This area has many colourful rivers meandering through old picturesque villages such as Sauve, Quissac and Sommeires. Many of the villages date back to medieval times and have attractive chateaux and other historical buildings. The small town of Uzes is just one of the many in the area that are famed for their markets.
Crumbling castles, ancient stone villages and farming hamlets are set against wooded sunlit mountains. In the Gard, olives, vines, lavender and fragrant maquis grow near the Rhône and in the valleys. Holm oaks, chestnuts and maritime pines grow in rugged natural amphitheatres. The Romans built the magnificent Pont-du-Gard to quench the thirst of Nîmes, site of the best preserved Roman temple, the Maison Carrée.
Towards the coast is the wonderful area of the Camargue with its wealth of bird life. The coast where the beach of Le Grau du Roi, for example holds the blue ribbon. A seasonal touristic venue, with its pedestrian areas, shops, restaurants and bars, catering for the tourists.
Access to the area by air is via either Montpelier or Marseilles. The autoroute system from Paris down the Rhone Valley offers the most direct main route but the autoroute also comes across from Toulouse towards Narbonne and then back northwards to Montpelier and Nimes. There are also very good train facilities to the area.
The rugged terrain is ideal for adventure sports: rafting, kayaking, canoeing, exploring caves and shooting along the rapids of the magnificent gorges, along with fishing, rock climbing mountain biking and pony trekking. The rivers are refreshing for swimming. To the north the National Park of the Cevennes has a real beauty of its own with splendid panoramas opening up all around. It also boasts many grottos, the Protestant Museum, many monuments, bamboo forest and a tourists steam railway. For those who enjoy walking there are about 22 marked footpaths. The ancient town of Ales is the capital of the region, with good shops and restaurants.
Guide to the French Buying Process
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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