Property Letter 81

Posted by admin in Property Letters | March 6th 2009


Winter Morning in Forville Market – Cannes.
(Photos – by Mandy Jarvis)

PL 81

PROPERTY LETTER 5th March 2009.

Dear All,

As we head out of winter the Bay of Cannes is filling with the multi coloured sails of small yachts in early competitions, the brilliant gold of Mimosas line every roadside and splash across the hillsides and spring flowers are bursting into bloom. A greyer than normal winter (in more ways than one) is giving way to the sunshine that we expect on the Cote d’Azur. The last two weeks of February at least were lovely, and a timely reminder of just why we are all here.

I had an enormous response to my last Property Letter which was very pleasing, and many asked whether the market was softening? Are prices coming down “yet”? Are there particularly good deals and bargains to be had? I have answered each of those letters individually, but now in general terms, for what they are worth here are some thoughts:


Many like us are very fortunate to have at least some of our available assets in nice, safe, rental properties in Cannes. True, the last year has seen no upward movement in the market, so we have stood still. However, until a year ago we had grown at 12 – 15% per annum for six years, and we will grow again. Many people who write or speak to me wish they could say the same of their investments in various arenas which have shrunk alarmingly, or almost disappeared.

I have answered the questions “why property?” and “why Cannes?” before, and most of you will have read my answers in the “Summary” of our activities which I send to people who first get in touch with us. If you would like that “Summary” again (and it is now updated) as a reminder of just what we do, and what we offer here, then please ask? I’ll send it to you by return – it’s a small “Word” attachment.

However, in brief:

Why property?

If markets go pear shaped you still own your property and in the long term, irrespective of short term market trends, good property appreciates in value as no more of it is being produced (unlike cars, or derivatives!). It also has the ability to generate income through rentals which can help offset costs associated with ownership and the mortgage if there is one.

Why Cannes?

The best property in the world is generally regarded as a safe investment, and Cannes at the very heart of the French Riviera, amongst the most sought after of destinations on the planet for hundreds of years, is amongst the top. Discerning and wealthy people from everywhere want to be here – they flock here. It is fact that France is the most visited country in the world, and that Nice airport is the second busiest airport in France after Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

We have been here seven years now, and those who have invested, many of whom (from farther afield) have not yet visited their properties, have not lost value. If they have bought in the last year or two their investment has stayed more or less at par. Those who invested with us early on have seen significant gains.

The market in Cannes has been “dead” since last autumn, but then it is always slow in winter (although not normally completely dead!). In February we have seen some activity in the market again – mostly in the form of enquiries, but some sales have started to take place, and it seems certain that they will pick up further in the months ahead and into summer as they traditionally do. The French are better off than the English and many other nationalities right now, having considerably less debt, and the banks are lending, so the local market which is traditionally seasonal is moving again. Foreigners too are starting to bargain-hunt, evidenced by the many responses I have had to my last Property letter.

So what is it that we (Vicky and I) offer you exactly?

  • We spend all our time and a great deal of effort sourcing “the right” properties for investors. We will find the right property for you when you are ready, if you will allow us to. 90% of you want a rental return to help offset your costs and mortgage – and that is our specialty.
  • Once you have decided on your property we will help you all the way through to transfer, including help with obtaining a mortgage from a French bank. You don’t even have to come here if you don’t want to, and many have not.
  • If the apartment needs renovation or furnishing we will put you in direct contact with people who can do it for you. They will work to your budget, your specifications and your tastes. All of this is possible using e-mail.
  • Vicky will arrange for the opening of your French bank account if you don’t have one and administer every aspect of your property if you require her to. That includes banking, payment of local and government taxes, levies, electricity, water, insurance (including handling claims when they occur), and provide you with a monthly statement of all income and expenditure which balances to your bank statement. She will also do your year-end tax returns if you’d like her to, and anything else administrative that arises.
  • We take care of all minor and major maintenance and upkeep of your property if you want us to.
  • Our son Lao runs Everything Cannes and Azur-Online, the two most efficient websites marketing accommodation in Cannes. His organisation takes care of marketing and rentals, mostly (but not only) for festivals and congresses year round, and everything that goes with it – cleaning and servicing, collecting deposits from guests, and payments, airport transfers, meets and greets. They are a highly skilled, dedicated and efficient team with six years of experience behind them.

Some properties are owned in the investors’ personal names, and some investors have formed small French companies to do it, particularly where ownership is shared between family members, friends or acquaintances. This small company created specifically for the ownership of property is called an SCI (Société Civile Immobilière) and is simple and very cost effective to set up. We can handle all of it for you if required.

A common immediate reaction of many people outside France is that although they know they would like to, and for many it’s a dream, owning property in France is seen as a dream that can’t come true…

  • I can’t speak French.
  • I don’t have an E.U. passport.
  • How can I get a loan when I don’t own anything in France?
  • But I can’t look after it from miles away.
  • Management at arm’s length doesn’t work.
  • I believe in “hands on”.
  • What will my tax status be?
  • Etc. etc. etc.

We have heard it all time and again, and people have missed opportunities because of their fear of the unknown, but the truth, in the words of one very recently elected President is: “Yes we can!” And frankly, those who have are better off for it.

Vicky and I have identified a number of properties in Cannes that are well below market value, for whatever reason (such as deceased estate, motivated seller, etc). We have searched for these properties high and low and I have never done this in a Property Letter before….but this is as close as it gets to a “Property Sale!” The prices of these properties are not reflective of the market, as on average the market is 30% above this level. So take a look at them, and if you are in the “maybe we can” camp, please get in touch with me and let’s see what we can do to turn it into “Yes we can”?

The prices of these properties (below) are not even necessarily the best prices we can get – we should still try to get further reductions on some of them and I have to say, there are some fine investments amongst them.


…is coming up (9th to 13th) and activity is in full swing all over town with marquee tents and stages and banners going up everywhere. MIPIM is the International Market for Real Estate Professionals and Investors which takes place here every March and is normally bigger than the Cannes Film Festival. It will be smaller this year than last year however – some players have even “disappeared”. Lao had a block booking for a Lehman Brothers delegation from the U.S. for example – and obviously they will not be here this year! Overall however, his bookings are pretty good and we are pleased that most of our investors’ properties are booked – with a few days still to go.


(..we were given two hours to leave it on 18/09/2001) (Our own 9/18 came exactly 7 days after 9/11)

A few years ago we might have hopped into the Land Rover and driven out to see our tobacco crop, to admire it, and on through a land of 9 foot high maize with cobs as big as your forearm. Then we might have stopped to watch a herd of Simbra (Simmental crossed with Brahman) cows quietly munching on belly-high Rhodes grass while their calves romp around them or noisily suckle. Finally we would have driven down to the dam, probably passing a herd of sable antelope with their heads down, or giraffe with their heads up in the acacia branches on the way, and turned off the engine at the waters edge. Quite quickly the sun would melt away, its reflection dipping across the water as it went, and the sky turning red and gold over a herd of zebra, or flock of impala slipping silently in single file to the waters edge for a drink at last light. As the light faded completely the Abdims storks, herons and raucous cattle egrets squabbling for a perch in the trees on the island would settle and go quiet. Now the high-speed sonic twittering of the bats, and the sound of their wings as they flit past our ears in search of midges and insects coming off the water and reed beds, and the occasional liquid, lilting cry of a distant Mozambique nightjar set against the rhythmic background symphony of a thousand frogs.

Instead of that Vicky and I took a bag of keys from the office on Sunday and visited a number of our investors’ apartments, all prepared for our MIPIM guests, and our overwhelming feeling was that “we are so pleased and proud” of all of them. Each is a gem, and we agreed that if any of the investors could have walked into their apartment they would have been delighted with what they saw – a great investment, in a very good position, crisp, spotless, and as properly managed as a good farm! Until a year ago Lao out-sourced the cleaning and laundry and you can probably imagine that it was a constant headache. At the beginning of 2008 he took the cleaning and laundry in-house and the difference it has made is enormous, from attention to cleanliness and detail, to minor maintenance issues! That move has marked a major step forward for us and our owners.

The drive home around the Bay of Cannes with the azure water turning to gold as the sun dipped behind the burgundy-red Esterel Hills in the west was not quite the same as watching the sun set in the Zimbabwean bush, but beautiful, and peaceful enough to take our breaths away.


Lao has just completed a detailed analysis of rentals in 2008 and the first two months of 2009. Here are some of the facts.

  • October 2008 was +20% on 2007. (Bookings taken before the crash).
  • November and December 2008 were -96%. (Read – “stone dead”)
  • January and February 2009 bookings serviced were -55% on 2008. (This is for bookings taken in the last quarter of 2008 of course)
  • Forward reservations taken in January and February 2009 were +17% on 2008.


There was almost complete meltdown of the industry from the middle of October 2008 resulting from

  • A loss of confidence and near-paralysis in decision making.
  • A large proportion of bookings are for tradeshows which are often considered ‘discretionary spending’ and may be high on the list for cost cutting.
  • A very strong Euro.

Most of the 17% increase in forward reservations taken in January and February this year has been in bookings for the MIPTV conference in March / April and the Film Festival in May.

Lao has increased his advertising and marketing spend many-fold. This is closely associated with the increase in forward reservations, and it is gratifying to see that the investment and effort is bringing results. In addition a very international outlook and an early realisation that “something was happening” led to a major restructuring of the business in October / November last year, and all of this will keep our team in their jobs, and our apartments rented at least close to “normal” in 2009.

In contrast it has to be said that there are some players in the industry who are “packing up”. All of the above is placing us in an immensely strong position on the upswing of this recession.

One final point: Businesses who would still like to attend the tradeshows and congresses are finding a means to cut their costs by moving from hotels to up-market self-catering accommodation, and we are playing that hand to best advantage.

As always, please let me know if you would rather not receive these Property Letters and I’ll remove your address from the list.

Please have a look at our website – comments would be welcomed:

With kind regards,



Properties are listed in ascending price order.

The prices quoted are asking prices only.

The selection offered represents a few properties chosen from many, so if what you are looking for is not here, we can tailor-make our search for you.

Please remember that if you follow the links you will be able to read about the properties, look at a gallery of photos, and look at the position of the properties on a map. It’s worth the visit to the site. On the site you will also find all the previous Property Letters and articles that I have written from time to time. This apartment is suitable as a residential property just 15 minutes from the centre of Cannes, extremely suitable for residential letting, but not for conference and short term letting. A great little investment.

Le Cannet Residential.

One bedroom Apartment.

  • 35 m² of living space.
  • Construction 1982.
  • 3rd floor of 3.
  • View of gardens.
  • Aspect east.
  • Terrace of 10 m².
  • Price – 160 000€.
  • Price of the living space – 4 571€/m²

Le Cannet is a suburb above and overlooking Cannes and is a quality suburb of good buildings and many villas. The old town of Le Cannet is older than Cannes and was populated while Cannes was just a swamp with a small settlement on the hill at Le Suquet. It has great character and is completely off the tourist map. Vicky and I like to go to Le Cannet for dinner to charming (and very French) restaurants on a Sunday evening, and feel as if we’re in a village many miles from the bright lights of the Riviera. In fact we’re only 15 minutes away.

séjour%20avec%20cuisine terrasse 1

P1030061 cuisine cuisine%20ouverte

This charming apartment is just a couple of minutes walk to the old Le Cannet. It is in a quality residence with a guardian, and quiet on the 3rd floor of 3. It has a terrace leading off the living room, an open plan and fully equipped kitchen, and a bedroom which also opens onto the terrace. It has a cellar in the basement, and a big garage (optional).

When you compare the price of this very charming apartment to others in the area, you realise that the seller is serious about a sale as it is at least 25% below the market.

  • Bas Stanislas.

    One bedroom apartment.

  • 51m² of living space.
  • 2nd floor of 6.
  • Exposition – south and west.
  • View of city and hillsides and a little sea.
  • Balcony off living room and another off the bedroom.
  • Gated parking for residents.
  • Asking price – 240 000€.
  • Price of the living space – 4705€/m²

This apartment is colourful and loved, but once the seller’s personal belongings have gone it is going to need painting, and I think that once the carpets are lifted the underlying tiles will need attention as part of a general modernisation.

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The building was constructed in 1959 and is sound and clean with a guardian and communal parking for residents. The views are of other similar apartment buildings, hillsides and some sea across the bay towards the Esterel Hills in the west


It is in the up and coming suburb known as Stanislas. We have a number of apartments in this area now and they rent well for conferences as it’s a very easy walk to the Forville Market, the Old Port and the Conference Centre, but it is a very popular residential area too so longer term rentals are also a good option.

This apartment is very well priced and as an investment property it has many plusses. It is just a stones throw from two of the apartments that we visited on Sunday (See: “A Drive Around the Farm…” above)

This is a perfect investment property just at the “back” of the Croisette, and a very good rental proposition because of its position so close to the centre. It is very close also to Lao’s rental offices on Rue Pasteur.

Dos Croisette.

One Bedroom Apartment.

  • 52m² of living space.
  • 3rd floor of 6.
  • Exposition south.
  • Construction 1975.
  • View of the neighbourhood.
  • Large south facing terrace.
  • Asking price – 255 000€.
  • Price of the living space – 4903€/m²

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This large one bedroom apartment is situated just behind the Martinez Hotel where we have quite a number of rental units. It has been completely renovated so there is no work to be done, it has double glazing against sound and the weather, and a fully equipped modern kitchen. The very large living room with ample cupboards, the kitchen and the bedroom all open onto the balcony. There is a bath and shower and a separate toilet.

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The residence is a well maintained building with a full time guardian.

This is a lovely apartment for a home or holiday home. It’s also a possibility for long term residential letting, but not for short term conference and festival lets. It’s just a little too far from the Palais des Festivals for that.

As Delphine says – “coup de couer assure” – you are bound to fall in love with it!

Cannes Eden – Golfe Juan.

Two bedroom apartment.

  • 58.7m² of “official” living space.
  • 12.25m² of living space which is lower than 1.8m.
  • Deep terrace of 15.5m².
  • 2nd and top floor of a Bourgeois Villa.
  • Exposition south.
  • View panoramic – sea.
  • Two bedrooms.
  • One bathroom.
  • Separate toilet.
  • Abundant parking in the grounds for residents.
  • Asking price – 372 000€.
  • Price of official living space – 6 337€/m².
  • Price of total living space – 5314€/m².

P1040335 P1040363

This apartment immediately “did it” for Vicky and me.

It is gorgeous. The old and gracious villa is beautiful, and being on the top floor with the most stunning views from a wide open south facing terrace just ticked all the boxes. In addition the apartment itself has been beautifully renovated with a great deal of imagination and care. It is light, and functional, yet very special with a lovely open kitchen, spacious living room which is a natural extension of the outdoor living that the terrace affords, the bathroom is a treat with its “hydro-jet” shower, and the bedrooms are big, light and well equipped with cupboards. All the windows and glass doors are double glazed, and shutters are electric. The apartment traverses the building so there is always a through current of air and the owners chose not to install air conditioning – they say it is unnecessary.

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The house is in a big garden with plenty of parking and surrounded by some very exclusive and expensive villas. It is just 50m out of Cannes so technically falls into Golfe Juan. Effectively it is on the road between the two, on the Cannes side. The electric entry gate to the property is on the main road, but the villa is set far enough back and high up the slope so the road is not an issue.

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And the views…just superb. The bay lies in front with the Isles de Lerins and the fortress lit up at night just to the right. To the left is Juin les Pins and the Cap d’Antibes. Right below the villa and across the road is the rocky coast and beachy inlets that make up the coastline between Cannes and Golfe Juan. All the way along are palm trees, so tall that they seem to be at eye-level as one looks out at the sea.

This is in the same building. The ground floor is divided into three apartments. This one is on the left as one approaches the villa. It has a lovely shaded and paved patio which suits outside dining perfectly, and it has 220m² of garden. (All the lawn pictured). It is on two levels with the living on the ground level and sleeping in the basement level. It has been renovated but needs some design and inspiration in order to realise its potential. All the general descriptions of the previous property however apply – view, situation, parking etc.


Cannes Eden – Golfe Juan.

Two / Three bedroom apartment.

  • 75m² of living space.
  • Ground floor and basement.
  • Terrace off the living room.
  • Large patio at the side.
  • Extensive private garden.
  • Exposition south and west.
  • View of gardens and sea.
  • Cellar.
  • Abundant parking.
  • Asking price – 440 000€.
  • Price of living space – 5866€/m² (but you get so much more!)

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You saw this one in my last Property Letter – but look at the price! In addition you might get the furnishing thrown in (we have to ask first) and there is nothing to spend on it. And then we haven’t even started to negotiate yet. Imagine a further reduction plus the furniture thrown in…


Petit Juas – Saint Louis.

Two bedroom duplex apartment.

  • 100m² of living space.
  • 2nd floor plus attic of an historic Bourgeois home.
  • Construction 1902.
  • Views across the leafy suburb of Petit Juas.
  • Asking price – 445 000€
  • Price of the living space – 4450€/m²

We have an owner with a lovely top floor two bedroom apartment in an old building (of the same era) in Saint Jean, the very next street! It’s a great area, quiet and slightly old-world suburban, just a few minutes walk to the very centre of Cannes, and six or seven minutes to the Palais des Festivals and the beaches.

This apartment has been beautifully renovated and comprises the entire second floor (70m²) as living space. It is open plan and light with a lovely large and fully equipped kitchen and a guest shower and toilet. The front doors open south west onto a balcony which runs the entire width of the house. A staircase leads to the top floor which comprises a landing, two bedrooms and a bathroom and toilet.

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The apartment is unusual, has a great deal of charm, light and space, and the price is very good in the market today (a motivated seller).

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Just two houses away on the same street is a brilliant little French restaurant that is renowned among locals and aficionados alike for excellent cuisine, a very relaxed and charming ambiance, and very fair prices.

The apartment comes with all the extras one would expect of a modern top-class renovation, including air conditioning, double glazing, and a super-equipped kitchen. (I suspect that the furnishing could be negotiated too if it is of interest.)

I featured this farm house in my previous Property Letter. There is so much more to this property than the bare essentials below for anyone desiring a place in the French countryside, and I detailed many of its features last time around, so if you are interested please either go to my letter of 10th February or follow the link to the website:
La Grande Bastide.

An Early 19th Century Mas in Provence.

  • 150m² of living space.
  • On 3600m² of land.
  • Three bedrooms.
  • Three bathrooms.
  • A large terrace off each of the two main bedrooms (40m²).
  • An office area or boudoir.
  • Large open and light living room.
  • Large modern kitchen.
  • Swimming pool under construction (15m x 6.5m)
  • Asking Price 595 000€.
  • Price of the living space – 3966€/m²

An Overview:

This lovely property belongs to very good (French) friends of ours who bought it two years ago for themselves. A huge amount of love and work have already gone into it and 60% of the renovation of what was a ruin is complete. Circumstances have changed, they are both working in Cannes, and it is just a little too far for commuting daily, so they are selling (while work on it continues) at what can only be described as an attractive price.

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The Bastide Today. Tomorrow.

The house takes its name from the “Domaine Grande Bastide” of which it once was a part, and with whom it now shares a common boundary. The Domaine is a well known producer of fine Vins de Provence in the Department of the Var and is now owned by Danish people. One can (and we did) buy their wines and fine Provencal preserves and tapinades etc. in the beautifully appointed “farm shop” just down the road. Vicky and I are drinking their rosé and their red at home now, and they are lovely. (One can take one’s own container and buy their wines in bulk too, at €1.50 per litre!) Please have a look at their website on: and on

Tourettes 038

The earliest written record of the house is a sub-division registered in 1880, but it is believed the house was built in about 1820. The setting in the middle of vineyards and with an uninterrupted view of the twin mediaeval villages of Tourettes on the hilltop on the right in the pictures, and Fayence on the hilltop to the left is true Provence. I’m sorry it was such a dull day for photography, but it is mid-winter! A third well known and much visited hilltop town is just a few kilometres east and also visible – this is the village of Montauroux.

…and there is much more information on the website…

These last two more expensive properties are also more expensive per square metre, but they are in a different league due to their extraordinary situations. I include them because for the right person, they are perfect investments. And for what and where they are, they are not necessarily excessive.

Don’t forget this one from last time! I expect the price to come down substantially once we start to talk to the seller. A penthouse apartment in this block, on the Place de l’Etang, in Palm Beach….it is a dream property for someone. It is also highly rentable when a little help is needed with the mortgage. Please check it out again on the website?

Palm Beach – Penthouse Duplex.

Two bedroom apartment.

Antinea top-floor 009

Renovation opportunity.

  • 90m² of living space in the top floor apartment.
  • 5th floor of 5.
  • Extensive wrap-around balcony.
  • Bungalow on the roof (two additional rooms possible) with bathroom.
  • Huge roof terrace.
  • Exposition – panoramic.
  • View of the Place de l’Etang below, Palm Beach and the sea east and west.
  • Cellar in the basement of the building.
  • Garage in the basement.
  • ·Asking price – 799 000€.
  • Price of the living space – 8877€/m². (This does not include the “bungalow” (visible on the roof) – which is in fact a small flat, or a luxury entertainment area.)

I know! This apartment is on the market for 12 000€ per m²!!

And the reason I am featuring it again is because the (English) sellers are keen to sell now, so they have dropped the price to 1.5m€. We are seeing prices on the Croisette and in Palm Beach and Plage du Midi where the view is only half as spectacular and the apartment mediocre for anywhere from 15 to 30 000€ per m². This is not everyone’s market, but for those who want this quality, in Cannes, properties are changing hands at these prices and the apartment below is now correctly priced – dare I say it – it’s actually pretty good. And without doubt, this is the best property we have seen in this category, bar none. (Anyone wanting to compare other similar properties please let me know and I will send links to others that we know.)


Plage du Midi.

The View

Three bedroom apartment.

  • ·125 m² of living space.
  • 35 m² of terrace.
  • Three big bedrooms.
  • Three en-suite bathrooms.
  • Built – 1900 (Bourgeois)
  • View – panoramic sea views.
  • Aspect – north, south east and west.
  • Floor – 2nd of 3.
  • General condition – excellent.
  • Double glazed and air conditioned.
  • Garage and private parking.
  • Cellar.
  • Private steps down to the beach.
  • Asking Price – 1 500 000€
  • Price of the living space – 12 000€/m²

South east and the Isles de Lerins South%20west%20and%20the%20Esterel%20Hills

The View South East – Beaches, Boats, Sea and the Isles de Lerins and The View South West – Beaches, Sea and the Esterel Hills

This apartment in a turn-of-the-century building which is itself very well maintained, is an absolute gem in the centre of Cannes, and extremely rare. Seldom does one see or have the opportunity to acquire an apartment with these dimensions, and unimpeded views, right on the beachfront in central Cannes!

It sits on the side of the hill close to the Old Port of Cannes, and the views from the back terrace and the kitchen window are of the old town and the Old Church and fortifications of Le Suquet. The front of the apartment however looks straight south, literally overhanging the Plage du Midi. There is a private stepped walkway for residents down the side of the building and directly to the beach.

The building is Bourgeois (circa 1900) and has great charm, a grand

entrance, high ceilings, and is very well maintained. There is a locking single garage and a private parking space next to the front door.

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The apartment has been entirely renovated, and the living / dining room is large and very light. Through the double glass doors which lead onto the most spectacular terrace the view is breathtaking, from the Isles de Lerins in the east, through the unbroken expanse of the Mediterranean in front, with the bathing beaches and their restaurants below, to the Esterel Hills behind which the sun sets in the west. It is a wonderful panorama. Most unusually the two large main bedrooms both open over the front with the views and beaches too. One bedroom suite sits each side of the living room and each one has its own bathroom and shower and toilet en-suite. The third bedroom also has an en-suite shower and toilet, and opens onto a north facing sunny terrace, and enjoys lovely views of the old town and the ancient hilltop fortifications and church which dominate Cannes. Each of the three suites is independent, and closed off from the living area. The modern kitchen is fully equipped and also looks out over the Old Town and Le Suquet.

Please see more on the website:

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