Long term lets in France - finding the dream property
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If you are looking for long term lets in France in 2023, there are many factors that you will need to consider to find the right property for you. Here we have picked out 3 key considerations when searching for long term let properties in France: budget, location and size. All are equally important and it is important to do your homework before starting your search for a long term rental.
Over the last 15 years of running Long term rentals in France, we have probably helped over 1800 people find rental accommodation in France. I would probably say that the most successful rentals have been where clients have a clear and realistic view on what they require. They have their core requirements and their wish list, but they do not deviate from this list. They are clear about where they want to be, how much they need to spend and what size of property they need.
Where the rentals have gone wrong, I would probably pinpoint the following reasons for this:
My heart sinks when clients tell me that they want to be in the South of France between Nice and Perpignan. This is a massive area, both geographically (Nice to Perpignan is a 7 hour drive) and culturally. You cannot really compare St Tropez, Antibes and St Jean de Pins with Sommieres, Lagrasse or Ceret.
But more importantly, it signifies that the client hasn't really asked themselves the most important questions. What do I want to get out of this experience? What do I want to take away from my time in France? How do I want to spend my time? What do I enjoy doing? What new experiences do I want to gain? How much can I afford? The answers to these important questions will help to narrow down the location.
Sometimes people can go too far in the opposite direction. Now I can understand if you are buying a property you want to be absolutely precise with what you need. But, when it comes to rental property, there is a limited pool of available houses and apartments for rent in France and if you are too restrictive in your criteria, you are going to be naturally disappointed in what you can find.
There is also a much wider point. If you are focusing so much on what the long term rental property itself consists of, you may be forgetting about the importance of immediate location. My wife works in Real Estate sales and she sees this a lot. People fall in love with the house and forget about the town or village in which it is located. Initially they try to convince themslves that the village is 'charming', but over time they come to regret their choice. When we are advising clients on long term lets, one of the first questions I ask them is "what do you like doing?". It is such an important question because it often helps to identify the location or town that they would get the most out of.
Obviously moving to France is a bit of dream. I always say that there are two types of ex-Pats living in South France; dreamers and runners. The former have this emotion that the South of France is where they are destined to be. It is almost pulling them to live in the South of France. It is actually quite important because the dream sustains you through the bad days. You almost seek out new experiences to justify and sustain the dream.
The runners, by contrast, are more about escaping something or leaving something behind. It is almost like they are being pushed to relocate somewhere new. Again, this is equally important because again on the bad days, you can look back and think well at least I am not doing this or thank God I am not having to deal with that anymore.
But in both cases, I think you have to have some sense of realism. You have to do some research about what life is like living in the South of France all year around. The more you can do to prepare yourself, the better your experience will be. I certainly wouldn't under-estimate the importance of speaking French. You certainly don't need to be fluent or anywhere near this level to survive, but equally, the more French you arrive with, the quicker you will be pick up more French and the better your overall experience will be.
Similarly, the more you know about the area, its history, the main sites to visit, the food, the wine, the local sports teams, the artists who have lived here, etc, - the more you will be able to experience when you arrive. It is like going into a school exam, if you haven't done any preparation, then the exam is going to be a bad experience. If you have done some preparation, you will get rewarded for it.
Nothing, but nothing, not even 2 years of Army survival training, will prepare youself for the first experience of dealing with the French bureaucracy. You will never in the rest of your life have to deal with something as difficult as having to open a bank account in France. No matter how long you live in France, you will never be able to comprehend how in the Waiters head, it is much more enjoyable to speak to his friends at the bar or go on a cigarette break, than serving his paying customers.
But this is Southern France. Forget it, relax, just chill. There are so many other, more positive experiences in France and guess what, it is a completely separate country from the one you call home. And that is the absolute point. You are coming here for a different experience. Don't compare everything to how it works back home. Just embrace the difference.
I have been fortunate to travel a lot with work and I would say that there are 2 different types of travelers: those that see the similarities in different cultures and those who only seek out the differences. I would say that when people are looking to find common ground with people, then they generally have an easier time. When you are constantly looking to separate out what makes us different, then of course you are going to have a tougher time. Don't get me wrong, I am not great Man of the World. I once set up a team of 45 technicians at the airport in Abu Dhabi. They came from 32 different countries. We had the bright idea one day of having a team barbecue where everybody brought their local delicacy. There were pickled fertilized hens eggs from the Philippines, with the chick embryos inside. Bulls testicles from Spain. The list went on and on. Needless to say, I stopped off at Burger King on the way home. But the point is, aside from some really wierd cuisine, there is more that unites us than separates us. Last Christmas, I bought my wife a DNA testing kit. Her family is from a small mining village in the East of Scotland, near Edinburgh. The most she was expecting was to find some distant Viking blood. The results showed she had ancestors from central France, Turkey, North Africa, China - and 0% from Scandinavia. It just goes to show you that our ancestors were much more well-traveled than we are today.
The French . . .
This is my absolute pet hate. As soon as somebody starts a sentence with "The French are . . . ", I immediately vacate the room. There are 65 million French people for Christs-sake. There are rude French people and there are lovely French people. There are educated French people and there are the Gillet Jaunes. There are French people who speak multiple languages and there are French people who need the Bescherelle (French grammar dictionary) to check how to conjugate the verb Savoir in the passe imparfait. The point is that they are as different as you and me. Not one homogeneous group. I think this is an overlap from the point above. If you are always trying to pigeon-hole people or over-generalize, it is almost like you are not seeing the wood for the trees.
At Long Term Rentals in France, we have established a reputation for ourselves as the leading provider of long term let properties in Southern France. One reason for this is that we visit all of our long term lets personally to capture more information about the layout of the house, the facilities and the locality. Another reason is that we live permanently in the South of France and we have amassed a great deal of local knowledge about the different regions and areas. We have also rented properties long term in France ourselves, so we are able to provide first-hand advice.
Here are the 3 main considerations to look for when searching for long term let properties in France: budget, location and size:
Long term lets in France - budget
Firstly, you need to consider your long term rental budget. In our first year we rented a house far too big and expensive for what we could really afford. We arrived in France with enough money to last us 7 months and we burnt through this in 2 months. France used to be cheap, but now we find it just as expensive on a day-to-day basis as the UK, especially the weekly shop and the utilities. You also get nice surprises like the 'taxe de habitation' which can hit you for around €700-€900. So we would certainly recommend that you do your sums thoroughly before you arrive.
As a rough guide, this is the standard monthly rental price that you would be looking to pay for:
- 2 bedroom houses for long term rent in France (no outdoor space): €400-€600
- 2 bedroom long term lets in France with terrace or balcony: €550-€700
- 4 bedroom long term lets, South France (no pool): €900-€1100
- 4 bedroom long term lets in France with pool: €1200-€1500
The prices above are for standard long term lets. You will obviously pay much more for luxury or unique rental properties. The closer you are to the coast the more expensive the properties are. Long term lets in some of the popular towns (such as Pezenas, Sommieres, Anduze, Ceret, Marseillan, etc) also attract a small premium.
In addition to your rent, you will also have the following monthly costs (based on a family of four):
- Utilities: €180
- Food: €700-900
- Insurance: €50
- Mobile/Cell: €45
- Internet: €50
- Heating (2-3 months in winter): €120
Long term lets in France - location
If you are planning a long stay in France, then you need to make sure that the location is absolutely spot on. Too often we find that we are organising long term lets for customers who have previously booked to stay in an area too quiet in the winter or too noisy at night or too far away from amenities. Whilst you may crave the peace and tranquility for a holiday, the 25 minute drive to the supermarket can soon become annoying when you are here for a few months.
Another issue we find is that during the summer, people renting along the Languedoc coast can sometimes feel hemmed-in by the traffic and the swarm of holiday makers (though this is nothing compared to the Cote d'Azur). One other factor to consider is your social life. In theory, living in a small village should lend itself to the local villagers being more welcoming and sociable, compared to the towns. But we are aware of 'open' and 'closed' villages locally. Also we find that French people who speak reasonable English or who have travelled abroad extensively, are more receptive to conversing with you in French (they are certainly more forgiving of your grammatical errors).
In our experience over the last 9 years, we find that these villages and towns are good spots for a long term rental in France:
- Pezenas, Herault
- Uzes, Gard
- Sommieres, Herault
- Fayence, Cote d'Azur
- Marseillan, Herault
- Collioure, Pyrenees-Orientale
- Ceret, Pyrenees-Orientale
- Caux, Herault
- St Genies de Fontedit, Herault
- Capestang, Herault
- L'Isle-sur-la-Sourge, Provence
Long term lets in France - size
The size of the property is also crucial. It maybe your dream to rent a nice 4 bedroom property so that friends and family can come and stay, but for 90% of the time it is only going to be you living in the property and you will be paying for that empty space. We fell into this trap ourselves and after our first year in France. During the second year we ended up renting a medium sized property and then renting a small gite around the corner for our friends and family whenever they came out. This proved to be a good solution because it also gave us the space to continue to work and live our normal life.
The other crucial issue, is that whilst having a sapcious property is wonderful in the summer, in the winter you will need to heat all this 'space'. Electricity in France is expensive. Even if you go for alternatives (wood burner, gas fires or petrol burners) then you will need to factor in a monthly budget of €100 per 100m2.
Here is a sample of some of our more popular houses for long term rent in France. To visit all of the long term lets in France advertised on Long term rentals in France, please follow the link Long term lets in France.:
Les Pensées 3 bed Corbieres house for rentals South France Ref: 1997
Enjoy a peaceful country life in Southern France in the lovely village of Boutenac, nestled in the Corbieres wine country. Boutenac is located in the Aude department of South France and is a very friendly village. This area of southern France is rich in history and the countryside is dominated by vineyards and Cathar ruins. The village provides easy access to both Narbonne and Carcassonne (both 20 mins). The Mediterranean coast is 35 mins and you can access 4 airports within 1 hour radius. The key features of the house include:
- private terrace
- 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
- wood burner
- open plan living room
- beautiful countryside
- close to local shop and village bar
This 3 bedroom property can be rented between September to June from €700 per month + bills. The house comes with WiFi and is heated via the fireplace in the living room and electric radiators in the bedrooms. The Owner will accept pets through prior agreement (limited to 2 small/medium size dogs).
Riverside farmhouse to rent long term in Lot France Ref: 1995
This beautiful 3 bed farmhouse by the edge of the River Lot in South West France, is available for long term rentals between October to May from €1250 per month + bills. The farmhouse is located on the border of the Dordogne and Lot departments, in between Bergerac and Cahors. The nearby village of Albas has a restaurant and shop and within 15 mins you can visit some beautiful sites. The house contains:
- 3 bedrooms
- 3 bathrooms
- Well-equipped kitchen
- Pet friendly
- WiFi internet
- Large garden
- Direct access to river + rowing boats
- Close to restaurant and shop
This house is available to rent between October to May. The guide rental price is €1250 per month + bills.
L'Horizon - Provence long term rental apartment France Ref: 1984
L´Horizon apartment for long term rentals is located in the beautiful village of Beaumont-de-Pertuis in Provence, France. This bright and beautiful top floor apartment features a private terrace with stunning views. The village of Beaumont-de-Pertuis is located on the edge of the Luberon National Park (an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and is just 40 mins from Aix-en-Provence. Marseille airport is 50 mins and the French Riviera coast is just over 1 hour. The apartment comes with
- 1 bedroom
- 1 bathroom
- Private terrace
- Well-equipped kitchen + washing machine
- WiFi and flat screen TV (satellite channels)
- Stunning views
- Beautiful location
The long term rental prices do not include the utility bills. There is a monthly provision of €150 towards the electricity, water, internet and communal taxes.
Long term rentals (October -May): from €1150 per month + bills
For 12 month long term rental prices, please enquire. Please note that higher rates will apply during June to September.
Large long term rentals property Languedoc France Ref: 1914
This large long term rental in Languedoc, South France, is a 4 bedroom property with private pool, indoor tennis court and enclosed garden, located on a working vineyard. The house also comes with WiFi, central heating, a summer kitchen and parking for several cars.
The property is just 10 mins from Beziers airport and 15 mins to the Mediterranean beaches. There is an 18 hole golf course 5 mins away.
The vineyard of Domaine de Cabrials has been owned by the same family for 5 generations and you can visit the enormous oak wine vats in the wine cellars that each used to store 300 litre of wine.
- 4 bedrooms
- 4 bathrooms
- Enclosed garden
- Well-equipped kitchen
- TV and wifi available
This large long term rental property can be rented on a monthly basis from October to May. Prices do not include utility bills (there is a €300 monthly provision towards the electricity, WiFi, gas, firewood and communal taxes. Minimum stay 3 months.
Long term rentals: from €1500 per month + bills
Villa Plascassier 4 bed long term rentals Cote d'Azur France Ref: 1996
This lovely large 4 bed villa in Plascassier, Cote d'Azur, is available for long term rentals between October to April. The villa comes with 5,000 m2 of land and has a private swimming pool, garage, electronic gates and plenty of parking. Plascassier is a lovely medieval hillside village, that was once home to Edith Piaf. The village has 2 excellent restaurants and is surrounded by olive groves and fields of Jasmine and Roses (grown to supply the local perfume factories in Grasse).
The villa features:
- 4 bedrooms (sleeps 8)
- 3 bathrooms
- 12m x 5m private pool
- Well-equipped kitchen + laundry room
- Private parking for 4 cars
- WiFi and international TV channels
- Lovely views
- 5,000m2 of grounds
- Quiet residential location on the edge of village
This 4 bed villa in Plascassier, Cote d'Azur, is available for long term rentals between October to April. Prices are based on a 6 month rental period. Minimum stay is 3 months. Not available May to September. The rental price does not include the utility bills (there is a monthly provision of €350 towards the electricity, water, WiFi and communal taxes). Firewood to be purchased separately.
Long term rentals (October to April): from €2750 per month + bills
Thinking of moving to France in 2023 . . . ?
If you are thinking of planning a long stay in France during 2023, but you are hesitating about taking the plunge - don't worry! We can help you find the right property to rent, as well as introduce you to some excellent relocation experts that can help you with French bureacracy, enroling in schools and taking care of your tax liabilities. For further information please see:
- Read our article on the Moving to France with your family
- Check out our selection of currently available Long term rentals in France
- Read about all the different options (and pitfalls) to finding the perfect Annual rental property in France
- Find out more tips and tricks for Choosing the right house to rent long term
Contact Iain by Email if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about living in the South of France. If you liked the article then please share it with others using the Facebook and Pinterest buttons below.