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For nature fans, a base around La Rochelle is ideal to explore the marshlands of the “green Venice of France” by flat-bottomed boat, the Vendée’s long sandy beaches,or, right on your doorstep, the chic summer playground of Ile de Ré with its traditional little villages. The beaches and many nature reserves are only 15 minutes away. This area attracts Parisians and French buyers from other parts of the north but also golfers - there are two good courses nearby, and also international second-home owners. Flights to La Rochelle serve 11 UK regions whilst Poitiers and Bordeaux offer even more flight options. You can get an apartment in the old harbour with change from €180,000, or a four-bedroom townhouse from €530,000. Buyers can get better value looking a little inland, or further down the coast - 20 minutes from La Rochelle, in Yves, and very close to the popular seaside resort of Chatelaillon-Plage, its possible to find properties that are cheaper than in La Rochelle. BIARRITZ PAYS BASQUE, PYRÉNÉES ATLANTIQUES The Basque surfing town of Biarritz oozes glamour, ever since Coco Chanel created her first fashion show there. Located near the Spanish border, Biarritz sits on one of the best stretches of surfing beaches in Europe - but there’s so much more too. The narrow streets of the former spa town are full of pretty shops and superb restaurants, then there’s the famous art-deco casino on the Grande Plage where grand palatial hotels remind us of its illustrious history - it was a favourite haunt of various European royals - but there are also fashionable nightclubs that draw top DJs. If putting is more your thing than partying, there are also ten golf courses within 50km. But Biarritz is an excellent base for exploring the Pays Basque, from its beautiful beaches to the inland landscape of green and wooded hills and mountains, and with property prices relatively high in the town itself, many buyers may opt to be somewhere accessible, says local agent Mathilde de St. Martin. It’s a highly cosmopolitan resort that is very fashionable with the French but also famous globally. “You can expect to pay €300,000 for a 50m2 property with a nice view - even a studio apartment will be at least €130,000,” she says. Many British buyers prefer to go inland 20 minutes where they find that the prices plunge to €3,000 per m2.
Bonjour and bienvenue to the Autumn
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