French Riviera by Area
The French Riviera more than lives up to its reputation for glitz and glamour. This part of France has been drawing the crowds since it was first discovered by the aristocracy back in the 19th Century, and the French Riviera is now a fabulous year-round destination. The permanent sunshine and gorgeous scenery make the French Riviera a truly idyllic place to live, while the high standard of living is the cherry on top when it comes to choosing a place to buy a luxury property. From seaside resorts to hilltop villages, whether you’re looking to live by the sea or in the mountains, in the city or on the coast, you’ll love life here on the French Riviera.
St Tropez needs no introduction. The fishing village was put on the map back in the 1960s, and today it’s one of the most popular destinations in the world. St Tropez is famous for its golden sand and select beach clubs, purchase a luxury property here and spend your summers with the hippest DJs and coolest crowds on Pampelonne beach. In the heart of the village sip coffee in the Place de Lice and watch the locals play boules or head to the port for an unforgettable evening in the lively bars and restaurants around the quayside. St Tropez is the ideal place to experience the best of life on the French Riviera.
Inland, the historic towns and villages tucked away in the hills behind Cannes and Grasse are some of the prettiest in France. This area is charming and virtually unspoilt, discover Medieval walled villages with narrow winding streets and shady town squares where time has stood still. If you’re looking for a taste of traditional Provençal life this is the perfect area, the hills of the French Riviera are truly lovely with their lavender fields and olive groves. Celebrate traditional festivals dating back centuries, eat at tiny bistros or spend hours browsing the stalls at the local market, life in the French Riviera hinterland is as laid-back as it is satisfying.
Down on the coast, the city of Cannes is famous for its Film Festival, but Cannes has so much more going on throughout the year. The lovely beaches along the Croisette are some of the prettiest on the French Riviera, with glamorous private beach clubs and soft golden sand. The port and old town of Le Suquet are charming with cobbled streets and dozens of little bistros, while the modern city centre is a shopping paradise. With year-round events and a glittering social life, Cannes is definitely one of the most fabulous beach resorts in the world.
Just up the road from Cannes, you’ll find Antibes and the Cap d’Antibes. With a picture-perfect old town, lively port and beautiful beaches, Antibes is the perfect place to purchase a luxury property on the French Riviera. You’ll love the wide selection of restaurants and bars, and the exciting calendar of cultural and sporting events will more than keep you entertained while you’re in town. The Cap d’Antibes has some of the best views of the mountains and Mediterranean on the coast, and there’s no better place to enjoy that golden French Riviera light than in the little town of Antibes.
St Jean Cap Ferrat
Further down the French Riviera lies St Jean Cap Ferrat, a tiny peninsula which is home to some of the most spectacular real estate in the South of France. Quiet and select, St Jean Cap Ferrat is a little haven, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. The small town has lots of places to eat and drink, while the unspoilt coastline and sheltered beaches have some incredible views of the Mediterranean. You’ll love the relaxed village vibe that comes from living on the prettiest peninsula on the French Riviera.
Sitting pretty between Southern France and Italy, the Principality of Monaco is 2 km² of pure glamour. With its edgy bars and hip restaurant scene, the city centre is vibrant and modern, while the beach clubs along the Larvotto coast are chic and stylish. The world famous Belle Epoque casino in the centre of Monte Carlo is surrounded by luxury boutiques, while superyachts for charter in Monaco line the 2 ports down by the seafront. Life in Monaco is extravagant and exciting, with so much going on throughout the year you’ll love living in this fabulous principality.
Living on the French Riviera
Buying luxury real estate on the French Riviera and moving here means living your very best life. Boasting endless sunshine, stunning scenery, charming villages and vibrant cities, the French Riviera lifestyle is absolutely fabulous. From art galleries to beaches, shopping to skiing, this part of the world has something for everyone.
Foodies will love the incredible selection of places to eat all over the coast. France is famous for its gastronomy, and the French Riviera has some of the finest restaurants in the country, if not the world. Have a casual lunch in a local bistro in Antibes or go all out with a gourmet dinner in a Michelin-starred palace in Cannes, you’ll love the huge choice of cuisine on the French Riviera. From tarte Tropezienne to salade Niçoise, pissaladiere to pan bagnat, some of the tastiest French food originated in the French Riviera, and living here is the perfect opportunity to try it all - bon appetit!
The golden light of the French Riviera has been drawing artists and sculptors for years. The South of France has some fabulous art galleries and museums to explore, and many famous former residents from Matisse to Picasso have left their mark in the villages along the coast. With such an impressive artistic legacy, it’s not surprising that the French Riviera hosts so many exciting arts and music events during the year. You’ll be able to enjoy jazz concerts under the stars, watch classic films at an open-air beach cinema, or meet big-name authors at a literary festival and that’s just a taste of some of the events on offer during the year. One of the best things about living here, there’s always something exciting to do and see in the French Riviera.
Of course, the French Riviera is also known for its world-class sporting events. Monaco’s Formula 1 Grand Prix is the most glamorous car race in the world while the regattas held in St Tropez and Cannes each year are highlights of the international sailing calendar. From skiing to running, athletics to football, the South of France hosts some of the most exciting sports competitions on the planet. And all that top-level sport definitely encourages a healthy lifestyle. With such close proximity to the mountains and the ocean, staying in shape is easy all year round on the French Riviera. Make the most of all the sunshine and get down to the beach to enjoy a wide range of watersports or head up to the mountains to ski and snowboard under beautiful blue skies, outdoor sports have never been so much fun!
Shopping fans will love the designer names and high-end boutiques of the French Riviera. Shop for stylish clothes and dazzling jewellery, not forgetting gorgeous gifts and sweet treats. Cannes and Monaco have a huge selection of luxury stores with the very latest fashions, and the streets of Antibes and St Jean Cap Ferrat are dotted with charming boutiques selling unique items for the home. The French Riviera is also famous for its daily markets held all over the coast. Forget the supermarket and head to the local market instead for extra fresh produce and Provençal delicacies. From local olive oil to freshly baked bread, you can’t beat a a French Riviera market for the ultimate outdoor shopping experience.
When it comes to nightlife, the French Riviera is always ahead of the game. Whether you’re looking for dazzling parties, elite clubs or legendary concerts, you can be sure of a fantastic night when you go out in the South of France. You’ll love the beach bars in St Tropez, the clubs in Cannes and the casinos and cocktail bars in Monaco, now you live in the French Riviera it’s time to get dressed up and have the best night of your life.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL?
We have a number of ultra exclusive, off-market French Riviera properties for sale that you won't find on any website or portal. These properties are for sale to the right buyer but are highly confidential and private hence the reason they have not been published on our website. Get in touch with our sales team and let us know your criteria, then we'll get back in touch and let you know if we have any off market properties which match your specifications. If we don't have anything which matches your needs right now, we will be sure to keep your details and get back in touch as soon as the right property emerges from our extensive international contacts.
WHY DO YOU NEED A NOTARY?
If you’re considering buying property in the French Riviera, a good notary is vital. When it comes to French real estate, the notary plays an important role all the way through the sale/purchase process. As a public official, the notary will hold the title of Maitre in the French legal system. They will be able to advise you about not only property law but also family and succession law for later down the line. Below is a quick breakdown of their role during the purchase process.
The notary will be able to inform you about the area where your future home is located. And they’ll also be able advise you if there are any major building works planned by the commune. Thanks to them, you won’t find yourself living near a brand new motorway or railway line a couple of years after you move in!
During the purchase
The notary will confirm that the current owner has the right to sell the property so as to avoid any last minute problems. They will also check that there is no existing mortgage on the property and if they find any outstanding contracts, they will ensure they are repaid once the sale is complete. They will then prepare the all-important final sale deed for your new French home.
On completion day
On the day you officially purchase your French Riviera property, the notary will read the entire title deed to both you and the seller. If everyone’s happy they will then hand you the keys to your new home before transferring the money to the seller.
After the purchase
The notary will have your brand new title deed registered at the Land Registry. They’ll then keep the original deed and send you a copy for your records. This usually takes a couple of months to be finalised.
ENGLISH SPEAKING NOTARIES
5 Place de Gaulle, BP 659, 06632 Antibes
Tel: 04 92 90 62 62
Fax: 04 93 34 35 40
Cabinet Brahin Avocats- Real Estate & Construction Law
1 Rue Louis Gassin- 06000 Nice
Tel: +33 04 93 83 08 76
Fax: +33 04 93 18 14 37
Marie Ozenda Avocat- Real Estate & Construction Law
9 Avenue Mirabeau- 06600 Antibes
Tel: 09 81 61 89 40
Fax : 09 81 61 07 40
Fairfield Patrimoine & Entreprise- Real Estate & Construction Law
150 avenue du Golf- 06250 Mougins
Tel : +33 614 757 466
5 Quai Rauba Capeu- 06300 Nice
Tel : +33 (0)4 93 84 15 03
Fax : +33 (0)4 93 27 28 03
Arpège Law Firm-Real Estate & Construction Law
37 rue d'Antibes- 06400 Cannes
Tel: + 33 (0)4 93 99 64 41
Choosing French Rivera Property
Now you’ve decided to invest in real estate on the French Riviera, it’s time for the real fun to start. You’ll love browsing our selection of beautiful villas and apartments located along the coast from Monaco to St Tropez. But whether you’re looking for a second home or a long-term rental investment, there are a few key factors to take into consideration when choosing your French Riviera property:
- Views: When it comes to panoramic views and stunning scenery, the French Riviera is right up there with the best of them. To find the perfect backdrop for your new property, simply browse our selection of luxury villas and apartments overlooking the mountains and the Mediterranean.
- Outdoor space: Thanks to the mild climate and 300+ days of sunshine per year, the French Riviera is the ideal spot to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. We have a large choice of properties with outside space ranging from sunny terraces to landscaped gardens, so you’re sure to find something to catch your eye.
- Guest accommodation: Once you find your perfect property on the French Riviera, you might also find there’s a sharp increase in the number of family and friends who want to visit. To host visitors in comfort and style, why not consider purchasing one of our many properties with a guestroom or independent guesthouse in the grounds.
- Swimming pool: And if you’re planning on entertaining a lot during the summer months, you may also want to think about selecting a property with a private pool. Not only will it keep the family entertained throughout the summer, it will also provide the perfect setting for glamorous garden parties once the sun goes down, a real win-win situation.
- Storage: There is no such thing as too much storage especially when you live on the French Riviera. An extra space to tuck away all your winter ski equipment or the pool inflatables at the end of the season, one of our many properties with an additional storage room or cellar is well worth considering.
- Parking: Parking on the French Riviera might be difficult during the summer season, but we’ve found the best way to beat the crowds. Simply opt for one of our luxury properties sold with a private garage or parking space and you’ll never need to worry about where to leave your car again.
French Riviera Properties By Type
French Riviera Properties By Area
French Riviera Lifestyle
Investing in real estate can sometimes be a bit of a gamble, but not here on the French Riviera. Property in the South of France is highly sought after and more than holds its value when it comes to resale or rental. Thanks to the beautiful surroundings, glorious weather and incredibly high standard of living, investing in property on the French Riviera is always a good bet:
- The climate: Sitting in the sunshine under azure blue skies, that’s life on the French Riviera all year round. You’ll love the Mediterranean climate.
- The location: The South of France is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Travel to the French Riviera by plane, train or yacht, getting here couldn’t be easier.
- The region: The French Riviera is where the mountains meet the Mediterranean, be prepared for beautiful scenery, excellent skiing and perfect beaches when you move here. Get away for the weekend in nearby Italy or Corsica or venture further afield in Europe, the French Riviera is perfectly placed for travelling.
- The events: World-class sporting events, dazzling entertainment and glamorous parties, the French Riviera has it all.
- The things to do: The French Riviera is famous for its fabulous restaurants, incredible shopping, thrilling sports opportunities and much much more besides.
- The beaches: You’ll love the golden sand along the beaches of Cannes, the chic private beaches in St Tropez and the hidden coves around Antibes, the French Riviera is a beach-lover’s paradise!
- The nightlife: From hip bars to vibrant clubs and casinos, the French Riviera has some of the best nightlife in the world. Going out is the new staying in when you live in the South of France.
- The real estate opportunities: Investing in luxury property on the French Riviera is always a good idea with the high property resale and rental value. This is one area which never goes out of style
The Purchase Process in France
Buying a luxury real estate on the French Riviera can seem confusing at first but it’s actually a very straight-forward procedure.
The purchase process is set up to protect both buyer and seller and usually only takes a couple of months from start to finish. From putting in an offer to collecting the keys to your new home we’ll be with you every step of the way, so the only thing that you’ll need to do is find your perfect property from our fantastic selection.
To help you understand how it works, we've visualised the purchase process in France on the following infographic.
Arrange a Viewing
Now you’ve seen our selection of luxury real estate, all that’s left for you to do is to pick your favourite and get in touch with us. Our team of luxury real estate agents will be delighted to give you some more information about the area and arrange a viewing of your chosen property. Your new life on the French Riviera is just a phone call away.
PROPERTY TAX IN FRANCE
Land Tax/Taxe foncière
The French taxe foncière is an annual property ownership tax which is payable in October every year. It is payable by the individual who owns the property on the 1st January of the same year and is applicable whether you live in your property or rent it out. The taxe foncière is used to fund local services within the commune and department and usually includes the taxe d'enlèvement des ordures ménagères (TEOM) for waste collection services.
The amount is calculated based on the size, condition and location of the property and varies widely in different areas. Unsurprisingly city centre locations generally pay more taxe foncière than properties in rural areas.
The taxe foncière can be paid yearly or monthly but penalties will be added for any late payment. Additionally certain properties such as new builds, additions to existing buildings and rural conversions are exempt from the taxe foncière for 2 years. Your notaire is the person to ask about whether this exemption applies to your property.
If you decide to sell your French Riviera property, it’s also worth noting that the new owner is legally obliged to pay you the balance of the year’s taxe foncière on a pro-rata basis.
Local tax/Taxe d'habitation
The taxe d’habitation is an annual residency tax which is imposed on the individual who is resident in the property on the 1st January. Taxe d’habitation only applies to what the French consider to be habitable buildings but it does apply to secondary residences as long as the property is furnished and has basic utilities. So even if you’re not physically in your French Riviera holiday home on the 1st January, you will probably still be liable to pay the taxe d’habitation. On the other hand, if you rent out your property on a long-term basis, your tenant will pay the taxe d’habitation instead.
The taxe d’habitation is calculated using a notoriously complex formula but it is generally based on the condition, size and location of the property and in certain cases the owner’s income. If you own a television set in France, the annual television licence fee (or redevance audiovisuelle) will also be included with your taxe d’habitation.
Capital gains tax/Impôt sur les plus values
Should you decide to sell your secondary residence, you will be liable for capital gains tax or impôt sur les plus values. This tax is only applicable when selling a secondary residence and is therefore not applied if you sell your principal residence.
It’s calculated using another fiendishly difficult formula but basically applies to the difference between the original purchase price and sale price. It also includes the cost of the transaction plus the cost of any work and/or improvements carried out on your property by a professional (this does not include general maintenance and repairs).
We recommend keeping all invoices and receipts for work carried out on your property in case the capital gains tax applies to your sale further down the line. We also highly recommend contacting your notaire for more information about how to calculate any capital gains which may be taxed if you decide to sell.
Wealth tax/Impôt de solidarité sur la fortune
The French wealth tax or ISF as it’s usually known, only applies to a small percentage of individuals. It is determined on the 1st January each year and is based on the total net assets of residents and non-residents alike as of a certain sum. The ISF is then calculated in tax bands according to the total net assets of your household.
If you become resident in France, you will only be taxed on your French assets for the first 5 years of residency. Any assets located outside of France will be exempt from the ISF for 5 years. After you have been resident in France for 5 years, if your global assets exceed 1,300,000€ they will also be liable for taxation. Check out the current rate of wealth tax in France on the French Government’s Tax office website.
PROPERTY CHARGES IN FRANCE
Maintenance Charges/ Charges de copropriété
If you decide to purchase an apartment or villa set in a private complex or park, you’ll receive monthly or quarterly maintenance and service charges. Your notaire will be able to give you a complete breakdown of any charges related to your property before the sale is finalised. These maintenance charges are usually based on the amenities available in your complex. Properties with swimming pools, tennis courts, concierges or other facilities will typically have higher charges but these fees can also include major non-routine expenses for the complex.
PROPERTY LAWS IN FRANCE
French Succession Laws/ Droit de succession
French succession laws are very specific and they apply to all owners of property in France, both residents and non-residents alike. In August 2015 new European regulations were passed to allow EU citizens to choose whether to apply succession laws of their place of residence or their place of birth. But this choice must be made before death to apply to your estate, otherwise French succession laws will apply.
Under French inheritance law, children are protected heirs and are automatically entitled to your estate. However spouses/partners have no such protection and can be disinherited or overlooked when it comes to succession. However, despite the fact that children inherit your property, you can state that your partner has what is called usufruit, which means that they have the right to reside in your property until their death and your children cannot deny them that right. If you have children, a portion of your estate known as ‘la réserve’ will be automatically accorded to them upon your death. The rest of your estate known as the ‘quotité disponible’ can then be disposed of amongst your family.
To ensure your estate is dealt with according to your wishes, we recommend contacting your notaire who will be able to give you advice about the best way to deal with inheritances. You’ll need to do this before signing the deed of sale though as it is almost impossible to make any changes once this has been officially registered.
Non-trading real estate company/ SCI - Société Civile Immobilière
An SCI is a specialised French company for property ownership and management. It enables property purchases by multiple individuals, facilitates ownership and transfer of property and creates certain tax advantages. An SCI can own more than one property including principal and secondary residences and can also own property which is let unfurnished to tenants. But by definition an SCI is a non-trading company so can’t be used to manage holiday rental accommodation for example.
If you plan to set up an SCI to purchase your French Riviera property, we recommend contacting your lawyer first. The registered address of the SCI must be in France and an SCI affords no limited liability. Therefore the shareholders of the company will be liable for any debts the SCI incurs in proportion to the number of shares they own. An SCI also has to produce detailed company accounts every year which must be filed with the French authorities. For an easy way to deal with all the relevant paperwork, our top tip is to appoint a French accountant. Hand everything over to them to deal with and then relax and enjoy the good life in the South of France.
PROPERTY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS
For more information or details about French real estate transactions, the associations which represent Estate Agents in France are listed below:
FNAIM (Fédération Nationale des Agents Immobiliers) UNIS (Union des Syndicats de l'Immobilier) SNPI (Syndicat National des Professionnels Immobiliers) CNAB (Confédération Nationale des Administrateurs de Biens).