Cannes – home to the rich and famous with its casinos, festivals, fairs, beach and nightlife. It is of course one of the most busy, glamorous and fashionable of the Riviera resorts. The heart of the city is built around the palm-lined boulevard de la Croisette. However, this is not all Cannes has to offer, it is also rich in history. The old port is a mixture of colours and traditions, with the fishermen gathering in all the fruits of the sea.
Nice – very popular at the turn of the century, it still boasts many buildings from the Belle Epoque era. Nice, bursting with elegance and style, is a wonderful city to stroll around, the beautiful seaside promenade affords wonderful views over the Mediterranean. A short drive along the coast and you arrive in Monaco, Europe’s most famous principality. Sophisticated, chic and playground to the rich and famous, Monte Carlo combines the best features of a cosmopolitan city and a Mediterranean resort. Wander through the medieval streets of the old town to the harbour to admire the magnificent yachts and after sunset try your luck in the world famous casino.
St. Tropez – miles of rugged scenery and beautiful sun-soaked beaches surrounding a series of chic resorts, it attracts thousands of visitors each year. Stroll along the dreamy port with its gleaming yachts and cruisers, browse the trend-setting shops or simply take in the magnificent atmosphere and spot the celebrities. St. Tropez bubbles with life and vitality and boasts undeniable style and sophistication.
Nesting in the bay of St. Tropez is pretty Port Grimaud, a masterpiece of design, built in typical Venetian style, offering a fabulous array of bars, shops and restaurants interlaced by a network of canals and waterways.
Sporting facilities are widely available such as scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, tennis, golf and horse riding. There are daily Provencal markets in St. Maxime. Places to visit include the famous flower markets of Nice, the Miniature Park and Phoenix Park nature reserve in Nice, the Museum of Underwater Archaeology in St. Raphael.
Guide to the French Buying Process
- Signing the Agreement (Compris)
On finding a property you wish to purchase you will need to negotiate the terms, price and conditions of the sale with the owner. The next step, once you are in agreement, is to sign the preliminary contract (Compromis de Vente). This is a legal document and after ten days will be binding on both parties. Rules change frequently in France and it is best to consult with your notary about when this period starts. Generally the compris will be signed in France with the Agent. Variants can be included in the compris, for example an Acte (clause) can be added if the name or names to go on the title deed have not been finalised. If a mortgage will be required to purchase the property, the details for this, including the name of the mortgage company, must be on the compris.
- Paying the Deposit
Generally the deposit will be 10% of the agreed purchase price. This will normally be paid to the notaire. There are exceptions to this, if the agent holds a carte professionelle, is bonded and fully registered then you may pay them, but do not hand over the deposit to anyone else. If for some reason the purchase does not go through, for example, if you write to the notaire and the agent that you do not wish to go continue with the purchase before the contract is binding (within seven days of signing the compris), then your deposit would be repaid. This would also apply if a condition had not been met, or the mayor or S.A.F.E.R. (a government agency that has the right of first purchase on most rural property that comes onto the market in France) could oblige the purchaser to give way. If you decide after the seven days ‘cooling off’ period that you do not wish to complete the purchase and pull out of the sale you would lose your deposit. If however the vendor pulls out of the sale then you will receive your deposit back plus the same amount from the vendor.
- On Completion
Generally it will take around two or three months to complete the purchase. During this time the balance of the purchase money must be paid into the account of the notaire, this must be done well ahead of the completion date. The notaire will prepare the documents, check that the deed of sale (Acte de Vente) is in order and have the legal title ready to be signed over. It is possible to have someone sign on your behalf if you give them power of attorney. An interpreter may be of use at this point if your French is not very good and many Notaires will suggest (or insist) that an interpreter is with you.