A Brief Overview of St Tropez
What’s in a name? St Tropez used to just be the name of a small Provençal seaside town. Today it is much more. The town’s appellation has been adopted as the name of summer sandals, a delicious cream-filled pastry, a particular type of roof top terrace, and a self-tanning product line. Much more than that though, it’s a name that conjures up the place to see and be seen.
From humble beginnings as a military stronghold and fishing village, the iconic St Tropez has become a bucket list destination. It was ‘discovered’ after the Second World War by French New Wave cinema artists, particularly after ‘And God Created Woman’ was filmed here, starring the legendary Brigitte Bardot.
St Tropez is in the Var region of the French Riviera, 100kms West of Nice. Though the Vieux Port is now lined with staggeringly luxurious yachts rather than the fishing boats of yore, the village has retained much of its old-world charm. Cobbled streets, colourful facades, and ongoing competitions of ‘petanques’ in the ‘Place des Lices’ are as much part of the village as the glitz and glamour of nightclubs, top designer shopping opportunities, and gourmet dining at fine Michelin star restaurants.
One of the biggest draws has to be the Bay of Pampelonne, just south-east of the town. The five kms of shoreline provides forty or so beaches, each with its own vibe. The choice of where to don your swimmers and plunge into the azure depths of the Mediterranean is huge.
Directly inland from the Bay of Pampelonne, six kms from St Tropez, perches the charming medieval village of Ramatuelle. Winding lanes are lined with the gorgeous houses of the chic and wealthy. Only vineyards producing famous Cote de Provence wines lie between it and the beaches. Ramatuelle also provides a rich cultural programme for residents and visitors. All year round there are jazz, classical music, and theatre festivals.
Living in St Tropez
Given its status as a top location, the village of St Tropez is transformed from a relatively sleepy place to a hive of activity in the summer and early autumn months. When the yachts drop anchor and the visitors start to arrive, it creates a buzz, unique only to St Tropez. The quayside bars and restaurants hum, and it seems as though summer will never end. St Tropez is equally charming the rest of the year. Quieter yes, but no less delightful, as all the Tropeziens (the locals) will tell you.
Living in St Tropez year round means you get the advantages of what it has to offer in all seasons. Party town in high season. Peaceful at other times. The weather is good, the views are fantastic, and the beaches become a place for long leisurely walks or a place to practise yoga in paradise. Life slows down and you can take the time to chat when buying your bread in the boulangerie, or choosing a rascasse from the daily fish market for the bouillabaisse you plan for dinner.
There’s a rich cultural life in St Tropez itself, as well as in Ramatuelle and other neighbouring villages. You’ll have all the time in the world to enjoy any water sport you fancy, as well as yachting. If golf is your thing, the Golf Club of St Tropez is an address to aspire to. There is also a stunning 40 hectare golf course, Golf de Beauvallon, 10 kms away in Grimaud. For private helicopter and small aircraft pilots the Aerodrome of La Mole is 11 kms away.
All this, and a whole lot more in the villages and the countryside of La Massif des Maures, can be found a hop and a skip away from your own home in St Tropez.
Highlights of the Social Calendar
Almost every month there’s something going on in and around St Tropez. Here’s just a flavour:
- The Sea Horse Cup Regatta ~ March
- Harley Davidson EuroFest ~ May
- Les Bravades Festival ~ May
- Les Nuits du Château de la Moutte ~ August
- Porsche Paradise ~ September
- The Rallye des Princesses d’Automne (ladies’ car race) ~ September
- Voiles de Saint Tropez ~ October
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL?
We have a number of ultra exclusive, off-market 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
Properties for Sale in St Tropez
Whatever you’re seeking, it’s likely your luxury home in St Tropez or Ramatuelle can be found in our portfolio of luxury properties.
If you’re completely inspired to live like a local, and dream of taking on a renovation project, this rare waterfront town house is yours. It’s extremely rare that such a property arrives on the market. It’s already a lovely property but needs work to be transformed into a family home since it’s presently set up as apartments for holiday rental. Set over four levels, every room looks out over the Med. It has masses of charm, original features like beams, mouldings, and tomettes (the Provencal hexagonal terracotta floor tile). There are four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a balcony on the third floor, and rooftop terrace on the top floor. Delightful.
If settling in immediately is more your style, a sophisticated brand new luxury villa in Ramatuelle might be your base. While relaxing in your infinity pool or sipping a glass of chilled rose by the poolside, you can admire the sea views beyond. The 500 square metre villa has eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms and sits in a well-manicured lawn. The contemporary architecture and interior design is the perfect backdrop to entertaining friends, family and business colleagues. The villa overlooks the Gulf of St Tropez and Pampelonne and is just a short drive away from St Tropez itself and the beaches.
If traditional Provençal architecture is more your cup of tea, then this other splendid villa in Ramatuelle is on offer. It sits in one hectare of land, has seven bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a separate one-bedroomed caretaker’s property. There is also a gorgeous infinity pool and covered outdoor dining areas. The property is part of a prestigious residential secured area, minutes’ walk from the beaches, bars and restaurants of Pampelonne.
We’re constantly adding new properties for sale in St Tropez to our portfolio. Bookmark this page and check back for future updates. If you’re looking for something very particular, get in touch, and one of our St Tropez Real Estate Agents will find your dream home.
Investing in St Tropez Real Estate
Whether to live in or rent out, buying property in the area of St Tropez is a definite investment. The mix of insouciance and glamour makes it a place like no other. Here are some of the reasons investing in luxury real estate here is a winner:
- St Tropez has come top of the destination list for people seeking the good life for over seven decades.
- Land and property retain and increase their value.
- Peaceful village life, cosmopolitan living, yachting, sports - everything you like is here.
- Cannes and Nice are both within easy driving distance, though for designer shopping you don’t have to go to either. It’s all on the doorstep.
- Ditto if you relish fine dining, music and theatre.
- The ski resorts of the southern Alps are only three or four hours’ drive away.
Arrange a Viewing
If you’d like to find out more about living in St Tropez or Ramatuelle, or you’d like to know more about any of our luxury real estate for sale, feel free to get in touch with us.
We’d be more than happy to introduce you to paradise!
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).