Find answers to common questions related to buying or selling property in South France and the French Riviera

Browse through these frequently answered questions, or contact Michael Skovby on +33 64 39 14 317. He is happy to help with any questions you may have.

Which Cote d’Azur cities have the largest concentration of foreigners?

Officially, the French Riviera is home to 163 nationalities with 83,962 foreign residents, although estimates of the number of non-French nationals living in the area are often much higher.

We have not been able to find reliable information about which South France cities have the highest concentration of foreigners.

So instead, here is a bit of information on how Cote d’Azur has developed:

The South France coastline was one of the first modern resort areas. It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales. In the summer, it also played home to many members of the Rothschild family.

In the first half of the 20th century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans. After World War II, it became a popular tourist destination and convention site. Many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region.

What is the cost of living in South France compared to elsewhere

The cost of living in South France is relative to where you live and what type of lifestyle you desire. The prices also vary depending on where in South France you choose to live. For example, Monaco is more expensive than Nice as is Cannes. And, unsurprisingly, Paris is also more expensive than Nice.

Here are some examples comparing Nice with a few cities:

Cost of living in Nice vs. Manchester, United Kingdom
– consumer prices are 1,05% higher in Nice
– restaurant prices are 13% lower in Nice
– groceries are 20% more expensive in Nice
See more here

Cost of living in Nice vs. Frankfurt, Germany
– consumer prices are 2,26% lower in Nice
– restaurant prices are 7,40% higher in Nice
– groceries are 13,29% more expensive in Nice
See more comparison data here

I have a boat – what do I need to know?

If you have a boat or a yacht, the French Riviera is a paradise.

There are so many places to visit by boat. There are so many huge harbors. But moorings can be quite expensive.

If you are looking for more information about yachting or boating at the French Riviera, get in touch with us directly. Use this form

I play golf – what are the best golf courses in South France?

There are many very good golf courses on the French Riviera. Obviously, the climate allows for golf all year around. Just one of the many advantages of living in South France.

One of the highest rated golf courses in South France is Royal Mougins Golf Club. You can find a list of Cote d’Azur golf courses with reviews here.

Is South France safe for dogs and cats?

We would say yes. Most French people are dog lovers. But of course, you have to take care in the traffic. And don´t forget that French people drive fast…..

Is South France sunny all year around?

In South of France, you can count on more or less 300 sunny days a year. It rains now and then, but that is good, because that´s why we have such a beautiful green nature.

The number of sun hours in a day ranges from 5 in November thru January up to 10-11 hours per day during the summer months of June, July, and August.

The temperatures averages from 9 degrees centigrade in January to an average of 24 degrees in the hottest months

I have kids – what about multilingual and international schools in Cote d’Azur?

At the French Riviera you will find many international schools:

  • International School of Nice – www.isn-nice.com
  • Ebica International School in Valbonne – http://www.ebicaschool.com/en/welcome/
  • International School of Monaco – https://www.ismonaco.org/
  • Mougins School – http://mougins-school.com/
  • ABS School in Nice – http://www.abc-school-international.com/
  • Ecole International Bilingue in Cagnes sur Mer – https://www.eibcagnes.fr/
  • College International de Cannes – http://www.french-in-cannes.com/

We hope you will find the right one for your kids, but many say that Mougins School is very good and International School of Monaco as well.

Is homeowner insurance in France expensive (required/advisable)

From our point of view, homeowner insurance is not more expensive in France than many other countries.

The price depends of course of the type of property (villa or apartment), the size, protection and insurance coverage, area etc.

Our best advice is to get a quote from 3-4 different insurance companies or use an insurance broker.

How long does it take from signing the purchase document until I have access to the property?

When you purchase a property you will have to sign a “Compromis de vente” at the Notary´s office.

We need a copy of your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate and information about your assets and of course your primary address and occupation. Former names must be given as well.

If you need a loan to finance the purchase it is important for this to be mentioned in the purchase agreement and to add a clause to the contract.

If you are a private buyer, you will have the right to 10 days to cancel your purchase without any costs. The 10 days are calculated from the day you receive the purchase agreement (signed by buyer and seller and which includes a written confirmation of your right to cancel)

The purchase agreement and the cancellation information have to be sent to you by registered mail or it can be given you in person at the Notary´s office.

By law, the buyer gets 30 days to get the financing, and in this period the buyer can renege on the purchase without any costs.

When signing, the buyer must pay a deposit of typically 5 to 7 % of the purchase price.

In France, the municipality has a pre-emptive right to buy the property (at the same price), which of course may delay the process. They have up to 2 months to answer.

Once the municipality have refused to buy the property, the Notary can prepare the “Acte de vente”.

From you sign the “Compromis de vente” it takes typically 3-4 month to take over the property.

What is the step-by-step process of buying a property in France?

It is not possible to answer that question in a few words. Therefore Michael Skovby of French Estate Group has written a book “The ultimate guide to purchasing and selling real estate, tax- and wealth matters in France”.

You can have it for free if you call us at +33 643 91 43 17 or +33 640 61 65 00.

Is it easy to short- or long term rent (let) my second home in South France?

Short term rental of your property is quite easy. Many owners at the French Riviera rent out on a short-term basis because of short-term rental yielding a higher rental income per annum.

Long term rental is also possible but more difficult. A property owner often generates the same income by renting out for just a few months as opposed to a full year.

I don’t speak French. Is that a problem?

Of course, it is best to speak French. But if you do not speak French – but English – it’s not a problem in general.

Most people at the French Riviera speak English.

But it is very important to be aware that you have to know a little bit of the French culture. French people are extremely polite. And they expect that other people are the same.

So if you meet a French person, you want to speak with in English, please don´t start by saying “do you speak English”. It is very important that you ask in French! So learn to say “Excusez-moi, parlez vous anglais? (Eskusemoa, parle vu angle).

Also be aware that if you enter a shop, restaurant, bus, train, lift etc, ALWAYS SAY “bonjour, monsieur” or “bonjour, madame”. (bonshure).

What is the property tax in France?

There are two local taxes, called the taxe d’habitation and the tax foncière. The rates of tax vary across the country, due to the varying rates of tax imposed by the regional and local governments.

Get in touch with French Estate Group and let us guide you through the maze of local taxes in France

Is a property purchase in South France considered a good investment?

The French Riviera, with its breathtakingly beautiful coastline, inspiring landscape and glamorous resorts, is one of the most popular second home locations in the world.

It, therefore, is no surprise that the French Riviera continues to attract buyers. Particularly in the luxury property segment – which we define as properties valued at € 1,5 million upwards.

But as you know, property investment appreciation depends on a multitude of factors many of which we as real estate agents have no control over. So the answer is going to be – it depends.

Which is the most popular area to buy a luxury home in France?

The area known as the French Riviera is considered to be one of the most popular areas to purchase a luxury home. This area is also referred to as Côte d’Azur.

The French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from Cassis or Toulon or Saint-Tropez on the west to France–Italy border in the east, where the Italian Riviera joins.

The coast is entirely within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region of France. The principality of Monaco is a semi-enclave within the region, surrounded on three sides by France and fronting the Mediterranean.

French Estate Group offers luxury homes for sale in the whole region of Côte d’Azur as well as the area commonly referred to as the Italian Riviera.