally Brits love buying homes that require a little 'TLC', and it's not hard to find these across the country. The following lists the main types of property; some will be find in any location, whilst some are particular to certain areas.
The name bastide is used both for a certain type of village and for property. Bastide villages go back to the 13th and 14th centuries were an early form of town planning often with the market place as the central square and small roads radiating out from it. Many bastides are in the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees regions but when it comes to property, a bastide is a style of stone built property, sometimes with timber in between (colombages) which can be found in both town and countryside.
This is a style of house peculiar to the Charente region. It is similar to the bastide style of property generally with square shaped rooms.
A domaine is a large plot of land or property, probably loosely translated as an estate in English. Often the land will be there for a specific reason such as for a vineyard or golf, hunting etc.
Fermette means small farm usually in the countryside or on the outskirts of a village. Often stone built, a fermette will consist of a farmhouse and outbuildings with some land.
A longere is again a rural property, similar to a large barn found in various regions of France. Normally rectangular in shape, it is usually built with materials from the region and often just one storey with perhaps an attic.
A mas is a largish property, again in the countryside and mostly in the southern areas of France, particularly Provence.
Maison a colombages
Often found in bastide villages, this is a type of house built of wood and stone, roughly similar to English Tudor houses. My previous house in France was a maison a colombages!
Maison de maître
Meaning “Master’s house”, a maison de maître is found in a town or village. They usually have practical, square layouts with an imposing front door, double fronted, high ceilings, a grand staircase and at least 2 rooms at either side.
A pavillon is a more modern detached house with a cellar and garage on the ground floor. Please note: bungalows are also called pavillons and are more often found in the north of France.
Again, a modern property, built in the last 50 years or so with varying designs from one storey houses to more extensive properties. They are normally built to resemble the style of older properties of the region. For example, there are several villas in the Languedoc Roussillon of this type with the typical “languedocienne” roof of curved slates in earthy colours.
So you see the choice is yours. You have a huge variety of types of houses to choose from in France, almost always with a lot more space for your money!
Questions to ask yourself
When thinking about what kind of property to buy, we would recommend first making some notes about what you need in a property. We have put together a number of questions for you to ask yourself to help you make this decision…
- What sort/type or property – modern apartment, villa, village or town house, character home or farmhouse with outbuildings?
- How big does it need to be? How many bedrooms?
- An old house or something new? If old, are you happy to manage a serious renovation? Perhaps a redecoration is more in line with your plans?
- Do you need a terrace? Off-road parking? A garden? A swimming pool? Maybe you are looking for some land with fruit trees? Are you looking to open a gîte or a B&B business?
- What type of view (if any?) do you require from the property?
- What else is needed to fulfil your property requirements?
- Will it be suitable for lettings, if you intend to do rentals?