Renee, a world-renowned photographer who specializes in nude photography, and her wife, Wendy, are leaving Los Angeles to establish their business in Europe. They are looking for a place to both work and live in the Languedoc region of France.
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Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
It's the last issue of French Property Insider for the year, but not the least. I am ending the year with an excursion to the South of France, writing you from the Languedoc-Roussillon town of Nîmes...the town where the fabric, Denim, was first produced (originally named “serge de Nîmes”).
While the original plan was a tour of the area in and around Nîmes (Arles, Uzès, Pont du Gard, etc.), synchronistically, Patty Sadauskas, a member of our team, recently scored an unfurnished apartment in the center of town to call her own. It was a perfect opportunity to visit with her and see the apartment. No, she hasn't officially moved to Nîmes from Paris, but she will spend time here likely as often as she can, much like I do in Nice and for a lot of the same reasons (and often at the same times for practical reasons).
One of the big reasons for Patty was the ability to rent the apartment for about one-third of what it would have cost her in Paris. She calculated that she could keep her apartment in Paris (on which she has a very sweet deal) and still have an apartment in the south for about what a normal rental apartment in Paris costs all by itself. Patty did a lot of research and discovered that Nîmes had everything she wanted at the rental rates she could afford. Her search for an apartment was as difficult as it might have been in Paris, mainly because she is a foreigner without a salary going into a French bank account of which the landlords are more accepting. As a result, agents didn't answer her calls and she got turned away from skittish landlords...until she found one "for rent by owner" with a very understanding and trusting landlord. She also discovered the answer to her prayers: Garantme.
"GarantMe is an organization that replaces a guarantor in France. By working with partner insurers who provide the guarantees expected by the owner, Garantme ensures the renter a file that meets the expectations of owners according to French standards." It was a way she could assure the landlord she would pay her rent and he'd be insured against any "squatting."
Another reason Patty chose Nîmes as her home-away-from-home was the ability to take the TGV (Train à Grand Vitesse) from Gare de Lyon in three hours door to door. When choosing a get-away spot, easy, fast, inexpensive access to Paris is a big plus. Plus, Nîmes is not a small town with limited social activity. It has the same population as Aix-en-Provence — about 150,000 and in many ways is less "sleepy" and more vibrant.
Considered the most Roman city outside of Italy, its history dates back to the Roman Empire when the city was the capital of the region and home to about one-third of today's population. Certain monuments and remnants of its roots punctuate the city's landscape: the Arena and the "Maison Carrée," among others, but so do lots of new contemporary architecture structures, such as Elizabeth de Portzamparc's Musée de la Romanité and Jean Bousquet's Carré d'Art. (See nimes-tourisme.com/en/ for lots more information about the contemporary side of Nîmes!)
Our hotel was just in front of the Arena with beautiful views on it, but I wouldn't recommend the hotel. Some smart developer will ultimately realize its ideal location as very valuable property, renovate it and turn it into luxury accommodations. For now, it's not ideal, but very inexpensive. (If you must insist, here's the link to book it, but I warn you!)
The city is clean as a whistle, the people are well dressed, and friendly. The scenery is simply beautiful, the public transportation typically well serviced. To top it off, it's close to Provence and a host of wonderful destinations within easy reach: Avignon, Arles, Uzès, Pont du Gard and not far from Montpellier (an hour's drive).
Some of our clients are starting to consider Nîmes as an alternative to other southern cities and rightly so. Prices on resale property are also really affordable — between 1,252€ and 2,505€ per square meter for an apartment and 2,148€ and 3,222€ per square meter for a house. That's one-sixth to one-seventh the price of a Paris apartment and about half of a Nice apartment! (Source: Notaires, INSEE) Clearly, you can live in Nîmes like a king on a pauper's salary.
Nîmes is also one of the warmest cities in France. The Mediterranean climate is a bit wetter than usual, especially during the summers. Being slightly inland, it can be pretty hot air during summer months, with temperatures above 93ºF common in July and August. Winters are generally cool but not cold, although while we were there, it was close to freezing. This is not uncommon for overnight this time of year. Some snowfall does happen every year.
The one drawback to Nîmes at this particular time is that the North American community hasn't really discovered it yet. As a newcomer moving to Nîmes, it would be a bit harder to acclimate and make lots of American friends as quickly as one would in Paris or even Nice. But, that's not stopping Patty. She's game for just about any adventure in the Roman city she'll eventually call home, and along the way, it's a chance to improve her French since fewer people here speak English.
Having Patty on the ground in Nîmes, means that we can fully assist would-be Nîmes residents, so don't hesitate to ask us more about what's possible for your future in the South of France.
P.S. Is making a big change in your life on your list of resolutions? Might we suggest a move or at least a long stay in France? We can help you see this resolution to fruition. With over 20 years living in France, we have learned the ins and outs and the inside information on moving, living and working here. Have a look at our Working and Living in France page and contact us today!
FIRST RE-AIRING OF A NEW HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL (Third of Three):
Newlyweds follow a job opportunity to Paris, France, so they can enjoy one last move before buying a house and having kids. He's a true romantic and has his heart set on finding a home with Parisian charm in the city center, no matter the cost. However, she's concerned about the budget and wants to save on a home so they have money left over to travel.
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