Buying a Fine Property or Belle Demeure in France
If you want to buy a substantial character French property other than a Château, then this portfolio is probably the ideal place to begin your search. The phrase Fine Property or beautiful residence or dwelling, covers a plethora of different styles of property.
ManoirA manoir (or gentilhommière) was historically a stately home owned by a country squire or landowner.
A fortified manor was one with defensive elements.
Traditionally the home of a gentleman farmer who owned the agricultural estate
BastideA bastide is the Provençal name for a manoir.
It is usually a square or fortified stone house often set in grounds shaded by mature plane trees with fountains, ornamental ponds and enclosed by imposing gateways.
Generally quite substantial, they command a high price reflecting their imposing stature and rarity.
ChartreuseAn attractive and pleasing building, generally originating from the XVIII Century, the ‘petit château’ or chartreuse is usually built on one level, often with a courtyard on one side, terraces with balustrading, a tower or two and various outbuildings.
DomaineA domaine usually refers to a substantial estate of a number of hectares. This can be a vineyard, agricultural or hunting estate – but should not be confused with the gated domaines with developments of modern villas, to be found in the South of France.
Maison Bourgeoise/Hôtel ParticulierThese were normally built for wealthy businessmen or professional classes to reflect the wealth or status of the owner.
Typically built of stone or brick and facing the street, generally with large windows and symmetrical rooms of good dimensions.
A hôtel particulier is not a 'Hotel' at all but instead a private town house or mansion (similar in style to a maison bourgeoise which in turn is just a large impressive house).
MasA mas is a Provençal farmhouse.
More usual to find a modern version, built in the original style.
Increasingly rare to find an unrenovated mas, they generally command a high price, in particular areas such as the coast or Luberon where they are even higher in price.
Distinguishable features include painted shutters and dark interiors with small windows to keep out the glare of the midday sun.
Monastery/Priory/Convent - or AbbeyBuildings with ecclesiastical origins come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
They incorporate abbeys, priories, monasteries and convents and, depending on their original use, may feature cloisters or chapels besides the main building.
They are often rich in architectural features and history and can be adapted to suit either private or commercial use.