Riviera of Occitanie
Put off by the crowds and prices of the Côte d’azur, Sophie GardnerRoberts finds a more relaxed ‘Riviera’ on the coast of Occitanie
Less glitz, lower prices and fewer crowds – the Mediterranean of south-west France
Have you always dreamed of living on the French Mediterranean coast? You’ve probably rested your forehead on the windows of estate agencies while on holiday on the Riviera only to turn away, sighing and knowing that it’ll always be just a dream. Let me bring you a glimmer of hope.
Forget the Côte d’azur for a moment and look west, to the coastline of Occitanie. Roughly stretching from Montpellier in Hérault, to the little town of Cerbère in Pyrénées-orientales, this coastline is often overlooked in favour of the glittering Riviera. And yet here you will find a more authentic south of France: modest fishing ports, long sandy beaches loved by French families, a coastline punctured by intriguing lagoons and marshes, food that hints at old Spanish influences and, I’m pleased to say, affordable properties. Gone are the Côte d’azur’s big crowds, super yachts, mega villas and apartment complexes and other flamboyant attributes.
With sunny weather year-round, good transport links and an attractively quieter lifestyle, the coast of Occitanie has it all, explains Hérault-based Freddy Rueda. “In our area we get clients from all over the world who are coming for different reasons,” the owner of Real Estate Languedoc says. “It is Europe with a great climate, easy access to motorways/airports. Plus the market is starting to increase in terms of price again so now is just the right time to buy a property here!” Not only is property more affordable than the Riviera but so are the taxes: “You get much more for your money here and still with the perfect climate all year round.”
Sometimes dubbed the ‘Other Riviera’, Occitanie’s coastline needs no comparison however to show off its appeal.