Mar 212017

Buyer beware! Buying a home can be fraught, and the problem is exacerbated when it is an international property! 1st for French Property offer the complete personal service to make the process easy. On the site you will find a legal guide to buying a property in France, the terms used by Estate agents (Immobilier/Notaires) see Guide to French Property Terms, and below is an introduction to the various French property types found across the country.

French Architectural Styles

french style

courtesy of

Ahh! French architecture is one of the most outstanding in the world, some say. There are so many French property types attractive to international buyers seeking holiday homes, investments or a residential home. So many architectural styles to choose from: Gallo-Roman, Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism. The French have a way with design that others just don’t seem to have. They incorporate old world style along with modern architecture to create elegant homes.

Property Types in France

Each region can offer different property types and styles. The influences are many, and the various environments dictate a choice of styles – for example, you find ski chalets in the Alps and Pyrenees regions whereas in the south many properties will have terracotta tiles on the roofs. In the Loire Valley you find many splendid chateau (although chateaux are available across the country).


The chateau is one of the most unique properties although your budget may rule out this desired type of residence! The cheaper chateau regrettably can need huge renovation budgets! A chateau is defined as a large country house. Although the term is associated with “castles”.


Mas (Provencal Farmhouse)

Mas in Provence

Found typically in the Provence and Midi regions of France, the Mas is known to be a traditional farmhouse. These are very popular among the French. The Mas is an economical type of farm home often with land to grow fruits and vegetables.


A bastide is a local term in Provence for a manor house – typically larger and more elegant than a Mas. In last two centuries, many bastides were used as summer houses by wealthy citizens of southern France. Similar style of property is found in the Charente – here it is called a “Charentaise” property,


A Gite is most commonly a holiday rental property. Frequently a renovated traditional country cottage, barn conversion or other types of farm buildings – typically found in a village or in the countryside.  Very popular with buyers looking for an alternative life-style. This is a very competitive market place! Gite properties are available across all French regions.


The term longere in English means long house or sometimes farmhouse. These “long” homes are found in countryside locations of France. Longeres are particularly common from Brittany down to Poitou Charentes (west coast of France).  They are unique looking and appeal to buyers searching for something completely different.


Now on the opposite side of the spectrum to longere, the fermette is a small farmhouse. Such small farm homes are most common in remote rural locations. They offer quaint appeal and old style architecture.


A Domaine is a group of buildings with one owner together with a large plot of land (normally with a specific use, e.g. wine-growing, hunting, golf etc.). One can find this type of dwelling in the region of Burgundy where the famous wineries are located.


colombage property in NormandyNow one type of dwelling that is very different from others in France is the colombage. This type of dwelling is defined as one being half-timbered with stucco between the timbers. This style is prevalent in Upper and Lower Normandy although there are examples across France and other parts of Europe too.


Discovering France and its Property

Something often said about France: It offers both old world design along with beauty and style. If you fall in love with an area, you will also discover a wide range of property styles and types . If there is one place that has style, art, and unique property types it’s France. Read our Guide about buying a home in France.

Renovation Properties for Sale

Brits love rural property in France and, unlike most French citizens, enjoy finding a property ripe for renovation. Of course, the property can be cheap but the costs involved in renovating the property to a good standard can be more than expected! The challenge is often the motivation factor – the results can be spectacular and add huge value. There are many renovation projects for sale at bargain prices as the French are not looking to invest in this market. Make sure all renovations have guarantees provided by registered artisans in France.

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