House Hunting in France: A Chateau Outside Bergerac

The rural Dordogne department of France, which encompasses Bergerac and the commune of Saint-Front-de-Pradoux, “remains the most sought-after of French countryside house-buying destinations, as it really is as everyone imagines the countryside should be,” said Harris Raphael, founder and owner of Pioneer France, which specializes in Dordogne properties. “The most popular house remains a beautiful stone farmhouse property set in around one to five acres of land, with a swimming pool and, if possible, a guesthouse, not too far from commerce and amenities.”

Mr. Raphael’s agency lists such a property at 2.3 million euros, and another similar in feel with a gabled roof, more modestly priced at 492,500 euros. (The euro, which has fallen to its lowest level in years, is currently exchanging at roughly an equal rate with the U.S. dollar.)

Prices in the area, he noted, have increased 5 to 10 percent year over year. “Properties without any particular negatives that are correctly priced are selling much more quickly now, and with a lot less, if any, negotiating,” he said.

Gonzague Le Nail, owner of the Le Nail real estate agency, which specializes in chateaus and castles throughout France, called the area “an attractive region with a pretty steady value,” where tourists and buyers come for “a very specific landscape and architecture.”

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said, sales have depleted his portfolio by two-thirds, with many buyers opting for the tranquil countryside. “Twenty years ago, there was no motorway, and you accessed this area through tiny roads with guaranteed protection from noise,” he said. “Covid really changed people’s lives, and they are more keen to come to the country for this experience.”

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