Region Bourbonnais
03001 Allier
03002 Allier
03003 Allier
03007 Allier
03010 Allier
03012 Allier
Region Val-de-Loire
18001 Cher
18005 Cher
18008 Cher
36002 Indre
36004 Indre
37005 Indre-et-L...
37006 Indre-et-L...
37014 Indre-et-L...
37016 Indre-et-L...
41002 Loire-et-C...
45003 Loiret
45005 Loiret
45009 Loiret
49001 Maine-et-L...
Region Bourgogne
58001 Nièvre
58002 Nièvre
58003 Nièvre
58004 Nièvre
58006 Nièvre
58007 Nièvre
71002 Saône-et-L...
71003 Saône-et-L...
89005 Yonne
89006 Yonne
89008 Yonne
89009 Yonne

Owning Property in France

Cultivated Countrysides

Did you ever amaze yourself how beautiful the West-European countryside is when you see it either from an airplane or your car? This is due to our culture, laws and regulations. A few explanations for foreigners to clearify what it means to become an owner of an estate in France, eg. estates larger than approx. 10 hectares. Out of many talks and experiences with foreign clients I draw the conclusion that there is a big difference between West-Europe/France and less regulated areas like the North- and South-America, Africa, Australia, etc.

When you own an estate you have obligations. You cannot simply buy an estate, and then let it fall or stay a prairie. Laws, Institutes, regulations and contracts shall demand you keep your estate in good condition. Eg. that it is properly being used according to its destination plans. That means that it has to be maintained and cultivated.

Woodlands

In France you cannot decide as an owner of a park or woods to turn it into farmland or a building site. If you plan for that, you need to apply for planning permission. We assist in this, *only* as a paid service. As owner of a woodland you have the obligation to maintain it. This implies harvesting and planting trees. Furthermore it shall have to be kept clean to forecome the possibility of fire hazards. In general you are allowed to keep a private woods as non-accessible for the public, and fence it.

Farmland

Most Château properties with large amounts of farmland are usually sold with a farmer cultivating that land. In most cases the tenant will have to leave his land within the contractual period, if the (new) owner wants to use that land. When an owner wants that, he shall have to proof he is going to use that land for the purpose as it has been allocated and allowed. Our agency provides our clients that could have such problems with the legal and practical solutions. But then the new owner has the obligation to cultivate that land, eg. grain crops, livestock, horses, etc. So unlike on other continents. He usually cannot let it fall to uncultivated, unused lands.

Hunting Rights

Whether you like hunting or not, it is part of French countrylife. The usual hunting period is between september and februari. As owner of your land, you can decide whether you allow for hunting on your property. Chateau estates are normally sold free of hunting contracts, with a certain amount of (potential) hunting rights. If you are opposed to hunting and don't allow it on your land, you are perfectly free to do that. Please do consider, that if you are in central France and own for example 50 hectares with no hunting at all, you'll soon find yourself having a big nuisance of game destroying your gardens, etc. This can especially be true regarding the disturbance of wild boar (sangliers). Some owners solve this by giving local hunting groups restricted periods of hunting to bring or keep the balance in the wildlife. During such weeks or weekends the owners themselves take a vacation elsewhere.

Taking over a Tenant

In our experience new Châtelains are perfectly happy to take over the existing farmer (and contract) working their estate. This normally concerns estates larger than 20 hectares, and excludes the (private) parks. Usually after looking how they get along with eachother whilst the farmer remains for the remaining period of usually some years. The amount of days you'll see a farmer (working) is nowadays minimized to a maybe 20 days a year on a specific plot of land.

Income of Leasing Land

You'll soon discover that the purchase price is in no comparison to the rental income of farm- or woodland. Its a nice income for some good restaurant visits or pay the property taxes, but will never pay the morgage for an estate. On the other side, you get 'free' maintenance and cultivation, and, most important: you have the uninhibited views over your estate's grasslands, weat and grain-fields, maybe some horses, cows, sheep grazing the lands. Last but not least, the peace of mind that you do not have a neighbour who can give nuisance, or build whatever ugly thing you wouldn't like to see, etc.

Public Roads through Large Estates

The road that goes to the front gate of the Château, but crosses the estate, is normally speaking a public road. Why? In the past all chateaux had to be accessible by roads (eg. helicopters did not exists).  All Châteaux used to have farms and other outbuildings, also connected by the roads. In the second half of the XX, the goverment gave the Chateau estate owners the choice: either you maintain it so the postman, the garbage collection, etc can reach your Chateau in a proper, civilised manner. Or you give that infrastructure to the state, and the state maintains it. This is why most roads to or in front of a Chateau are public. Especially in the low-end range of the market. Above the €1.5M you find more Chateau estates free of neighbours and public roads.