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84 T

ired of the rat race

in London and

concerned about

where our children

would grow up, we

moved to a small

ski resort in the Portes du Soleil in

2004. Eight years later the sun was

calling more than the snow and a

move to the south of France has

given us the best of both worlds,

with beaches and skiing both within

an hour. I honestly can't think of

a better place to live, with Nice

airport servicing both international

and low-cost airlines and the TGV

offering a civilised alternative to

flying. Stations include Avignon,

Marseille, Toulon, Nice and Monaco.

Three of my favourite things

in PACA are the UNESCO world

heritage sites. Firstly, the Roman

ampitheatre in Orange is spectacular,

particularly at night. It also hosts

"Choregies d'Orange" a summer

opera festival. Secondly, the historical

centre of Avignon is fascinating

and an easy place to just wander

around in awe - the famous bridge

is a city landmark that must not

be missed. Finally, the Romanesque

monuments in Arles date back to 1st

century BC and include jaw-dropping

subterranean gallerys.

It is not just me that finds the

region so attractive though. The

domestic property market here in

PACA has been incredibly strong

for a number of years, particularly in

the university cities of Nice, Avignon,

Toulon and Aix-en-Provence, where

student accommodation is hard

to find. I hardly need tell you that

international buyers find PACA

attractive too. One in five of the

sales to international buyers in

France are made in this region, with

buyers from Belgium, Italy and the

UK leading the way. On average they

spend 482,000 euros so we're not

necessarily talking about the rich and

famous either!

The bulk of these sales are

made on the coast. We have six

departments in the region and the

Alpes Maritimes (60%) and Var

(25%) make up most of the sales to

international buyers. However, the

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Vaucluse,

Hautes-Alpes, and Bouches-du-Rhone

all offer exceptional value for money

and have spectacular countryside.

There are plenty of hidden gems to

Jennie Tombs moved to France 15 years ago and lives in the Canton de Fayence,

just 40km from the glamorous resorts of Cannes and Antibes. She is an expert in

the local property market.

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