La Belle Vie awaits

La Belle Vie awaits

Have you ever dreamed of living the good life in France? With low prices and a good choice of property for sale, now might be the time to take the plunge. And by choosing a property with an existing business, you can take the risk out of achieving your dream. Property prices have fallen over recent years in most areas of France, so even with the weak pound, now is a good time to think about buying that dream home and starting a new life. France has an everlasting allure for Brits. With its beautiful and relatively unpopulated countryside, old-fashioned values and local markets piled high with fresh produce, it offers a lifestyle many of us crave and is a wonderful place to bring up children. The reality check for many who are thinking of moving to France is the thought of earning a living. In rural areas this can be a problem so most consider starting their own business. However, they’d be better off buying a property with an up-and-running business where someone else has already taken the risk, done all the hard work and made sense of the famous French bureaucracy. The new proprietor can simply take the reins and start earning straight away.

There are two such properties for sale, for example, in the southern Charente, a beautiful area of France characterised by rolling countryside, sunflowers and pretty market towns. This area has an enviable climate with among the most hours of sunshine in France and still retains the slow pace of life for which France is so admired. With owner accommodation and very different businesses on site, these two properties both offer an enviable lifestyle for anyone wishing to make the move.

Le Maine Meunier is a cross between River Cottage and The Good Life, with a 43-hectare farm, a large comfortable farmhouse, barns, paddocks, poultry houses, and vegetable and fruit gardens. The property is a Ferme Auberge with a commercial kitchen and a restaurant seating 50+ with a terrace for eating in the sunshine and admiring the rolling splendor of the Tude Valley. Paula and Mike Cragg have farmed Le Maine Meunier for 10 years, turning a sleepy farm into a thriving business. They have received wonderful support from their local commune, regularly hosting both business and private parties. The business is ripe for further development; perhaps Eco-cabins in the woods or a camp site. They would help new owners with the transition to the French systems. Le Maine Meunier is for sale at €900.000 (about £774,000).

La Vaure is a prestigious hamlet comprising a manor house, two further houses (well separated) and a variety of barns. The current owners, Giles and Joanna Stokoe and their two children, live in a 4-bedroom house in the hamlet and have equipped the 6-bedroom manor house as a luxury holiday rental property with a faithful clientele who come to enjoy the large pool, games barn and peaceful surroundings. This property has potential in a number of areas: it would also make a lovely boutique hotel or restaurant, and the other smaller house, which has been renovated to a high standard, could also be used as a 4-bedroom rental house. Set on its own hill surrounded by unspoilt countryside, La Vaure is for sale at €799,000 (about £687,000).

Contact Paula or Mike Cragg for Le Maine Meunier at; and Jo or Giles Stokoe for La Vaure at