With its balmy heat, crystal-clear sea and purple hilltops, the Cote d’Azur has a timeless allure. But its superior properties, fine restaurants and world class golf courses are what sets it apart from developing areas, and maintains its unrivalled popularity with cash rich investors. A recent survey commissioned by Pure International showed city investors favour established markets, and France was named top destination for a second-home.
Property prices in the Cote d’Azur have doubled since 2000 with British investors constituting between 30 – 50% of buyers. ‘If you have got money to spend in the Cote d’Azur, you can spend it on something nice,’ said Stuart Baldock of Property Vision (+33 670 601 925). ‘It is a virtuous circle: if there are nice places, more people will come and in turn standards will get higher and higher.’
But high standards carry a price tag: dinner on the terrace at the very popular Bastide de St Antoine at Grasse costs more than £120 a person and a hotel room at the Terre Blanche Four Seasons resort can cost up to £1,800 per night. And in line with prime central London, property prices are growing continually.
‘Given the current levels of activity in all areas of our market we anticipate continued growth. One just has to look at the number of flights between the UK and Nice to gauge the phenomenal growth in the number of people who either live permanently or have second homes in the Cote d’Azur,’ said Nigel Hindle from Property Vision.
Surprisingly there are still ‘undiscovered’ places, for those who prefer to live off the beaten track. Hugo Skillington from Knight Frank recommends the unspoilt Canadel area with its beautiful gardens and sandy beaches and coves. ‘In discreet contrast to nearby brash St Tropez, the elegant villas compete with each other only in the extraordinary beauty of their gardens,’ he said. A charming five bedroom house in Le Rayol Canadel, set back from the sea enjoys a tranquil location yet is still only 40 minutes from Nice airport. The property features a sizeable garden and an infinity swimming pool with exquisite views out to sea. (£3,610,169 Knight Frank 020 76298171).
Cap d’Antibes is a longstanding favourite with those with money to spend. A 19th century-style villa on the west side of the peninsula with spectacular sea views is on the market for £12,466,250 (Savills 0207 016 3743). Meanwhile on Cap Ferrat, the modern Villa Mirador boasts six bedrooms, six bathrooms and a one bedroom guest house as well as an infinity pool and garage (£17,599,675 Knight Frank 020 76298171). Just 2km from Cannes is Val Rose, a superb four bedroom belle epoque villa, built by architect Ferraris, with sea views, huge palm trees and a pool (£2,406,780 Knight Frank 020 76298171).
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