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CHOOSING AN AREA IN FRANCE



NORTH WEST


Brittany



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The region of Brittany is made up of 4 departments; Finistere, Côtes-d'Armor, Ille et Vilaine and Morbihan.

With beaches and harbours, forests and hills, Brittany is your very own coastal country estate. Ideally suited to those who love the great outdoors and a huge variety of sports. Hunting, shooting and fishing in the traditional sense are all available, including clay shooting. The fishing is superb, whether on rivers, lakes or the sea, very accessible and a perfect way to unwind. The coast comes into play again and again, with fabulous links golf courses such as Sable D’Or and Pléneuf Val André. Surfers, kayaks, jet skis, yachts and fishing boats play happily around the miles of coastline. It is perfect country for horse riding too.

Brittany is of course renown for its fresh seafood, particularly the world’s finest oysters from Cancale. The abundant granite in the region has been used for solid homes for centuries. Long houses are typical of the region along with farms and manor houses. Contemporary homes which offer views of far reaching landscapes and stylish apartments in marina developments are also sure to tempt you.

Here you’ll find uncongested roads and superb accessibility. Ferry ports and harbours offer the chance to arrive by boat, including your own boat, with fabulous moorings available at St Malo, La Roche Bernard and St Quay Portrieux.  Flights into airports at Rennes, Brest and Dinard, plus several with private landing facilities, combined with 30/60 minute flight times from the UK and Channel Islands offer an easy transport option.

Finistere (29)

Finistere (29) - here the most westerly department of France is steeped in history from the Celts and early Christians, through invasions by the Romans and Spanish, the many fortifications constructed since prehistoric times, have guarded the region. This beautiful department has a coastline dotted with small fishing villages and long sandy beaches attracting a number of migratory birds every year. Sea birds enjoying the mud flat of Cap Coz include curlews and oystercatchers. The warm Gulf Stream benefits the fauna and flora and the region is renown for it’s production of onions and other vegetables throughout the year.

Côtes-d'Armor (22)

Côtes-d'Armor (22) - is sheltered from the Westerly winds of the Atlantic and its characterful fishing ports around this rocky stretch of coastline make the Côtes-d'Armor a popular region for house hunters. Enjoy cliff top walks, markets filled with local fresh produce, perhaps even a round or two of golf at any one of the local golf courses. Gastronomic delights truly reflect the diversity of the landscape from ‘Coquille Saint-Jacques’ and the famous buckwheat crêpes to the wonderful fruits, vegetables and local charcuterie. St Brieuc hosts a Jazz Festival each autumn in amongst its renaissance and medieval houses.

Ille et Vilaine (35)

Ille et Vilaine (35) - here, in a department named after the two main rivers running through its landscape, the port of Saint Malo is found, one of the main ferry ports servicing the UK. This lively town filled with cafés, shops and restaurants had to be carefully reconstructed in part after the war - today it is renown for being an international sailing centre. Dinard is filled with beautiful Belle Epoque villas greatly sought after by the Aristocracy back in the 19th century and still it has a great deal to recommend it. Charming medieval towns such as Vitré lie to the south of the department with their cobbled streets and imposing medieval châteaux overlooking the Vilaine valley.

Morbihan (56)

Morbihan (56) - the beautiful department of Morbihan has a coastline filled with small islands, including Belle-Ile, where Claude Monet spent a number of weeks back in 1886 capturing it’s rugged beauty, followed by other artists including Matisse. Along the coastline there are pleasure ports, marina and beaches, all of which enjoy over 2,500 hours of sunshine a year and favourable wind conditions on the whole for sailing. Small port towns house ramparts, fortified gates, historic buildings and old markets. Cobbled streets leading you past superb seafood restaurants, small boutiques and maritime museums.




Pays De La Loire

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Pays de La Loire is famous for its pretty villages, vineyards, historic Châteaux and 450 km of coasts and sandy beaches. This region is made up of 5 departments including Mayenne, Sarthe, Maine et Loire, Loire Atlantique and Vendée. Here you can enjoy perfect, relaxing holidays as its well known for its natural and preserved environment. Enjoy a wonderful collection of beautiful old cathedrals, monasteries and abbeys.

The wide, slow-moving river Loire is one of Europe’s greatest and is bordered by many attractive small towns. If you’re considering purchasing a beautiful Château this has to be one of the first regions in which to look! It offers excellent wines, a temperate coastline and unspoilt agricultural landscapes.

To the East is Le Mans playing host each year to the 24 hours car race. Vendée to the south is renown for its gentle climate with, it is said, sunshine levels to rival those of the Côte d’Azur.

Mayenne (53)

Mayenne (53) - this peaceful department borders onto Normand in the North and Loire valley. Strongly agricultural it is filled with many tiny villages, Romanesque churches (some even containing ancient frescoes), and slow meandering rivers. The imposing château in Mayenne, once home to the Count d’Anjou, was built to keep out the invasion of Normans and Bretons, still retaining it’s medieval keep Today. Nearby, at Joublain is a large Gallo Roman site, with it’s temple, fortress, thermal baths and theatre open to the public.

Sarthe (72)

Sarthe (72) - many a beautiful Château is found here in the Sarthe. The Italianate gardens of Château de Bazouges-sur-le-Loir dates back to the 15th century. The charming village of Asnières-sur-Vègre with its ancient houses and water mills, has a 12th century bridge and many wall paintings, found in the little church, date back to the 12th/15th century. Sample the local Rillettes, the Sablé biscuits and of course many beautiful wines, including Jasnières and Côteaux-du-Loir.

Loire Atlantique (44)

Loire Atlantique (44) - is known for its fishing ports, prehistoric remains and salt marshes, from where over 12,000 tons of sea salt are produced each year. Much of which (Sel de Guérande) is produced near the delightful small ancient walled city of Guérande, just inland from the salt marshes. The area is rich in seafood such as oysters, mussels and of course sardines, enjoyed with a glass of Muscadet, there can be nothing more pleasing! The beautiful Château at Clisson is considered one of the finest examples of Military architecture in France, designed by Francois-Frederic Lemont who also built the Villa Lemont just outside Clisson. Châteaubriant with its 12th century ramparts looking down over the town is world renown for its Châteaubriant steaks, The capital of Brittany is Nantes, the fourth largest port in France, acquiring its wealth as a trading centre. Today most of the seaport activity has moved to the port of Saint Nazaire.

Vendée (85)

Vendée (85) - from here the island of Noirmoutier is connected to the mainland at low tide by a causeway from where cockles are gathered. It’s pretty houses decked in summer flowers and ancient villas are filled with the scent of Mimosa in February. Breton marshes lie to the North of the department and are home to thousands of sea birds including sea waders, marsh-owls and redshanks. Inland, much of the Vendée is farmland, its wonderful potatoes, mogette beans and hazelnuts are known specialities. The beautiful renaissance Château de la Guignardière at Avrille, set in 86 hectares is just one of the beautiful features of this landscape, with a wealth of waterways dug by monks in the middle ages, to drain the land, it is no wonder this region is thought of as a veritable Green Venice.




Normandy

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For many years Normandy has attracted English and other multi national buyers to search for French property. There are many beautiful Châteaux and Manoirs to be found in this glorious region, relatively untouched by the march of time. The charming colombage found in many of the Maisons du Mâitre properties and Chaumières is hugely appealing. The D-Day landing beaches lie to the West along with the famous landmark of Mont-Saint-Michel and it’s ancient Abbey. Michelin star restaurants are plentiful in the region, Normandy being famed for its cheeses & charcuterie and of course Calavdos - there are some real treasures to be found here.

With four Channel ports on this northern costs of France: Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre and Dieppe it makes the area extremely accessible from the UK. The new Autoroute from Calais to Rouen has put Normandy within easy reach of the Channel Tunnel and Dover.

Seine Maritime (76)

Seine Maritime (76) - in the North East of the region. The area around Dieppe has many 15th century châteaux, museums and ancient churches giving the area great character. Le Havre sits at the mouth of the Seine and is the second port of France. Paris is just 200 kms away by autoroute. The city of Rouen with its Gallo Roman origins is also on the Seine, the old city centre is the Market Square, where Joan of Arc was put to death in 1431.

Eure (27)

Eure (27) - this region is criss-crossed by numerous rivers and canals and enjoys a wealth of fascinating monuments and charming towns and villages that nestle along the rivers. Enjoy Claude Monet’s home in Giverny from where he lived and painted up until 1925 with it’s beautiful garden, that was his inspiration is still tendered with care today along with his house. You’ll find many half timbered house in this region, beautiful churches and Gallo Roman architecture especially around Evreux. A good selection of golf courses to be found too.

Calvados (14)

Calvados (14) - with it’s picturesque villages such as Honfleur, Calvados really is a beautiful area - today these small ports are filled with yachts, fishing fleets and many excellent restaurants serving freshly gathered ‘fruits de mer’. Visit the museum and the beaches of Sword gold, Omaha, Utah and Juno used in the D-Day landings. The incredible tapestries to be found at Bayeux, detailing the victory of William the conqueror at Hastings in 1066. There are many coastal towns including Granville, Barneville and Carteret to discover.

Manche (50)

Manche (50) - The port of Cherbourg is at the tip of this peninsular, from where the sandy beaches and villages stretch South towards the World Heritage site of Mont-Saint-Michel, linked to the mainland by a causeway built in 1877. This area of France is known for it’s salt pasture sheep who graze throughout the year on the rich salty grass. Coutances, is a village that dates back to the 3rd century and was once the main town on the pensinsular and known for the rich creamy cheese it produces.

Orne (61)

Orne (61) - this predominantly is the farming region of Normandy, known for its beautiful landscapes of forests and meadows. The perfect location for animal rearing and where the national stud, Haras du Pin near Argentan is situated. The picturesque Perche National Park is the closest green belt area to Paris. Beautiful homes are found right across the Normandy region. Domfront was the birthplace of Eleanor of Aquitaine, it houses spectacular 11th century architecture and from where you’ll find stunning views out across the countryside.


EAST


The Rhone Alps

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The key words that describe the region of France known as the Rhone Alpes are; diversity, beauty, winter sports, successful commerce and holidays –all here. The diversity of the area comes from its two main geographical features - the Alps and the Rhône River. Due to its exceptional geographical position and its history, Rhône-Alpes has become a politically, economically and demographically strategic region in Europe which is back dropped by some of the most stunning scenery in the country and a warm sunny climate.

There are 4 international airports in the locality; Geneva, Grenoble, Lyon and Chambery plus a multitude of smaller ones such as Albertville and Annecy – you can even fly into Courchevel if you have a mountain rating and a brave heart. Train and motorway links are excellent. From the ferry ports in the north of France you can drive direct to the heart of the ski resorts in around 9 hours. The train links are also excellent with snow trains coming direct from London and the TGV Eurostar also arriving very close to the resorts in locations such as Bourg St Maurice, Annecy, and Moutiers. Resorts such as Chamonix have regular train links right into the centre.

The region of the Rhone Alpes is made up of the following departments; 01 - Ain (Bourg- en-Bresse), 07 - Ardèche (Privas), 26 - Drôme (Valence), 38 - Isère (Grenoble), 42 - Loire (Saint-Etienne), 69 - Rhône (Lyon), 73 - Savoie (Chambéry), 74 - Haute-Savoie (Annecy). Leggett Immobilier is concentrated in the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie where the bulk of the world famous ski resorts are located along with the largest lakes in France.

Savoie (73)

Savoie (73) - is the department of monarchy and this has been over time part of Italy and an independent state like Monaco. Because of it’s extremely interesting history the area is very diverse and where many cultures have come together it has resulted in a warm, vibrant culture which is open to change, new ideas and outside influence but retains the French traditional value of family life and good living which come together to create a perfect place to live, visit and enjoy.

This whole area has a dynamic economy with a GDP exceeding €145bn - comparable to a country such as Poland. It also makes up 10% of France’s GDP and has a higher growth rate than the French average. This is down to the wide range of industries, protecting it from economic cycles and as of 2011 it has 2.4 million employees in more than 365,000 companies and an unemployment rate 2% lower than national average. So successful is the region that it accounts for almost 1% of world trade!

So this is a great place to live, plenty of activity but also a great deal of wilderness and space. A great chance to get away from it all and relax and get back to nature. Incredible food, there are 41 Michelin starred restaurants in the area to chose from many of which are located in the ski resorts and around the lakes, as well as the fantastic local produce including world renowned cheeses such as Beaufortain, which in the summer is made in the high mountains using traditional methods. Wines that are becoming increasingly acknowledged as some of the greats such as vin du Savoie Chignin-Bergeron, which is a recent wine and one of my favourite whites. A superb location for a second home in France – chose the type of activity you want; skiing, water sports, gourmet, walking, golf, climbing, cultural, city based ....... and you will find a home or holiday to match your requirements.

Haute-Savoie (74)

Haute-Savoie (74) - is boarded by Switzerland and Italy and attracts a very international community. On one hand it has Geneva and all the commerce and activity that attracts, whilst not far from all the bustle of city life you have farming communities steeped in tradition that go about their business seemingly unaffected by the goings-on in the world. Haute-Savoie is a place of beauty and interest.

In these two departments we have the successful winter business of skiing and snow boarding and the world famous resorts of Courchevel, Chamonix, Meribel, Morzine, La Plagne – to name but a few – are all located here. Leggett have a specialist ski property team who concentrate in the resorts and the agents live and work nearby so are able to provide you with real knowledge and support during your house purchase. Two of the largest lakes in France; lac d’Annecy and Lac du Bourget, as well as spectacular lac Leman (Lake Geneva) are found in this region. Around these lakes we have specialist agents who search out the best lakeside properties as well as property in the villages and towns around them.

For tourism it is the second largest region in France for outward bound travel, after the Paris area, welcoming more visitors than Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur (the French Riviera) and accounting for 12% of all holidays in France! This is largely due to the amazing skiing facilities in the area with world class resorts and leading technology. It also offers 80 golf courses, 8 natural parks and a range of magnificent towns, art treasures, history, superb landscape, lakes and mountains. It has internationally reputed wines and unparalleled food. In fact Lyon is internationally known as the gastronomic capital of France.


CENTRAL


Auvergne

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The Auvergne is made up of 4 departments including the Puy de Dome and Cantal. Famous for its volcanoes, which have been extinct for some tens of thousands of years, the Auvergne is a large rugged plateau of ancient granite and hardened lava, renowned for its natural beauty and dramatic features, located midway between Paris and Mediterranean. The local economy relies on dairy farming and produces some wonderful famous cheeses such as Bleu d’Auvergne and Cantal as well as bottled mineral water from Vichy. Scattered with Romanesque churches, there are many medieval Châteaux to be found. In terms of leisure activities, the choice is enormous, choose from eight ski resorts, seven 18 hole golf courses and nine 9 hole golf courses, as well as mountain biking and hiking.

A few hours from Paris, just south of the centre of France, the central location of Clermont- Ferrand is one of its major assets. There is an international airport and 8 direct train connections to Paris daily. 4 hours by car to Bordeaux, 2 hours to Lyon.

Puy de Dome (63)

Puy de Dome (63) - You’ll find excellent ski resorts here, that are considerably less expensive than the traditional ski regions of France. Super Lioran is just 35 kms north of Aurillac. The Auvergne is said to be one of the least populated regions of France.

The capital city is Clermont Ferrand - one of the oldest cities in France. Enjoy the old town with its pretty streets filled with antiques, good restaurants and beautiful architecture. Clermont Ferrand is said to be one of the driest cities of France, just behind Marseille, in the quantity of rain it receives a year. The black buildings found throughout the city are created out of volcanic rock found at the foot of the Puys mountain range.

Cantal (15)

Cantal (15) - The town of Aurillac is located in the Cantal region in South West Auvergne and is rated as one of the most scenic areas of France. The old town has a kernel of ancient streets, full of lovely shops and weekly markets surrounded by Romanesque architecture. It is unfairly quoted as being the coldest town in the country, this in reality is not the case, it’s just that the local weather station is up in the mountains, some 25 km away!




Centre

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This is a region filled with some of the most beautiful and important Châteaux in the whole of France - many of which are for sale publicly or via a discreet listing facility for numerous reasons. This region, which comprises of 6 different departments: Cher, Eure et Loir, Indre, Indre et Loire, Loir et Cher et Loiret is home to Châteaux created by the Kings of France, stunning Cathedrals featuring on the UNESCO World Heritage list and has been host to no end of important historical visitors and various legends.

Being so close to Paris it is no wonder many of these beautiful Châteaux are now important commercial investments, whilst being surrounded by AOC vineyards, producing no less than 22 famous wines, including Sancerre and Chinon.

The TGV train passes through the region joining Bordeaux to Paris via Tours providing a connection to the Paris airport of Charles de Gaulle. Regular international flights leave from Poitiers airport. Summers in the Loire are generally warm, beginning early in the springtime and finishing late in autumn. It enjoys a maritime climate which can sometimes be cold, drizzly and windy in winter.

Cher (18)

Cher (18) - Cher, together with Indre, were the former province of Le Berry. It is steeped in history, culture and tradition and set in a beautiful and varied landscape which has been an inspiration to artists and writers for centuries. A vast plateau in the centre of France, the Cher is positioned half way between Paris and the Massif Central. Sancere in the north, rises on a rocky limestone outcrop to form a dramatic and picturesque townscape on the otherwise quite flat landscape.

Indre (36)

Indre (36) - The Indre is in the south of the Loire Valley, it is named after its river. The area is known for its beautiful landscape, its rural lifestyle of a very unhurried nature. Being flatter in the north and generally of rolling gently undulating hills, small fields with hedges. The department is simply full of charm with an abundance of Châteaux, beautiful gardens, historical ruins and fine churches. Superb lakes offer beaches, fishing and water sports. The town of Chateauroux is central to the department, together with Châtre, Levreux and Valençay.

Eure et Loire (28)

Eure et Loire (28) - To the South West of Paris is Eure and Loire. As with other departments in this region it is named after the major river within. The beautiful city of Chartres is found here and its spectacular cathedral is one of its highlights. Chartres is 90 kms South West of Paris and sits on the banks of the river Eure - originally a small river port, today it attracts many visitors, discovering its architectural heritage.

Indre et Loire (37)

Indre et Loire (37) - This department is home to the historic city of Tours and many interesting properties are to be found in this department. Located some 200 kms South West of Paris, and set on the banks of the Loire and the Cher. At one time Tour was the capital of France and has played its part in some of the most important dates in French history. Château de Chenonceau is one of the most beautiful and interesting Châteaux in the region, dating back to the 11th century.

Loir et Cher (41)

Loir et Cher (41) - The rivers Loire and Cher pass through this department, hence it’s name. There are many famous and beautiful Châteaux to be found, such as Château Chambord.

Loiret (45)

Loiret (45) - Loiret lies at the heart of the Loire valley, this area of woodland, heaths and lakes, being a paradise for nature lovers. The great city of Orlean is in the northern most point of the Loire river and is easily reached by the L’Aquitaine Autoroute from Paris. Gien is another town which was badly damaged during World War II, but today is a charming ensemble of riverside guays with a 16th century bridge and lovely houses around the Château.




Limousin

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The Limousin, traditional heartland of France, and still one of the country’s lowest populated regions, remains one of France’s best-kept secrets. a stunningly beautiful region of lakes, flowing streams, gentle rolling valleys and forested mountains. It includes the departments of Haute Vienne, Creuse and Correze (19) and is flanked between Poitou- Charentes to the West and the Auvergne to the East. This is one of the few remaining regions where you are still able to find a pretty Château, Manoir or Farmhouse for a relatively modest sum. Manoir’s found here are usually extremely luxurious, made of stone or granite and generally fortified with steeply pitched roofs.

350 km south of Paris you are rarely more than an hour from the international airport of Limoges and Brive la Gaillarde with regular flights to the UK, the TGV train takes you directly to Angouleme with connections to Paris and Bordeaux. The climate is temperate with warm dry summers, mild spring and autumn and short sharp winters. The rainfall is higher than you find further south, giving rise to the beautiful lakes and verdant forests found across the region.

Most of the area is open countryside, one third of which is covered by forests of chestnut, oak and pine. From the soft, rolling hills of the Haute Vienne, to the wild and mountainous terrain of the Monts d’Ambazac in the Creuse, and the gorges of the Correze, the landscape changes around every corner. The forests are crisscrossed with rivers and streams, and there are literally thousands of lakes. The area is best described as ‘Real France’ - with thriving villages and towns in abundance, the many half-timbered and granite houses attest to its historical heritage. The Limousin has a self-sufficient economy so not reliant on tourism. Forestry and Limousin cattle farming are the main agricultural concerns, producing sought after free-range beef and veal. There is over 2000kms of riverbank for fishing, most of which is classed as prime trout and salmon water, the remainder for predatory fish species. There are also 39 damned reservoirs with nearly 5000 hectares of water.

Haute Vienne (87)

Haute Vienne (87) - The world renown porcelain works which date back to 1771, are found in the ancient city of Limoges. This historical city is filled with charming old streets, museums and gardens dating back to the Roman period.

Creuse (23)

Creuse (23) - Aubusson with its ruined castle is a very pretty market town in the Creuse and renown for high quality wool carpets and tapestries. The undulating countryside and granite stone makes for some beautiful property locations. Wood from the many chestnut trees found throughout the department is used in many of the carvings, mouldings and wood panelling found in village houses and churches.

Correze (19)

Correze (19) - the large river, after which this department is named, cuts through outstanding landscapes across the department. Brive-la-Gaillarde enjoys rich gastronomy as well as a lively cultural life. Bordering onto the Périgord and Quercy, the Correze really is an area of outstanding beauty, with its waterfalls, gorges and plateaux. There are golf courses at Brive, Aubazine, Peyrelevade and Ussel and other activities such as canoeing, mountain biking and fishing are available. The pretty village of Ségur le Château with its ruined 12th century Château is an extremely well preserved medieval town and Saint Robert too, is filled with charming little streets and shops alongside a Romanesque church and fountain. Picturesque rural villages abound in this area and larger towns are in abundance, with weekly farmer’s markets, supermarkets etc.


SOUTH WEST


Aquitaine

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Covering the South West corner of France, Aquitaine includes the Dordogne, Lot & Garonne, Gironde, Landes, and Pyrénées Atlantique, encompassing a myriad of different landscapes. It is the country's third largest region and takes in such well-known places as Gascony (regarded as France's answer to Tuscany), Béarn and the Basque Country. Bedsides the excellent vineyards of Bordeaux and Entre-Deux-Mers, the beautiful city of Bordeaux with its historic architecture, sophisticated shops and restaurants is well worth discovering. The Dordogne and its four distinct areas (Périgord Vert, Blanc, Noir and Pourpre) offers an extremely varied landscape, from rolling hills in the West to deep wooded valleys further South, where you’ll find tiny Bastide towns and stunning Châteaux clinging to the edge of ravines, in this fascinating and historic area. The prosperous area of Lot et Garonne is dotted with picturesque Bastide villages, the Landes mainly known for its man-made forest of pines - planted to stop the sand dunes receding inland. Beyond the forests are pretty spa towns, vineyards and farmlands right down to the foot of the Pyrenees offering excellent sporting activities.

The region benefits from a mild oceanic climate with approximately 2,200 hours of sunshine a year. Due to the mild winters, the coastal Pyrénées Atlantique is warmed both by the Atlantic Conveyor Current sweeping north from the Azores and warm air from the African Sahara, as a result, sea-swimming is possible for much of the year.

The international airport of Bordeaux Merignac, has regular flights to the UK and other destinations across Europe, flights also depart from Pau and Toulouse. The TGV train comes down from Paris to Bordeaux and on to Pau, with onward connections down into Spain. The A63 and A64 autoroutes serve the region well with links to Bordeaux and Toulouse, Narbonne.

Dordogne (24)

Dordogne (24) - is the Northern most area of Aquitaine with Perigueux as its capital. Famous for its rurality, its gentle valleys and villages, it is one of the oldest centres of known human habitation in Europe, with many prehistoric sites around the remarkable caves of Lascaux and Les Eyzies. More famous perhaps for its gastronomic specialities, such as truffles, foie gras and other mouth watering delicacies and often referred to as ‘Le Perigord’. The village of Sarlat is considered one of France’s best-preserved examples of Medieval architecture. With over 1000 Châteaux found in the Dordogne alone, this is a excellent opportunity to buy a beautiful home surrounded by a stunning landscape and views.

Gironde (33)

Gironde (33) - is situated in the North West of Aquitaine and includes one of the most famous wine producing regions of France, there are over 3000 wine ‘châteaux’ around the region. Divided naturally by the Gironde river into a Left Bank area which includes the Médoc and sub regions of St-Estèphe, Pauillac, St-Julien and Margaux and a Right Bank area which includes the sub regions of St. Emilion, Pomerol and Blaye. Additional wine regions include the area of Graves, which is south east of the Médoc and across from the Graves, on the right Bank is the Entre-Deux-Mers between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.

Bordeaux is the region’s capital city and one of the country’s greatest sea ports. It enjoys an historic wealth of fine buildings, exquisite restaurants, shops and theatre. The area around the small historic city of St Emilion is another famous vineyard area.

Lot et Garonne (47)

Lot et Garonne (47) - is named after its two major rivers, the Lot and the Garonne, the countryside within is covered with vineyards and sunflowers. It is said that there are more than 1000 châteaux around this region of South West France and many bear witness to the tumultuous events of the Hundred Years War. Often dramatically located, the châteaux in this region are amongst the most fascinating to be found in France. Casteljaloux and its famous thermal bath is built on the very spot of an ancient spring. The sub-soil provides the waters with a variety of minerals, salts and trace elements renowned for their healing cures. Enjoying considerable lengths of waterways, the picturesque Canal du Midi winds its way down South, through shady trees and locks.

Les Landes (40)

Les Landes (40) - heavily covered in pine forests, over 1 million hectares in total - this department is popular with nature lovers. The coastline is long and an almost unbroken stretch of sandy beach, which is virtually empty. The resort of Arcachon is very popular and favoured by yachtsmen. The Dune du Pilat is the highest sand dune in Europe. There are golf courses to be enjoyed in this region too.

Pyrénées Atlantiques (64)

Pyrénées Atlantiques (64) - is made up of the provinces of Bearn and the Basque country. An attractive department offering Atlantic surf around St Jean de Luz and Biarritz, as well as good skiing on the slopes of the Pyrénées. Pau is the capital of Béarn - an elegant city, popular in the 19th century as a thermal resort and steeped in history. The Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to this whole area. In the province of Basque, the architecture owes much to the Spanish and Moorish influences and is quite unique. In the pretty medieval port of St Jean de Luz you’ll find some of the best seafood restaurants on the Côte Basque.




Midi Pyrénées

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This attractive region offers a variety of different landscapes - with the snowcapped mountains of the Pyrénées always in the background. Departments included in this region are: Ariege, Aveyron, Gers, Haute Garonne, Hautes Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn and the Tarn et Garonne. This entire region is ideally suited to those who are looking for easy access to the ocean and the mountains. Andorra, which includes Ariège, Haute Garonne and the Hautes Pyrénées ensures easy access to year round leisure pursuits - hiking, skiing and an abundance of local flora and fauna. Enjoying a rich history over many decades, this region remains relatively unspoilt - its fortified Bastides and medieval routes ensure the Midi has something to offer everyone: beach, skiing or gastronomic delights. The Gers is predominantly an agricultural department, supporting hill top hamlets and little villages perched on the ridges, enjoying views all around of the mountains.

The climate in this region is made up of long hot summers and generally mild winters, with the rainfall affected by its proximity to the mountains and the sea. Travel is easy and there is a good choice of well served airports, road and rail links throughout the area; the international airport in Toulouse offers regular flights to London.

Ariege (09)

Ariege (09) - this green and rugged department is one of the best kept secret’s in the South West of France. It offers dramatic landscapes, the mountains are slightly less formidable than in other parts of the Pyrénees. The vast lakes are home to eagles, and wolves are observed near Axe les Thermes at La Maison des Loups.

Aveyron (12)

Aveyron (12) - here the deep gorges carved by the Tarn and river Lot are spectacular and together with water from the rivers Truyere and Viaur, 17 dams feed 16 power stations in the area.

Gers (32)

Gers (32) - in contrast the Gers, enjoying wide rolling valleys, is predominantly agricultural, with fields of sunflowers and corn, pretty hill top villages and all set with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. The Gers is home to the world famous Armagnac drink, the menus in this region often feature goose as well as duck and the local recipes are fiercely guarded!

Haute Garonne (31)

Haute Garonne (31) - Toulouse is known as the city of ‘Brique Rose’, set on the banks of the Canal du Midi and the Garonne river. A truly beautiful city, enjoying excellent hotels, restaurants and shopping in general. The Pyrénées are in easy reach of Toulouse and the land between the two is beautiful and quite unspoilt.

Haute Pyrénees (65)

Haute Pyrénees (65) - in this department are found some of the highest snow capped peaks of the region. This is an area home to over 1,200 species of alpine flowers and a wide variety of mountain flora and fauna. Lourdes is undoubtably the best known destination in this department, playing host to millions of pilgrims each year. A wide range of activities are found in this area from rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, hang gliding and of course skiing. There are golf courses at Lannemezan, Bagnères de Bigorre, Tarbes and Lourdes.

Lot (46)

Lot (46) – Here, the most visited site of the area is Rocamadour, an important shrine on the pilgrim route. Around the city of Cahors are the wonderful AOC vineyards, producing rich red wines that accompany meat or game perfectly. Romanesque chapels and dry stone houses are scattered across the landscape and the local Cep mushrooms, truffles and walnuts abound. The Lot Valley is a true delight, whether you enjoy boating or simple country life.

Tarn (81)

Tarn (81) - this beautiful area owes the colour of its buildings to the clay taken from the river bed, and the city of Albi is no exception. The town of Castres owes its wealth to the textile industry, and the many buildings housing the Dyers, Weavers and Tanners are set along the banks of the river Agout. The Tarn is a fabulous place for those enjoying hiking and rambling. The rolling vineyards have over 1000 years of history in producing AOC red and white wines. Bastide villages and fortified medieval villages are all around.

Tarn & Garonne (82)

Tarn & Garonne (82) - this extraordinary, medieval area is filled with Romanesque architecture, fertile lands producing apples, prunes, peaches, nectarines, cherries and of course black truffles. Beautiful Châteaux can be seen around Gramont, Larrazet and Labourgade. The spectacular gorge at the mouth of the Aveyron where you’ll find the fortified town of Bruniquel in an exceptional setting - the original Château was first built back in the 6th century - a region of true beauty.




Poitou-Charentes

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The Poitou-Charentes is made up of 4 regions: Deux Sevre, Vienne, Charente, and the Charente Maritime. Situated on the French Atlantic Coast, offering magnificent long sandy beaches and cliffs as well as beautiful countryside, including the very heart of Cognac country. It is home to a wonderful collection of vibrant and historic cities. Well known for its reasonably priced homes and its wonderful climate, the Poitou-Charentes is one of the best served regions of France.

Rich in historic buildings and beautiful architecture, this region suffered during the Hundred Year’s War in the 14th century and even earlier conflicts. The fascinating city of Poitiers, once the capital of the region, is one of the most important sites of Romanesque architecture in France and many other beautiful towns and villages are scattered throughout the Poitou-Charentes region. To the South, the blend of Charente grape juice and Cognac known as Pineau is widely produced, along with succulent Charente melons, deep orange in colour, sweet and simply filled with local sunshine.

Transport links include seasonal flights from La Rochelle airport or an easy drive across to Poitiers Briard airport. The highspeed TGV links La Rochelle to Paris and the A10 motorway links Niort with Poitiers. Receiving more than 1750 hours of sunshine a year, the climate here is temperate all year round.

Deux Sevres (79)

Deux Sevres (79) - is the North West region of the Poitou-Charentes, bordering Vendée to the West and the Charente Maritime to the South. Taking its name from the two key rivers that run through the department Sevre Niortaise and Sevre Nantaise. The entire departement is famed for its beautiful rivers and wooded valleys and for its production of local cheeses. Within a relatively short drive to the Atlantic coast at La Rochelle, towns such as Parthenay and Thouars are rich in history and medieval architecture and as with Bressuire and Cerizay, offer the opportunity for many outdoor activities. The Eglise St Hilaire in Melle being on the coveted UNESO World Heritage site. In common with other departments of the Poitou-Charentes, the medieval pilgrimage route passes through Deux Sevres.

Vienne (86)

Vienne (86) - borders Charente to the South and the Limousin to the South East. It is rich in history and known for its fascinating archaeological sites, medieval churches, buildings and fortresses.

The department’s capital Poitiers, was once home to Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart, but now houses one of France’s premier Universities. The pedestrianised heart of the city offers a chance to stroll through old cobbled streets enjoying the excellent shopping as well as a regular program of theatre, music and other cultural activities.

The main arterial transport routes pass by the regions’ capital city of Poitiers, the A10 motorway from Paris to Bordeaux via Angouleme. The drive from Calais is approximately 7 hours. The TGV trains stops at three destinations in this department: Poitiers, Chatellerault and Tours, providing a route to London St Pancras, via Paris or Lille. The airport at Poitiers Biard offers a choice of services to the UK during the summer months and reduced services in winter. Although becoming more popular with British buyers the area has yet to acquire the popularity of the Loire valley or the Dordogne and this is reflected in the lower property prices.

Charente (16)

Charente (16) - bordering the Dordogne to the South East and Charente Maritime to the West. Known for its Cognac and Pineau des Charentes, there is a great variety of beautiful, historic buildings, pretty villages and of course a number of spectacular chateaux. Scatterered with peaceful lakes and rivers for outdoor pursuits such as fishing and canoeing there are cycle paths and white tracks criss-cross the picturesque rolling countryside scattered with sunflowers, wheat and corn.

The beautiful river Vienne sweeps through the North east region via Confolen: a lovely market town, famous for it’s world music festival and wonderful old quarters with half timbered buildings and narrow streets. Mansle is a friendly bustling market town where the river Charente passes through. It enjoys it’s sport; with a trotting/horse race track and soon to be a motor racing destination. The historic town of Rouillac is filled on the 27th of each month with a market over flowing with food, plants, livestock and traditional french life! It has retained many of it’s Romain remains, the amphitheatre is still enjoyed today for musical and theatrical productions. Champagne Mouton too is a friendly market town with properties of excellent value.

Angouleme is the department’s capital city, it is cherished for it’s 1000 years of stunning architecture, including a beautiful cathedral and it’s old quarter on the plateau - a great place to find a range of excellent choice of restuarants, shops as well as a mixture of contemporary and classical cultural events. Annually the ‘Circuit des Ramparts” a classic sports car race, is battled out through the narrow twisting lanes around the old city walls. The river Charente has historically played a major role as a trade route for the movement of salt and cognac throughout the region, but now provides superb opportunities for pleasurable leisure activities throughout the year.

Aubeterre sur Dronne, is in Sud Charente and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of France, it’s Monolithic church draws visitors from all over the world. With it’s beautiful architecture of mellow stone and warm colored roman tiles, it’s tree lined square with weekly market has a very special ambiance, encompassed by little restaurants, café and local shops, the village remains vibrant all year.

Whilst the Charente is inland, it’s climate is driven by the Atlantic Ocean, and this results in warm (often hot) summers and cool (but not excessively cold) winters.

Charente Maritime (17)

Charente Maritime (17) is the western-most department of the Poitou Charentes, home to the production of Cognac within the many beautiful Cognac estates, the Gironde Estuary, Côte Sauvage and the Atlantic Islands of Ré, Oleron, Aix and Madame. Well known too for it’s Marennes-Oleron oysters, it enjoys fantastic beaches, and a fascinating coastline. The vibrant 1950’s designed town of Royan, the pine and dune backed surfing beaches of the Côte Sauvage and the Chatelaillon Plage with 700 Belle Epoque villages gives a wonderfull feel to this coastline.

La Rochelle is the department’s capital and is a vibrant seaport with excellent restuarants of course! Further inland are the historic towns of Rochefort and Saintes. This is a Romanesque area with a number of exceptional Châteaux, fortified properties and wine estates.

Transport links include seasonal flights from La Rochelle airport or an easy drive across to Poitiers Briard airport. The highspeed TGV links La Rochelle to Paris and the A10 motorway links Niort with Poitiers. Receiving more than 1750 hours of sunshine a year, the climate here is temperate all year round.


LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON


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Languedoc-Roussillon is an exceptional region in every way. Stretching from Spain and the majestic Pyrénées Mountains in the South, to the Rhone river and the Mediterranean Sea to the East, it is made up of five departments. It will excite you with its snowcapped mountains and ski resorts; Font-Romeu in the Pyrénées and the beautiful Le Bleymard Mont Lozère just two and half hours from Nimes. It will enchant you with its medieval Cité de Carcassonne and its Roman Amphitheatre in Arles. Discover prehistoric caves, thermal springs, spas, rivers and lakes together with several World Heritage sites including the Canal du Midi and the Roman Aqueduct of Pont du Gard.

This region is well served by airlines into Carcassonne, Nimes, Perpignan and Montpellier international airport, arriving in the UK in under 2 hours. Approximately 5 hours from Paris on the TGV, there are also excellent motorways serving this region and linking Languedoc- Roussillon to Spain.

Fanned by the Mistral and Tramontane breezes, the region enjoys mild winters and long hot summers, along with over 200 miles of sandy coastline, it is no wonder this is a popular region in which to buy a property.

Herault (34)

Herault (34) - Montpellier, steeped in history, is the regional capital of the Languedoc- Roussillon with an incomparable heritage. Cultural and artistic, the narrow streets are lined by 17th and 18th century mansions, leading to St Peter’s cathedral, the Place Royale du Peyrou and the botanical gardens created during the reign of Henry IV. Housing some important wine domains such as St Chinian, the Herault is also home to the popular resorts of Cap d’Agde and Sète along the coast. Saint-Guilhem-le-Dèser is a stunning medieval village clinging to a hillside on the pilgrim’s way. It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aude (11)

Aude (11) - Carcassonne lies on the right bank of the river Aude and is also featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. It’s 2 rings of medieval town walls, 52 towers and 3 km of battlements, boast a large number of shops and craftworkers. The whole area is rich in historic buildings and ancient Abbeys. There is a wealth of productive vineyards in this area, including Corbieres and Minervois. To the north are the Montagnes Noires, to the South the Pyrénees and to the West is the beautiful city of Toulouse. It is no wonder this area of France has gained such popularity.




Provence


Pyrénées Orientales (66) - Perpignan, referred to in the 20th century by Salvador Dali as “the center of the world’, played host to Picasso, Miro, Matisse, Derain and Chagall from where they created new styles of painting. The Pyrénées Orientales with its Catalan flavour, enjoys sandy beaches right through to a dramatic rocky coastline. Muscatel wines are made in Rivesaltes and vineyards surround the old fishing port of Banyuls sur Mer. A wide variety of activities can be enjoyed throughout the region: canoeing, fishing, hiking and horse riding, while the pretty port of Collioure attracted artists such as Matisse and Picasso to its magnificent Royal Castle.

Gard (30)

Gard (30) - reknown for its enormous three tiered Roman aqueduct; ‘Pont du Gard’, the Gard has risen in popularity in recent years. The Camargue, where the Rhone meets the sea, is populated by white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos. The fishing port of Grau du Roi is one of the busiest fishing ports in the Mediterranean. Excellent wines are produced from this beautiful region - best drunk chilled!

Lozere (48)

Lozere (48) - Combining the vast granite area of Margeride, the Gorges du Tarn and the river Lot there is over 550,000 hectares of unspoilt countryside to be enjoyed here. Mount Lozère offers Nordic skiing in winter and trout fishing in summer on the Tarn and Lake Barandon. The Cevennes National Park is filled with large numbers of rare flora, and countless numbers of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. Rocquefort cheese is just one example of the excellent produced found in this region.

This region enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year. With 241 km of coastline, 3 major mountain ranges (including 9 ski resorts) together with 20 excellent golf courses, it is no wonder Languedoc-Roussillon is thought of as the up-and-coming jewel in the south of France.


PROVENCE-ALPES-COTE D’AZUR


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Provence Cote d’Azur is a region boasting fantastic lifestyle, weather, culture, restaurants, leisure activities and a stunning coastline reaching from Menton to the Camargue. It covers the French departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches du Rhone, Vaucluse as well as the Alpes de Haute Provence. International schools are located at Aix en Provence and Valbonne. This area also contains a greater proportion of golf courses than in any other area of France, 33 full-length courses in all, including the Seve Ballesteros-designed Pont Royal course at Mallemort.

It is really a story of two parts - the countryside and then the coast.

The area benefits from International & European airports at Marseille Marignane, Nice International, Toulon-Hyeres & Avignon with services from amongst others British Airways, Air France, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Ryan Air, Citijet and Transavia. There are also a number of private airports throughout the region including; La Mole close to St Tropez which welcome private jets & helicopters. The TGV runs through the region including car-train facilities from Avignon, Aix, Marseille, Toulon, Les Arcs - Draguignan, St Raphael, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Menton, Ventimiglia. The cruise ships are currently welcome at Marseille and Villefranche sur Mer with a new terminal planned for Cagnes sur Mer in the near future.

Provence - Var (83), Bouches du Rhone (13), Vaucluse (84)

Peter Mayle publicised the charm of life in Provence, attracting foreign buyers, particularly the British, to share his dream of stone houses surrounded by vines, lavender fields and mountains. Despite the popularity, there are still corners of this incredibly diverse inland area where you can purchase privacy and above all prestige.

The Luberon and the Alpilles mountains include villages such as Gordes, Eygalieres, St Remy de Provence, Cezanne, Aix en Provence and Avignon – city of the Popes. The Haut Var reaching as far as the Gorges de Verdon, has Cotignac whilst the Canton de Fayence contains the perched medieval villages of Montauroux and Tourrettes. If the additional benefits of local ski resorts attract you, there is Isola 2000, Barcelonette and Pra Loup.

Here you will find renovated stone farmhouses or Mas, Châteaux, country estates, Bastides, Provencal villas and Hotel Particulier. It is also home to the vineyards of AOC Côtes de Provence, Côteaux d’Aix, Côteaux Varois and Bandol.

Cote d’Azur

The Cote d’Azur runs from Cassis in the West through to the French Riviera of Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Menton. Along the route are a variety of locations both well-known and less so. The fishing villages of the western Var and eastern Bouches du Rhone include the quaint Cassis, Bandol the playground of the 1930s starlets, the pretty Sanary Sur Mer, to the sailing marinas of Six Fours Les Plages & Le Brusc with the offshore Embiez island.

Mourillon & Cap Brun are the premium quarters in Toulon itself with magnificent views over the harbour. To the west of the city is the town of a thousand palms, Hyeres with the Giens peninsula – half nature reserve, half exclusive residences, The offshore island of Porquerolles was home to Georges Simenon and Yannick Noah amongst other French & European celebrities seeking privacy for their summer holidays.

Bormes Les Mimosa & Le Lavandou with the private residential domain at Cap Negre begin the St Tropez part of the coast line. Gassin, La Croix Valmer, Ramatuelle & Port Grimaud provide authenticity, unparalleled beaches and innovative seaside living.

Before crossing into the Alpes Maritime department, there is just time for Ste Maxime and the Roman towns of Frejus and St Raphael. Two new Marinas have made this area even more sailor-friendly.

Amazing sea views, magnificent beaches, architecture modern and traditional and the blend of onshore and boating life.

Alpes Maritime (06)

The Alpes Maritimes in the Côte d’Azur has to be one of the most luxurious and opulent locations in the world. Neighbouring the ultra glamorous and super rich Monaco, the Alpes Maritimes is populated with destinations such as St. Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu Sur Mer, Cannes, Antibes, Mougins and Valbonne.

Made famous by Queen Victoria in the late 1800’s, popularised by the stars of the 1920’s like Coco Chanel and now the Cannes Film Festival which attracts many of Hollywood Stars, the Alpes Maritimes has grown to be one of the most sought after and desirable regions to live or own a holiday home and this is probably down to the lifestyle that is offered here - sun, sea, and ski.

Property prices and style vary considerably, however there is something to cater to everyone’s taste and prerequisites, dependent upon where you choose as your base. On the coast you will find ultra-modern luxury villas with panoramic sea views or bourgeois villas with private beach access. If you prefer to be a little more inland, you may prefer a converted stone Bergerie, a Bastide , or Villa in the local ‘Provencal’ style. What ever you’re looking for, one thing is guaranteed - Prestige.


BURGUNDY


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This region is a favourite with Parisiens being close enough for an enjoyable weekend. Burgundy’s association with beautiful wines and haute cuisine is world renown, so it is no wonder that houses up for sale are less easy to find. Burgundy consists of 4 departments; Yonne, Côte-d’Or, Nievre and Saone-et-Liore, each synonymous with such regional specialities as ’Boeuf Bourguignon’ Bleu de Bresse cheeses and of course a beautiful glass of chilled Chablis wine. This famous wine region has 96 AOC category wines, 33 of which are classified as highly prized, ‘Grands Crus’. Premium prices are achieved in the Côte d’Or around Dijon and Beaune.

This region has a fascinating history dating back to Roman times, it’s monastic history gave the area some magnificent buildings including the Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay built in 1119, numerous Romanesque churches and even the Château du Close de Vougeort nestling in the vineyards, originated from that monastic period.

Easily accessible; one can fly into Dijon airport from the UK, take any one of three Autoroutes through the region, or travel in comfort down to Dijon on the Eurostar train. Temperatures in Burgundy vary, but generally warm from April through to October with a low humidity. Autumn is often characterised by warm sunny days, sunshine totals higher the further south you go.

Côtes d’Or (21)

Côtes d’Or (21) - Dijon is the capital of this department and enjoys exceptional architecture. Surrounded of course by some of the finest vineyards in the world, Beaune is actually the wine capital of Burgundy and no less that 322 of the 450 hectares of vineyards around Beaune are classified as Premier Crus.

Saone et Loire (71)

Saone et Loire (71) - yet more famous vineyards are found in this department including Chalon and Mâcon, rolling vine covered hillsides, stunning views as far as the eye can see and beautiful monastic towns featuring stunning Romanesque architecture sums up this beautiful department.

Yonne (89)

Yonne (89) - winding through this department is the Yonne river and at it’s confluence with the Armancon and the river Serein, the town of Migennes is the perfect place to start a barge trip, enjoying 242 kms of the Burgundy canal, passing through no less than 189 locks. Beautiful Châteaux are scattered throughout this region, one exceptional example being Château Tanlay, just east of Chablis.

Nievre (58)

Nievre (58) - this beautiful department plays host each year to the French Grand Prix just south of Nevers. This area too produces beautiful wines, nearly 1000 hectares of which are planted with the Sauvignon grape and from where Pouilly Fumé originates. There are lovely towns such as Decize and Clamecy filled with Romanesque architecture. The stunning 12th century of Château of Bazoches is a landmark near Vézelay.


PARIS


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Situated in northern France, Paris is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with over 2.2m residents. It has always been regarded as one of the most beautiful and certainly the most romantic cities in the world - being home to the worlds finest and most luxurious fashion designers and perfumeries - a large part of the city, including the river Seine, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It enjoys having the second highest number of Michelin- restaurants in the world, after Tokyo. While such iconic buildings such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Tour Eiffel ensure it remains the most visited city in the world.

Paris has a maritime climate with cool winters and warm summers, the atlantic ocean ensures there are no extremes of temperatures in this region. Snow is uncommon but not unheard of these days!

Flights from Paris (Charles de Gaulle/Roissy) airport serve all major international destinations, and the airport at Orly is used by over 30 airlines for many domestic and European flights. The Eurostar train leaves for London and Brussels every hour throughout the day and trains from other stations around Paris deliver you swiftly to all corners of France on the TGV and on to destinations such as Belgium, Switzerland and Spain ....

Central Paris (75)

Central Paris (75) - is split into 20 ‘Arrondissements’ each with its own character. In the very centre is the 1st Arrondissement or ‘1st’ as the locals refer to it - housing such establishments as the Ritz Hotel and the Musée du Louvre. Over the river in the 5th, sits the bustling Latin Quarter and the Boulevard Saint-Germain with its cobbled streets filled with bookshops and tiny cafés. The 8th is where the Champs-Elysées and the notoriously busy Place de Concorde are situated! No visit to Paris is complete without a walk up to Montmartre in the 18th, where artists are busily sketching within the tiny tree lined squares, surrounded by quaint 18/19th century houses - the views down across Paris are breathtaking.

Hauts de Seine (92)

Hauts de Seine (92) - is in the Ile-de-France region and covers the Western, inner suburbs of Paris - it is a popular area filled with shops and theatres. It is regarded as France’s second wealthiest department behind Paris and one of Europe’s richest areas. Understandably there are some beautiful properties to be found here.

Val d’Oise (95)

Val d'Oise (95) - The abundance of water, a natural environment and wonderful landscapes, all favour the establishing of beautiful parks and gardens in the region. This region hosts a total 5 “Jardins de Remarquable - a label that reflects their superb quality, which is granted for a period of five years in parks and gardens open to the public, that are of great interest in terms of history, aesthetics or botany. The Val d’Oise is split by the River Oise with XIXth century houses spread along either side giving inspiration to the great impressionists of the time: Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh.

Seine et Marne (77)

Seine et Marne (77) - Less than an hour from central Paris is where the Palace of Fontainebleu is found, this outstanding Renaissance palace has been home to a number of French Sovereigns. There are many pretty villages in the Seine et Marne department, including Samois-sur-Seine, where the pretty houses cluster around the church on the hillside. Of course Disneyland is in the valley of the Marne and this region has a TGV station, making travel to central Paris very easy.

Yvelines (78)

Yvelines (78) - Yvelines is a chic, residential area, also considered one of the richest in Paris. The Château de Versailles and its beautiful gardens brings visitors from across the world. Yveline’s road, motorway and rail networks, together with its private airfields provide easy access to Paris and other regions. Mindful of its prestigious past and conserving its precious natural, architectural and artistic heritage, it is not by chance that Yvelines has become an extremely popular region.

Essonne (91)

Essonne (91) - The Essonne department sits South West of central Paris, the southern part of which still remains very rural, it is sometimes referred to as the Secret Garden of Ile-de-France. Just 40km from Paris, Essonne is placed amongst excellent travel links, with Orly airport, TGV stations and autoroutes, all within easy reach. 21 of the most prestigious Châteaux and gardens around Paris are found in the department of Essonne, together with the royal towns of Etampes and Dourdan and a number of regional National Parks.


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