New faces, same passion for all things French at The France Show
French food, celebrity speakers and thousands of properties drew visitors from all over the world to London as The France Show returned to Olympia in January.
Award-winning American blogger and writer Lindsey Tramuta spoke about her idyllicsounding life in the French capital and snuck in tips on the best places to grab cocktails, while Hollywood actress Celia Imrie shared her love of Nice and Changing Rooms star Anna Ryder Richardson showed us the ruin she’s planning to do up in Lot-et-garonne.
One couple flew all the way from Los Angeles to listen to Janine Marsh, author of The Good Life France blog, who entertained everyone with stories about the 14 years she and her husband spent renovating their home in northern France.
Thousands of househunters flocked to the second floor to browse properties, talk to estate agents, lawyers and currency experts and to attend the many free seminars. Edward Landau of Agence Le Bonheur said he’d had a record number of enquiries while Jeanne Boden of the La Durantie estate in Tarn said lots of visitors from last year had returned to make firm appointments to see her luxury villas.
Charente Immobilier’s stand was swamped following the agency’s seminar on the key steps to buying property in France. And by Saturday lunchtime, Beaux Villages Immobilier had received as many enquiries as they’d expected to have for the whole weekend. The estate agency launched a new sister site affordablefrance. co.uk at the show, focusing on properties that cost no more than €250,000. “We’ve had massive interest,” said marketing director Julie Savill. “Not all of us have château budgets, but even with a small budget you can get something lovely in France.” For many, The France Show is the starting point of a French property adventure as Judie Thomson commented on Facebook: “Eighteen years ago, we came, saw the agent we were going to buy through and have had a place [in Basse-normandie] in France ever since! We moved there in 2002 and came back to the UK in 2010. It’s now a wonderful holiday home.” Ian and Juliette Russell are France Show veterans, having come several years in a row as they love getting a taste of French culture in London. “It’s nice walking around the market with all the wine and cheese and music; it brings back memories of our holidays,” Juliette said. “But we also like the property floor, seeing what’s on the market and going to all the seminars. There’s something for everybody.” The north London couple hope one day to buy a property in France, perhaps in a Charente village or town such as Cognac. The next property exhibition will take place at Wetherby racecource, in Yorkshire, on 19-20 May
Juliette and Ian Russel at The France Show