When it comes to buying a home abroad, the South of France is one of the most reliably popular parts of the world. A wonderfully temperate climate, excellent cuisine and great wines all go to form an unbeatable formula that has enduring appeal. Buy in the right place and your property will steadily appreciate, meaning your holiday home is not just an enviable luxury: it’s also an excellent investment. Read our guide to the property hotspots on the French Riviera.
Ultimately fashionable, Nice is a vibrant city on the Cote d’Azur. It’s an amazing blend of Italian and French influences. Many people say the Left Bank of Nice is like Turin’s Old Centre, while the Right Bank is more resolutely French. Nice is unusual in that it has a vibrant and fashionable youth culture, of night clubs and bars, as well as a choice of more tranquil areas for the more sophisticated house-hunter.
Of the elite districts in Nice is Mount Boron. Properties here have elevated views of the sea, Villefranche Bay and the Bay of Angels. There are just enough cafes and restaurants to meet the local demand -and no more. The city centre is a ten-minute drive away – and if you live here you can afford a taxi. Or move along the coast towards the port and Cap-de-Nice is where you’ll find villas and luxury apartments and rub shoulders with the wealthiest politicians, sportsmen and showbiz stars. Cimiez is an older region, where 19th century architecture rules, with a scatter of Roman ruins, stately churches and the museums of Chagal and Mathis. If the beach is your thing The Golden Square is a few steps from the sand, with a wealth of boutiques, restaurant, shops and bars. It’s popular with tourists and the fashionable. Nice’s historic city centre is a beautiful and charming place, but always packed with tourists. Also, all the buildings are listed so if you’re planning to add a swimming pool to your property look elsewhere.
Immediately to the East of Nice, Villefranche is one of Provence’s most charming port cities, at the heart of a mountainous commune comprising more than 140 villages. Luxury properties here are perhaps the safest investments you can ever make, with an appeal attracting visitors and expatriates from all over the world.
Beaulieux sur Mer
Head from Nice towards Monaco and about half-way you’ll find Beaulieu-sur-Mer, more commonly known just as Beaulieu. You can tell a lot about an area by its neighbours: Beaulieu’s include Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer. The ultimate investment prospect in this region is without doubt a villa in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, quietly understated, often with glorious seaviews, mellow in the gentle Provencal sun.
Heading along the Riviera Coast Menton is your last stop before Italy. Once a simple fishing village, Menton was a simple fishing village until the British arrived in the 19th century. They quickly spotted the charm of the hilly, medieval old town, with its Basilique Saint-Michel, and the Chapelle de Penitents. It has some of the most highly-rated restaurants in the world, and luxury property here is perhaps one of the best investments you’ll ever make. With Monaco within easy reach, this is a smoothly fashionable part of France, cosmopolitan and sophisticated, a wonderful place to own a fully-featured villa.
If you’re looking to invest in luxury property abroad, the French Riviera is one of the best places in the world to park your cash. Values rise steadily, the sun shines year-round, the cuisine is great and everyone is happy. For a luxury property that will appreciate in value, southern France is the place to choose. Choose a good local real estate agent on the Riviera and you literally can’t go wrong.