Villefranche- sur- Mer, situated on the Côte d’Azur in the far south-east of France, is a delight to behold. This former fishing village is situated on a steep hillside, cascading down to what is considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in the world. It is no wonder that Villefranche property is so highly desirable.
A particular feature of Villefranche is the ‘vieille village’ – the old town – home to cobbled medieval alleyways and quaint old Villefranche property. Many of the colourful houses date back to the 13th century and arch over the narrow streets, forming vaulted walkways. A famous example of this is the Rue obscure (the hidden street), so-called because a covered walkway runs for half of its length, hiding the street from view. Villefranche property can certainly be very unique!
In fact, history abounds in this small coastal town. The dramatic Citadel (Fort Sainte Elme), built in 1557, now houses a town hall, convention centre and an open-air theatre. It is pleasant to take a stroll along the path below it, which leads down water’s edge or explore its lush gardens. You can also go for an intriguing drive in the ‘moat’, where you will be sure to marvel at the imposing 100 foot-high walls! The 16th century Chapelle Saint-Pierre is also well worth a visit. It has become famous for its murals depicting the life of the saint and that of local fishermen, painted by Jean Cocteau in 1957. Such wonderful natural and man-made scenery have offered a fantastic setting for many films, including Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Jewel of the Nile and The Bourne Identity, to name but a few. Look out for the beautiful Villefranche property next time you watch!
Some of the most lavish Villefranche property can be found in the hills above the town. Beautiful villas and mansions are the order of the day here, and this area is a favourite residential site for celebrities and the aristocracy. The Villa Léopolda, once the residence of King Leopold of Belgium, is the most exclusive Villefranche property with stunning views down to the bay. Dating from the start of 1900, this cream-coloured villa, set in 20 acres of gardens, is now considered to be the most expensive house in the world! Rental income from your Villefranche property is sure to be high.
The old harbour, La Darse, dates back to the 17th century, and is now a marina and the site of an oceanic observatory for scientific research. The bay itself is one of the deepest natural harbours of any part of the Mediterranean, and as such provides safe anchorage for large ships, and many luxurious yachts can often be seen here, alongside the traditional Mediterranean pointus (fishing boats).
A Villefranche property certainly has much to offer, with nearby sandy beach, La Plage de Marinières, stretching for a kilometre along the North end of the bay. How better to spend your days when visiting your Villefranche property than sitting on the beach and taking in the scenery? Alternatively, whiling away the hours in a beachfront café, with views out to Cap Ferrat is pure bliss. There are many opportunities to explore the area on foot, with some picturesque walks in the hills above the bay. The waters are fantastic for bathing and snorkelling, or why not explore the area by boat? With a Villefranche property all of this is on your doorstep. And let’s not forget that Villefranche enjoys perfect Mediterranean weather to boot! In fact its warm sunny days and temperate nights provide a unique micro-climate, which encourages the growth of a variety of exotic flowers and foliage.
This former fishing village has succeeded in maintaining its charm and character in spite of expansion, and you can enjoy a typically French Riviera lifestyle here. Why not sample the local cuisine, delicious produce and wine and shop at local markets? Quality shopping and dining abound.
The town’s location makes it perfect for exploring the wider area. The town is 6 km from the City of Nice, separated by hills to the East, and there are frequent train services to nearby Monaco and Cannes. Italy is a mere 30-minute train journey away and the neighbouring quaint fishing village of Banlieu-sur-mer is also worth a visit. There are good, reliable train and bus services, so cars do not have to be a necessity. Connecting you to your Villefranche property is the airport at Nice and links via the Eurostar and TGV.
If you are looking for a luxury property in a highly desirable and exclusive location on the French Riviera, then a Villefranche property is waiting for you.
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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