A trip through history: Buyers delight in French properties that showcase the country’s past

A trip through history: Buyers delight in French properties that showcase the country’s past

  • 17th century chateaux offer glimpse of past luxury (FrenchEntrée)
  • Post-Revolution era houses feature stones from destroyed aristocracy homes
  • Paris is perfect post-war fashion property location
  • French Riviera is latest playground for ultra-wealthy property buyers

The French property market offers some absolute gems when it comes to homes with history. Indeed, specialist French property agents FrenchEntrée report that buyers are spoiled for choice when it comes to dwellings from key periods of the country’s history.

“France has produced a range of beautiful and unique architectural styles over the centuries and many fine examples of these still exist today, from extravagant chateaux to chic, fashion-conscious post-war pads. Buyers looking for a second home in France are often after something that differs architecturally from their home country – and there’s certainly plenty that fits that bill.”

Fleur Buckley, Property Services Manager, FrenchEntrée

The 17th century saw the true beginning of the French Aristocracy flaunting their wealth, with chateaux up and down the country playing a prominent role in this. Subtlety was certainly not the order of the day, resulting in some beautifully extravagant and luxurious homes. Louis 14th and his Palais de Versailles were at the heart of it all, with wealthy countrymen across France racing to showcase their money and influence.

It was the French Revolution that finally put paid to this excessive display of wealth. In the turmoil and chaos that enveloped France, many chateaux were torn down in their entirety. While the grandiose properties themselves have been lost, however, their legacy lives on. The FrenchEntrée team points out that many of the stones from the aristocracy’s destroyed homes were used to create other, more humble dwellings.

Buyers keen to own a part of one of the most important eras of France’s history have some lovely homes to choose from. Houses and cottages dot the countryside around the sites of former castles, many of them built using stones from those destroyed dwellings. Buying such a home is a wonderful way to ensure your property has a unique character and history all of its own.

Fleur Buckley, Property Services Manager, FrenchEntrée

Fast-forward to the end of World War II and France – particularly Paris – has some superb examples of post-war properties. With Paris at the heart of the fashion industry, they city’s reputation for elegance spilled over into its property market, as the wealthy used their homes to show off their outstanding, cutting edge taste. Penthouse apartments with views of the city were essential for those looking to cement their social status, while iconic brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior inspired the building and décor of apartments in minimalistic fashion.

The rise of celebrity culture in the 21st century reshaped France’s property market once more, drawing attention towards the playgrounds of the rich along the country’s south coast.

“The Festival du Film de Cannes had a strong influence on the French property market. As film stars and singers rose to prominence and created a new sense of fashion and culture on France’s southern coast, a host of properties sprang up, each more luxurious than the last. Today, Cannes and the surrounding area is home to some incredible properties, with eye-watering price tags that few can afford.”

Fleur Buckley, Property Services Manager, FrenchEntrée

From the average second home buyer’s perspective, a mansion in Cannes may be a little too much of a stretch. Thankfully, France has a wealth of properties available to suit a range of tastes and budgets, meaning that those seeking a piece of the country’s history should be able to find the perfect French residence.


A journey through history: Properties on the market today

This listed 17th century chateau exudes luxury. Less than an hour from Paris, it is a superb example of a symmetrical chateau, with the central front-body on three levels and two ground-floor wings flanking it, in arcades covered by roof terraces. The grounds include formal gardens, an orangery, greenhouse and kitchen garden. Asking price: €14.7 million.

For history buffs, this four-bedroom house in Fox Amphoux, just 6 km from Cotignac, is bound to appeal. Fox Amphoux was the home town of Barras, one of the figures of the French Revolution, and this hamlet house was built using the stones of the castle. Beautifully renovated and with delightful country views, it is available for €275,000.

In the heart of Paris, with views of the Arc de Triomphe, this incredible apartment is spread over an entire floor of a 19th century building on the elegant Avenue Marceau. The property marries historic architecture, with fireplaces, parquet and mouldings, and stunning contemporary design. On the market for: €7.3 million.

For the ultra-wealthy, this exquisite private estate on the French Riviera includes three five-bedroom villas, a two-bedroom villa and a staff residence of five studios and one apartment. The contemporary estate offers unparalleled luxury in complete seclusion, with a 4km outdoor fitness trail, tennis court, three heated swimming pools, spa, olive groves and even its own helipad. Price on application.


For further information, contact FrenchEntrée on +44 (0)1225 463752. You can also visit https://www.frenchentree.com/property-for-sale/