Aquitaine Property Blog: News and Information from the region

GIRONDE – 72 miles of fine coastline …

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Gironde is the largest french department with 2170 miles of rivers and 72 miles of fine coastline, and thanks to Bordeaux is home to 1.3 million people. It is named after the estuary that was formed by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. The department is most famous for its sandy beaches, delectable mussels and fine wines. Summer is hot, with the occasional storm and Winter is usually mild.

Bordeaux is the capital of the department and also where the main wine industry is located. Being a bustling, cosmopolitan city, it contrasts with the traditional atmosphere found in wine-producing communities. The city has an elegant shopping centre, including the longest shopping street in Europe, and many great restaurants. The port town of Langon is located to the south of Bordeaux and is the highest point on the river Garonne, and the area has many stunning villages including St Emilion with chic, boutique shopping and wonderful vineyard scenery.

The Aquitaine Atlantic coast attracts a number of surfers, and is considered to be the best surfing spot due to its high waves. The Bassin d’Arcachon offers a more relaxing experience, and if you like mussels this area produces France’s fourth largest supply.
British Airways, Flybe, Easyjet and Air France all fly to Bordeaux from most UK airports. The TGV can also get from Bordeaux to Paris in under 4 hours.

BRANTÔME – Jewel of the Dordogne

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In the North West of the Perigord region is the charming village of Brantôme, sitting alongside the fast moving waters of the River Dronne. You can’t help but fall in love with the tiny cobbled streets, beautiful romanesque architecture round every corner and the lush greenery of the forests surround the town, framing the magnificent Benedictine Abbey, whose origins date back to the 8th century – the  Abbaey Church belfry is said to be the oldest in France, constructed in the 11th Century. Brantôme is also host to some superb restaurants for every pocket!

Leggett have a wonderful selection of properties in this area, take a look here …

AQUITAINE … Medieval village of Aubeterre sur Dronne …

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Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is situated in the south-east of the Charente department (16390) some 42 km south of Angoulême, 14 km east of Chalais and 16 km west by north-west of Ribérac. The Dronne river winds its way along the bottom of this medieval village. The commune forms part of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most beautiful villages in France) and its hill top, tree lined square is filled with cafés, restaurants, small boutiques, one of the best butchers’ in the region and a lively weekly market for all your local fruits and vegetables. Parking is found at the top of the village and the river beach down at the base of the village is perfect for the children to enjoy.

Leggett have a wonderful selection of properties in this area, take a look here …

BORDEAUX – This month we meet Xavier Routurier, Leggett wine expert …

Xavier Routurier

 

“I was born on a vineyard, to parents who are both wine-growers!  Since training myself as an Oenologue (Wine Technician) I’ve spent a number of years developing a rich and all round experience of winemaking in Australia, New-Zealand, California and Bordeaux (Margaux).”

“I decided to join the Leggett vineyard team, specialising in the sale of Bordeaux vineyards, as I felt my thorough technical insight, from the growing of vines in the ground, through the wine production process in the cellars and international marketing, would be a valuable asset to clients thinking of purchasing a French vineyard. I believe that investing in a vineyard is not only about purchasing a charming house and a pretty vineyard, but equally its about having a wine expert to guide you in buying the right property at the outset and preparing you for the challenge ahead !”

The Gironde area is a blend of culture, history, gastronomy, dynamic economy, tourism and the art of living ! Bordeaux has been awarded for the second time  ‘The most attractive french city’ ! I invite you to come and discover this wonderful atmosphere for yourself,” says Xavier, “walk along the river Garonne, sit in the sunshine with a glass of wine and enjoy the lifestyle!”

Bordeaux is the largest wine appellation (area) in the world, with a total of 57 appellations, producing sparkling wines, sweet white wines, dry white wines, rosé wines and premium red wines. The French terroir is unique, producing extra special wines, but to do this you first need to understand the particular soil, climate, hillsides, vines and life in the vineyard !

“Leggett currently a number of valuable investment vineyards, through to small ‘turnkey’ properties with lower price tags” says Xavier “and I’ve no doubt that with my local knowledge of the area and expertise in the making of fine wines,  we will find a French vineyard to suit your needs and budget.”  See our current vineyard listings. Contact Xavier on +33 (0)5 57 55 06 06 for further information.

 

AQUITAINE – the Atlantic Coast with its diverse beaches and landscapes …

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The French Atlantic Coast, the westernmost point on the European continent, stretches from Hendaye in the Basque Country to Le Conquet in Brittany. In addition to these two regions, the Atlantic Coast includes AquitaineVendée and Charentes. Fishing and maritime trade here fostered the development of great ports, such as Saint-Jean-de-LuzBordeauxLa RochelleLes Sables-d’Olonne,  Saint-NazaireNantes and Brest. In the 19C sailors from these ports went off to fish the cod around Newfoundland and some of them settled there, in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Acadia.

The diverse beaches and landscapes on the French Atlantic Coast have been well-preserved and maintained. And while the Basque Country contains few sandy beaches, it has powerful waves that have attracted surfers from around the world, especially to Biarritz!
The coast of Aquitaine is another paradise for surfers, the best spots being at Lacanau-OcéanHossegorand Capbreton. Pines in the Landes forest, the largest in Europe, line its sandy beaches for miles, but beware of the currents! The Pilat Dune in Arcachon, the highest in Europe, is a genuine natural monument boasting a gorgeous panorama of the ocean and forest from the top.

Why not take a look at some of the beautiful properties for sale currently in Aquitaine

AQUITAINE – Discovering the Aquitaine …

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The region of Aquitaine forms the southwestern corner of France, which borders onto Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. The beautiful city of Bordeaux is the regional capital; it’s a port city on the Garonne River known back in the 18th and 19th century for its magnificent mansions, Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André and its expansive Musée des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux is surrounded by thousands of vineyards, produce renowned wines, notably in the Saint-Émilion, Médoc and Sauternes areas.

DORDOGNE – Where the story began …

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Leggett Immobilier was formed, two decades ago, in a small office in the Dordogne. We chose this department because it offered a warm & sunny climate, a wonderful, rolling, landscape and (above all) properties that were full of character and affordable.

Over the years our practice has grown and we now have agents in all the most popular areas of France (and are looking for more) and you can view over 14,000 properties on this website.

The internet has radically changed the way that property is bought and sold in France.  The days of a local agent handing you a scrap of paper with a blurry photo and scarce details is long gone.  Browse our website and you will see that virtual tours are becoming increasingly prevalent.  Cadastral plans can be downloaded online and once you have visited a house with us then you can use Google Earth to take a tour of the neighbouring houses and surrounding towns and villages.

In the first three months of this year our site had almost 4,500,000 page views with visitors coming from all over the world.

This is all a far cry from the early days but you can rest assured that we remain a family business with our roots still firmly in the Dordogne.  Our head office in La Rochebeaucourt et Argentine may be larger but our commitment to quality of service stays the same!

DORDOGNE – Meet the Agent: Sally WEST

12868I have always been a Francophile and from an early age I spent wonderful holidays in France. I fulfilled my dream to actually live in this wonderful country several years ago. When our offspring reached the age when they were no longer dependent on us, my husband and I decided to search for a property which would become our home and double as a business. We were lucky to find a beautiful manor house in the Charente which we rent out in the summer season and in addition we offer chambres d’hotes. I am fortunate to be a fluent French speaker and having personal experience of buying and selling houses over the years and renovating as well, I am the ideal person to assist in helping individuals in their search for property in the Charente area. We were drawn to this particular region for several reasons; the countryside is stunning with its beautiful rolling landscape and perfect climate; moreover the area offers a wealth of wine, pineau and cognac together with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables providing gastronomic delights. I would be delighted to help you find your dream property whether for a holiday house or a permanent home.

My area …

I live in south Charente close to the market town of Chalais near to Aubeterre sur Dronne, voted one of the most beautiful villages of France. The area is certainly a most attractive place to set down roots or buy a holiday home and there seem to be countless hidden villages with some true gems of property ready to be snapped up. The climate here is just perfect – summer comes early and good weather extends well into October. In the winter the skies are often a bright blue and it is ideal weather for going on long walks in the rolling countryside; for the more active there is kayaking on nearby rivers, horse riding, fishing, golf …. We are lucky to be fairly close to the Dordogne border, Bordeaux, an elegant city with its airport and of course an important wine producing area, St Emilion, a quaint town so famous for its wonderful vintages and Cognac, for brandy and of course the aperitif pineau. What more could you ask? This corner of France seems to me to be heaven; in the summer there are fields of bright sunny sunflowers, ripening wheat and maize that cannot fail to please any visitor.