British overseas property investors often dream of a French country retreat, but the cost can vary greatly depending on where you look.
A survey by French newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche and French property website Seloger has revealed where French country houses can cost the most, and the least.
France has more second homes than any other European country, with 3.3 million second homes representing 10 per cent of the country’s housing stock.
That’s four times more than Germany, and over the past five years, the buying of second homes in France has gone up 1.7 per cent.
But where in the country are people coughing up the most cash for their French rural property?
The Gard department in southern France, which is home to the city of Nimes, as well as many, many vineyards – something which is particularly appealing to foreigners – and the south eastern department of Vaucluse, were among the top three most expensive departments for French properties.
Average-sized properties in Vaucluse, just 2.5 hours from Paris by TGV, went for an average of €435,649 while in the Gard they went for €358,013.
Meanwhile, luxury properties in Vaucluse went for a whopping €866,576 and in Gard they went for €804,868.
Taking the last podium place for the most expensive French country properties is Calvados, famed for its apple brandy, in Normandy, which is close to the French capital and is known for its stunning coastline.
Prices in the Calvados department for average properties were €376,706 and for luxury apartments the average price was €864,919.
The survey also revealed that the French remain particularly attached to the Atlantic coast, with a 13 per cent of homes in the north west region of Brittany, a figure well above the national average.
In the Breton department of Morbihan the price of average-sized properties was €315,230 while more luxurious dwellings were an average of €788,371.
Meanwhile further down the west coast in the department of La Vendée, demand has shot up with sales increasing by 20 per cent in just one year.
Small towns like Challans [in La Vendée] are booming: where you can find properties twenty minutes from the sea and all the services that make life easier.
However, there are still places where you can find your bargain French country property.
The French departments of Yonne and Nièvre in the less popular region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and Aveyron in the south west of France all offered up more reasonably priced properties.
In Yonne, average-sized properties were available for €170,659, in Nièvre they were €137,021, and in Aveyron they were €176,328.
It seems that British overseas property investors can still find their ‘une maison de campagne’ without breaking the bank.