French Riviera Property - Prime Areas

24th May 2021
French Riviera Property - Prime Areas

The Côte d’Azur, more commonly known as the French Riviera, has long been a magnet for the rich and famous. Situated on the Mediterranean coast of south-eastern France, the Côte d’Azur offers some of France’s most glamorous resorts. 

It’s fair to say that the likes of Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Monaco tend to dominate the headlines when it comes to the locations of the most expensive properties in the Côte d’Azur region. That said, many people will be surprised to learn there is a broad range of Riviera property investment opportunities. 

Property prices in the main resorts are relatively high. Still, many of our clients have successfully purchased more affordable holiday homes and property developments on the outskirts of the ultra-prime areas, given there remain compelling investment opportunities. As demand in these areas continues to grow, we are likely to see a long-term and significant increase in property prices across the region. 

While recent changes to the French taxation system have had a positive impact on property investment activity, the truth is that the Côte d’Azur has always been a magnet for wealthy investors. As the demand for properties in the region is so high, it is essential to have a liquid mortgage market, given time is often of the essence.

Cap d’Antibes

Cap d'Antibes draws wealthy visitors from around the world. Known in particular for its iconic Hotel "Eden Roc" (which recently received a Michelin star for its gourmet restaurant "Le LouRoc"), Cap d'Antibes experienced its biggest real estate boom in the 2000s, when Russians discovered the area. 

The "Bay of Billionaires" offers some of the most beautiful homes on the Côte d'Azur. The Cap d'Antibes market mainly consists of villas between 150 and 300 sq.m with small land plots. Typical properties cost between € 1.5 million and € 4 million, and transactions in this range make up the majority of sales. 

Between 2019 and 2020, very few transactions took place, and sales of € 5 million or more were few and far between. However, Cap d'Antibes remains a safe bet, and interesting opportunities could well arise for patient buyers. The current development of new luxury villas will meet the requirements of foreign clientele who may be reluctant to take on major renovation work.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is considered one of the pinnacles of luxury real estate in the world, and the peninsula offers genuinely exceptional properties. 

2019 marked a historic turning point for properties on the peninsula, with the sale of one of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat’s most prestigious estates for €200 million. Several properties also sold on the €30 - €50 million range - notably villas close to the sea or which offered sought-after large plots. At the beginning of 2020, a number of transactions between €5 million and €10 million were completed, following sales processes which had commenced in 2019. 

The decline in international traffic throughout 2020 was a blow to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat’s property market. Strong interest remains in and around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, but travel difficulties and economic uncertainty have slowed the market. 

Saint-Tropez

What do you get if you mix the best of authentic France with elegance, a good dose of ‘art de vivre à la française’ and a hint of bling?  The answer can only be Saint-Tropez. 

Saint-Tropez has long been a favourite of the rich and famous, and it remains one of the hottest property markets in the world. In 2020, the Saint-Tropez market experienced a record year in terms of sales. The international elite was searching for an ideal lockdown space with greenery and sea views that also paired as a stable investment, and Saint-Tropez delivered on all fronts.  

Saint Tropez remains highly desirable, and property prices remain relatively stable, but there is much less room for negotiation than in previous years. The market is more competitive, and it’s not uncommon for some of the most sought-after properties to have multiple bidders at the same time. 

Villas with gardens in Saint-Tropez and Ramatuelle are typically priced from around € 3 million. Prices rise steeply for properties with a sea view and prices for the ultimate luxury estates with panoramic bay views start at around € 10 million and surpass €25 million. Summer rentals range from € 15,000 - €20,000 for a villa in the centre of Saint-Tropez to €30,000 - €50,000 per week for the most coveted properties. Exceptional properties can command rents of around  € 500,000 per month in July and August.

It’s essential to do your homework on the different areas around Saint Tropez: your ideal location likely depends on whether you are looking for a year-round residence or a home for peak summer months. What qualifies as the ‘best area’ will likely depend on individual preferences. 

Arrière-Pays / French Riviera Hillside

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region is full of picturesque and charming villages where life is good; rural markets are aplenty, and the pace of life is calm. At the same time, you remain just a short drive from Nice airport and the bigger towns on the French Riviera with as much hustle and bustle as your heart desires.

The Riviera hillside market has long been popular with French, Monegasque and international clientele because of its proximity to the coast. In 2020, the region received renewed interest as more properties priced between € 1 and 2.5 million came onto the market.

Properties continue to sell relatively frequently in the most famous villages like Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Mougins. 2020 saw a few exceptional sales with properties selling in excess of €10 million to lovers of large estates, superior properties and sea views.

Typical Provencal or neo-Provencal style villas make up the majority of properties on offer on the Riviera hillsides. 

Cannes 

Cannes is internationally recognised for its Film Festival and the glamour associated with the international stars and jet-set who flock to the Croisette and the city’s iconic palaces. 

The film festival aside, Cannes is an alluring destination in its own right. All leading luxury brands have a boutique in town, making Cannes an unmissable shopping destination, alongside excellent dining and wellness. Cannes’ famous beaches have recently had a facelift, making the city an even more attractive location. 

The Cannes real estate market has been growing since 2018, and 2020 saw one of the busiest years in two decades. Cannes’ resurgence in popularity has come as buyers looked to leave big cities in favour of calmer living, enjoying the sea, sun and the quality of life associated with the Côte d'Azur. 

2020 saw significant movement on the Cannes property market. Properties were sold at all price ranges, starting at around € 3 million to € 6 million and including more prestigious villas between €8 million and €20 million. 

Demand has remained high and the Cannes property market is still seeing strong activity. Only high-end apartments have seen less interest because buyers are particularly looking for greenery, spacious properties and tranquillity. Learn more about French mortgages for non residents.

For more information, download the ''How to Buy and Finance Luxury Property in France'' guide.