French property agents, FrenchEntrée, are gearing up for the annual ‘gîte-hunting season’ in France. Every July and August, many British holidaymakers head across the Channel in search of sunshine, relaxation and the perfect property, with gîtes offering the ideal blend of affordability and rental potential.
“At this time of year, we tend to see holidaymakers combining their downtime with research into France’s gîte market. Typically, visitors are exploring areas where they are considering making a purchase to find out about local amenities, transport connections, social considerations and so forth. Many of these holidaymakers use the summer months to really get to know their preferred region, prior to purchase a second home there further down the line,” commented Fleur Buckley, Property Services Manager, at FrenchEntrée.
Brittany, Normandy, Poitou-Charentes, Limousin, the Dordogne and Languedoc-Roussillon are all popular with British buyers. Each area offers its own unique charms. Brittany is all about coastal walks, wide sandy beaches, open skies and green hills. Normandy also boasts beautiful beaches, backed by rich farmland and is overflowing with orchards. The inland Dordogne region offers gently undulating hills, historic towns and magnificent river vistas. Of course, this being France, each area also offers its own unique gourmet cuisine, focusing on fresh, local ingredients that change with the seasons.
Every region also offers its own style of gîte. In technical terms, a gîte is a property that has an owner living nearby, to welcome guests and provide assistance. This means that many gîtes are former farmworkers’ cottages or outbuildings that have been converted into living accommodation. As such, they can vary in size – and price – quite considerably. This is excellent news for British buyers, as it means that there is a gîte to suit almost every budget.
Continued Fleur Buckley: “The depth of variety in the gîte market means that buyers are often spoiled for choice. That’s why the summer months are so key to potential purchasers – they want to explore in detail what France has to offer before homing in on a particular location and property. Of course, many are also buying with rental potential firmly in mind, so are researching local holiday rental markets as well during their visit.
“Gîtes are incredibly popular with tourists and are in abundant supply. Estimates suggest that there are five gîtes available for every person who wants to book one. Even with France topping the list of the world’s most visited countries, making a living from a gîte is unlikely in such a saturated marketplace. However, many would-be purchasers have a realistic view of this and are happy to factor only a few weeks’ rental income per year into their plans.”
Gorgeous gîtes currently on the market
Brittany: In the Uzel area of central Brittany, this delightful, renovated farm complex comes with three habitations, two of which are in use as gîtes. The property also benefits from a heated swimming pool, terraces, children’s play area and orchard.
Charente-Maritime: Set in almost 40 acres of land in the Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes region, a stunning property is new to the market. The beautifully renovated stone house comes with two gîtes, spa with sauna and treatment rooms, saltwater pool and summer kitchen area and fabulous grounds, including an orchard and a ‘meditation meadow’.
Limousin: Buyers looking for more of a project will love this a small chateau in Limousin, which is packed with potential for someone looking to create a fantastic gîte complex. Bordering a cascading river, the property has around 24 rooms, which could be separated into six or more dwellings. Packed with character, this property enjoys a scenic, peaceful setting that is perfect for promoting relaxation.