Summer House in France: Buying or Renting in 2024


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France has the perfect setting for a dreamy summer getaway. Whether it’s the allure of lavender fields stretching as far as the eye can see, the majestic coastal towns where azure waters kiss golden sands, or the timeless charm of ancient villages, having a summer house here is like holding a key to an endless vacation.

So, if you’ve ever fancied sipping rosé under a sprawling tree in your backyard in Provence, or waking up to the sound of waves in a beachfront villa in Nice, you’re in for a treat. Dive in with us as we take a journey through the tapestry of the French summer and explore what it means to have a summer house in France.


  • A French summer house offers an enchanting escape into the heart of French culture.
  • Your perfect summer house spot depends on your preference for coastline serenity, countryside tranquility, or urban vibrancy.
  • Investing in a French property is a commitment, while renting offers flexible experiences.
  • Local regulations play a crucial role in property ownership and rental processes.
  • A classic French summer home is a blend of rustic charm, natural aesthetics, and local treasures.
  • Embracing the French lifestyle amplifies the essence of your summer home experience.

The Magic of Having a Summer House in France

Close your eyes for a moment and visualize the quintessential French summer. What do you see? Perhaps a stone cottage amidst sunflower fields, children laughing as they chase butterflies, or maybe a seaside chateau with balconies overlooking a sunlit bay. The images are varied and vibrant, and that’s precisely the charm of a French summer house. It’s a place where every fantasy of relaxation, exploration, and joy becomes your reality.

The very word ‘summer’ conjures up images of long, sun-filled days, and in France, these days are nothing short of magical. There’s the rustic beauty of old farmhouses that tell tales of ages gone by, with their ivy-covered walls and vintage chandeliers. Just being in such a space, you can almost hear the whispers of past summer romances and age-old family recipes being passed down.

For those who fancy a bit more glamour, the French Riviera offers villas that ooze luxury. Here, a summer evening could be about hosting soirées by the pool, with jazz playing in the background and champagne flutes clinking in a toast to the good life.

Yet, beyond the beauty of the architecture and landscapes, the true magic lies in the simple pleasures. It’s in the warmth of the sun on your skin as you lounge in the garden, reading a book or simply daydreaming. It’s in the fresh burst of flavors as you bite into a croissant or sip a locally brewed cider. It’s in the spontaneous drives through winding country roads, every turn unveiling a new picturesque scene.

Then there are the nights. Oh, the summer nights! They’re about gathering around a fire pit, sharing stories and stargazing, or maybe just enjoying a quiet moment on a balcony, with the cool breeze carrying the scent of blooming jasmine.

Finding the Perfect Spot

summer house in france

Ah, the eternal quest to find that impeccable nook in France for your summer house. It’s a bit like being a kid in a candy store. Each region, with its distinct flavor and charm, beckons with the promise of new adventures. So, where to begin?


Provence is the stuff of dreams. Picture vast lavender fields, rustic villages perched on hilltops, and farmers’ markets brimming with fresh produce. It’s where you can sip a chilled glass of local wine as cicadas serenade you. Truly, having a summer house here is like living inside a postcard.

Côte d’Azur

Venture east, and you’ll hit the glam-packed Côte d’Azur. Here, coastal towns like Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez offer the best of both worlds – pristine beaches to bask on by day and chic cafes to people-watch by night. The glittering Mediterranean waters are an ever-present backdrop, turning every moment into a picturesque scene straight out of a movie.


But if rolling green meadows and tales of yore tickle your fancy, Normandy is the place to be. It’s a harmonious blend of history, with its World War memorials, and nature, with its stunning cliffs of Étretat. And, let’s not forget the creamy Camembert cheese that this region is famed for!


Then there’s the Dordogne with its medieval castles, serene rivers, and prehistoric caves. Having a summer house here feels like stepping into a fairy tale, where every stone and stream has a legend waiting to be discovered.

Yet, the real treasures often lie off the beaten track. Consider Languedoc, with its sprawling vineyards and ancient fortresses. Or Brittany, where the rugged coastline meets mystical forests. And then there’s the Loire Valley, where chateaus dot the landscape, each more magnificent than the last.

Investment vs. Short-term Rentals

Choosing between diving deep into the property waters with a full-fledged investment or just dipping your toes with short-term rentals. Both have their allure, and like a French wine, their nuances too.


Owning a piece of France – sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? And that’s the magic of investment. When you have your own summer house, you’re not just buying walls and a roof; you’re buying a piece of the French dream. You can curate every corner, from rustic kitchen tiles to the art that hangs on the walls.

Over time, the house becomes an extension of you. It’s where memories stack up, like old photographs in a cherished album. The rose bushes you plant, the attic you might convert into a reading nook, the neighbors you share evening aperitifs with – all these paint a picture that’s uniquely yours.

But with ownership comes responsibilities. Maintenance, yearly taxes, dealing with any unforeseen issues – they’re all part of the package. And let’s not forget the commitment! A house is a long-term relationship, and like any relationship, it requires love, care, and sometimes, patience.

Short-term Rentals

Now, let’s flip the coin to short-term rentals. Think of it as a summer fling. It’s exciting, commitment-free, and gives you the liberty to explore. This year, it might be a beachfront villa in Biarritz; the next, a cozy chalet in the Alps. The world (or in this case, France) is your oyster! Rentals often come with the added perk of modern amenities, and you skip the fuss of maintenance. It’s the easy, breezy route to experiencing France’s multifaceted charm.

The Middle Ground

But then, there’s a middle path for the astute. Buying with the intention to rent. It’s like having your croissant and eating it too. You invest in a property, and when you’re not soaking up the French sun, you rent it out. This way, the property not only pays for itself over time but also ensures it’s lived in and loved all year round.

Related: Housing in France: All Your Questions Answered (2024)

Understanding Local Regulations

Alright, let’s venture into a slightly less dreamy but oh-so-important aspect of our French summer house saga: the nitty-gritty of local regulations.

Renting Laws

First off, let’s talk renting laws. France, being the thorough charmer she is, takes great care in ensuring both landlords and tenants have a good experience. If you’re planning to rent a place, you’ll be pleased to know that contracts are pretty clear-cut. They’ll detail the rent, security deposits, and the condition of the property.

As a tenant, it’s essential to understand your rights – for instance, during summer, if any major repairs crop up, they’re usually on the owner.


Now, for those dreaming of owning a slice of this paradise, there are a few things to keep in mind. Property taxes can vary based on where your summer house is located. Generally, there are two main taxes: one for the dwelling (Taxe d’Habitation) and one for the land (Taxe Foncière). And a little heads up for our foreign friends – while France is incredibly welcoming, non-residents might find these taxes a tad higher.

Zoning Regulations

Ah, and before you go imagining that garden filled with sunflowers or the pool overlooking the vineyard, check out the zoning regulations. Each region may have specific rules about what can and cannot be done on a property. Want to add a little gazebo or perhaps an outdoor kitchen for those barbecue nights? Best to check if Monsieur Local Regulation gives a nod.

Other Restrictions

Last but not least, if you’re thinking of blending the joy of owning with the perks of renting, you’re stepping into the realm of short-term rental regulations. Locations, especially tourist hotspots, might have certain restrictions or requirements for properties being rented out on platforms like Airbnb.

Related: Your Guide to Buying a House in France (2024)

Essentials for a Classic French Summer Home

Stepping into a French summer home is akin to diving into a novel where each room narrates a chapter of timeless elegance and rustic charm. But what are the key elements that turn the pages of a house into this poetic story? Let’s embark on a journey to curate the quintessential French summer abode.

Weathered Furniture: Think wooden tables that have seen many a family feast, or rustic armoires that whisper tales of generations gone by. These pieces, with their chipped paint and worn edges, bring in a soulful character.

Natural Fabrics: Linen, in all its breezy glory, reigns supreme. Whether it’s draped curtains, plush cushions, or simple tablecloths, the texture and feel of natural fabrics like linen and cotton add a touch of rustic luxury.

Provencal Kitchen: The heart of any French home. Equip it with copper pots and pans hanging from a ceiling rack. Display ceramic dishes and bowls, and perhaps have a wooden rack for wine – because, well, it’s France!

Stone & Beamed Ceilings: If you’re lucky enough to snag a home with exposed beams or stone walls, cherish them. They not only exude authenticity but also keep homes delightfully cool during those hot summer days.

Shutters & French Doors: Essential not just for their functional role but also for the sheer aesthetic they bring. Painted in pastels, these shutters and doors offer glimpses of the world outside, while keeping the interiors cozy.

Outdoor Oasis: Whether you have sprawling grounds or a petite balcony, make it magical. Potted plants, wrought-iron furniture, a hammock tucked away, or a simple water fountain can transform outdoor spaces into serene retreats.

Local Art & Finds: Adorn your walls with art sourced from local artists or flea markets. They not only infuse the house with personality but also serve as mementos of your adventures in France.

Romantic Lighting: Forget harsh lights. Opt for soft lamps, chandeliers with a vintage touch, and lots and lots of candles. As the evening descends, the warm glow will wrap your home in a romantic embrace.

Touches of Lavender: Be it fresh bouquets, dried bunches, or scented sachets tucked into drawers, lavender is the essence of a French summer. It adds a splash of color and a calming aroma that’s unmistakably Provençal.

A Cosy Reading Nook: Create a snug spot with a plush armchair, a stack of books (maybe some French classics?), and a soft throw. Perfect for those lazy afternoons when all you want is to get lost in a good story.

Embracing the Local Lifestyle

Stepping into your French summer home is just the beginning. The true essence of the experience blossoms when you immerse yourself in the local way of life. It’s like adding vibrant colors to a blank canvas, turning your stay into a masterpiece of memories.

Morning Market Meanders: There’s a ritualistic joy in wandering through local markets. The bustle, the aroma of fresh bread, the vibrant hues of vegetables, and the cheerful banter of vendors. Start your day with a stroll, basket in hand, and let the local flavors dictate your meals.

Savor the Siestas: France, especially in the south, swears by its afternoon siestas. It’s not just a nap; it’s an institution! Embrace this leisurely pace. Find a shady spot, maybe under a tree or by a window, and let yourself drift into a blissful midday dream.

Café Culture: Oh, the quintessential French café! Al fresco seating, the hum of conversations, and an endless stream of coffee cups and pastries. Spend an afternoon watching the world go by. Pen down your thoughts, sketch a scene, or just soak in the ambiance.

Festivals & Fêtes: Almost every town, no matter how small, hosts local festivals or fêtes during summer. It’s a riot of colors, music, dance, and gastronomy. Dive right in! Taste the regional specialties, dance to local tunes, and laugh with the community.

Vineyard Visits: You’re in France, the land of divine wines. Embark on vineyard tours. Learn the art of wine-making, stroll through grape-laden vines, and, of course, indulge in some tasting. From the earthy reds of Bordeaux to the sparkling magic of Champagne, let your palate go on an adventure.

Picnic Perfect: Pack a picnic basket with local cheeses, baguettes, some wine, and maybe a quiche. Head to a nearby meadow, riverside, or even your garden. Lay out a blanket and revel in the simple pleasure of dining amidst nature.

Late-Night Strolls: As dusk turns to night, French towns and villages take on a magical aura. Cobbled streets lit by vintage lampposts, the distant melody of a street musician, and the soft chatter from corner bistros. Walk, without a destination in mind, and let serendipity be your guide.

Learn & Laugh: Make an effort to pick up bits of the language. Yes, your accent might draw chuckles, and yes, you might mix up words, but that’s the fun of it! The locals will appreciate your effort and might even share secret spots or recipes in return.

ABOUT Amelie

Amélie, our devoted Relocation Expert at Born and raised in Lyon, Amélie possesses a profound grasp of French culture, traditions, and way of life, which she leverages to offer you unparalleled relocation guidance

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