What is it about Provence? For many years I've worked with expat property buyers seeking a home in France's beautiful South. So the question of its position in the top three French regions for Americans to live in 2018 is one I can answer.
Villages such as Saint-Remy-de-Provence, cities like Aix-en-Provence and coastal idylls around The Camargue really do deliver the sun, sea and serenity you dream of when you go in search of la bonne vie. Sun-ripened produce, world-famous wines, the great outdoors, culture, history and life-enhancing traditions; in Provence there are endless combinations for a fulfilling lifestyle.
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Provence property buyers are unfailingly charmed by shuttered village houses, the lure of an ancient countryside Mas, or a villa by the sea. Beneath the sun-baked romance, however, there are many practical advantages to Provence property. Here are four:
1. Provence is an Expat-Friendly Region
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies at least 2,837 Americans moved to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region last year. Here, you're likely to meet enough of your compatriots to share experiences without compromising your desire to embrace the Provençial. Together with its native French population, Provence is in-fact home to a multinational community of all generations, from students to retirees. While it's a matter of good manners to learn French, English is spoken, international schools are widespread and expat societies are available. Not only proof you can make a home in Provence, but an indicator of the tolerant atmosphere that pervades the region.
2. Employment Opportunities
Unless you're lucky enough to have sponsorship, employment options or the potential to generate income through enterprise are vital for many expat buyers. In Provence, the commercial port city of Marseille is a centre for trade and industry, scientific research and - as home to the fourth biggest airport in France - aviation. Provence also has three universities, in Marseille itself, Montpellier to the west and Aix-en-Provence to the east.
3. Employment Opportunities in Provence
Deciding whether to live minutes or hours from work isn't a difficult choice in Provence, where city living is the opposite of urban sprawl. Historic buildings house elegant apartments with a French romance all of their own, while town squares and parks offer an abundant quality of life. However, you'll find you don't have to drive far from the city to find rolling countryside and picturesque properties.
4. B&Bs are a Popular Way to Generate Income in Provence
Tourism has always been a mainstay of the Provençial economy. Now, thanks to the rise of city breaks and "foodie" tours - ideally suited to cooler weather - the low season is no more. So using your home to generate holiday rental or B&B income is an option, provided you're realistic about buying property in a popular area. Rural village houses in Eygalieres and Maussane-les-Alpilles are always appealing, together with town properties in historic Avignon and seaside homes in Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer. Browse holiday let sites for an idea of rental income through renting out a self-contained portion of your home.
This tick-list of benefits could go on; from three hundred annual days of sunshine to exceptional transport links - by road, air and high-speed train. So, if you're an expat property buyer in Provence, you really can live your dream and protect your investment.