Fully revised third edition for everyone hoping to buy property in France whether for a holiday home, retirement or as an investment. The detailed regional guide describes the climate, geography and attractions and covers not only the districts already popular with buyers but also the up-and-coming areas where bargains can be found. The book describes the types of property to be found there and is packed with useful contacts to help you find your dream home. Plus essential background information on France’s history, culture and economy and personal case histories to describe what it is like to actually live there.
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Belgian-born André de Vries is an expert on modern Europe who has written several books on living and working there.
Percentage of population: 2.37%; percentage of GDP: 1.92%.
Lower Normandy – Basse Normandie – has strong ties with both Britain and North America. Once you cross the estuary of the Seine over the futuristic Pont de Normandie you are on the Côte Fleurie or Norman Riviera with the twin resorts of Trouville and Deauville. These were popularised by the playboy Emperor Napoleon III in the 1860s. Wealthy Parisians come here for the casino and the racecourses.
Further west are the Côte Nacre and the Normandy landing beaches, with their lovingly tended military cemeteries. The city of Caen, inland from the ferry port of Ouistreham (ferries to Portsmouth) was virtually obliterated in 1944. Further west, Bayeux is famed for its great tapestry showing the successful invasion of England by William the Conqueror, whose birthplace was Falaise in the Orne. Bayeux was fortunate to be the first town in France to be freed from the Germans, so it came out of the war almost unscathed.
The département of Calvados, of which Caen is the capital, gave its name to a potent liqueur, also known as calvados or calva. All of Normandy is dominated by apple-growing and dairy-farming. The Orne département, to the south is the home Camembert, a bland cheese popularised by Napoleon III. At the very far western end of the coast is the great tourist attraction Mont St Michel.
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