Cannes Property Letter 85

Posted by admin in Property Letters | November 17th 2009
Apartment “Cannes Californie” – See details below.

Dear All,

This is likely to be my last Property Letter in 2009, so I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and health, happiness and prosperity in


There are “extra issues” surrounding people’s already difficult decisions as to whether and when to invest in property in France, how much to invest, how much to borrow, and over how long a period. They are issues that are out of our control – and they change all the time. So one might say that judgements are required, and these can be wrong, slightly wrong, slightly right, or very right, either by accident or through financial brilliance, a faculty that we don’t all possess!

These “extra issues” are such things as relative strengths of currencies, changing rates of interest, and foreign currency restrictions (especially in South Africa).

Many of us don’t feel knowledgeable or confident enough to make these big decisions, so we act on what we can see before us or “know”, especially if the alternative is to lapse into paralysis.

What do we know today?

  • The market on the Cote d’Azur bottomed last winter and is slowly recovering. It didn’t fall anywhere near as hard as in the rest of France, and France in turn didn’t fall as hard as the UK and the USA for example. Together with Germany it was able to emerge from recession fairly quickly and return to growth. The property market is moving upwards again too.
  • Finance is being offered and interest rates are attractively below 4%.
  • One does not need to “cash in” ones US$ or sterling (both remain low against a strong Euro) in order to borrow in Euros. There are alternatives to this and these alternatives may be worth investigating. (If you are interested I will supply you with information and reliable and professional contacts for further discussion).
  • The South African Rand remains strong and seems unlikely to get stronger (most predict that it will weaken over the next couple of years). Add to this the fact that the South African government has just increased the “once in a lifetime” allowance from R2m to R4m, the annual allowance per person from R500 000 to R750 000, and the business allowance for external investment from R50m to R500m (as I understand it) and one has a situation that for South African investors abroad looks very much brighter. (This regulatory change, welcome as it is, might be partly aimed at weakening the Rand to help exporters?)

With all things considered, is it a good time to invest? I think so. There are some very good properties coming onto the market.


We have visited some very interesting sites for future new builds recently, some with work underway and some yet to start. I don’t normally feature these programmes in my Property Letters but I feel that there are some who might be interested, and I invite you to contact me directly if you are.

We have access to apartments in buildings under construction and off plan by some of the most well respected developers nationally, at constructors’ prices, in Cannes and in Juan les Pins.

  • Excellent positions.
  • Guaranteed delivery dates in 2010 and 2011.
  • Finance options available.
  • Staged payments.
  • Rental options (if required).
  • A choice of price and size options still available.
  • Sophistication inside and out.
  • Materials with a touch of charm.
  • High quality amenities.

Prices are fairly predictable for this type of investment, and a rule of thumb says that the price upon completion is normally better than that paid (and often a lot better). Transfer and notary charges are about 2 – 3% instead of 7%, and there is by law a 10 year constructor’s guarantee on the building.

Please contact me for much more detail on specific projects if you are interested.


Credit Cards in France.

In recent Property Letters I have pointed out that “the French do not have a culture of credit” which has helped them weather the storm of our current recession better than most. Yesterday Vicky was at the bank enquiring on behalf of an owner as to whether he might be able to have a French credit card, and the answer is that “yes, he can, but interest is charged from the day of the transaction at 18% – 20%”. No wonder the French don’t do much credit! All French people carry their “Carte Bleu”, as we do, but it is a debit card. Credit cards are still largely unknown in France.

Long term visas for non-EU citizens.

Another owner recently took the trouble to attempt to clarify their position in respect of long term visas with a senior Consul. We are so often asked for our advice on this issue that I thought it worth relating what they discovered.

The longest visa one can apply for is 5 years, and that is issued at the discretion of the Consul. It would be influenced by whether one has had a French visa previously and for how long. If the previous visa was for 6 months then the next visa might be for a year, and if the previous one was for a year, the next might be for two years and so on. In essence one has to prove to the French that ones intention is not to stay permanently in France. At the end of the day though – it’s at the Consul’s discretion.

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,



When one imagines the perfect situation for an exclusive villa in Mougins, one thinks of “space”, “panoramic views of sea and countryside”, “ancient olive trees”, “timeless terraces”, and “quiet”.

If that’s your ideal, then please read on:

Ancient terraces
Ancient Olives

There is not much constructible land that meets those criteria left in Mougins, but here we have:

  • 3 500m² of land.
  • COS : 0.15 (meaning a house can be built with floor space of 0.15 of the land area, or 525m²)
  • Wide views of the sea, mountains including the snowy Alps, the rolling hillsides of Mougins district, and the Mediaeval Old Town of Mougins on the hilltop opposite. Wow factor complete!
  • The aspect of the slope and the view is predominantly south and west, with views of the Alps in the east.
Alps in the
Hilltop Old Mougins south
Sea in the south

The land consists of ancient terraces and some (14) beautiful old olive trees, citrus and figs. Those trees that need to be removed for construction
purposes can be re-planted to suit the landscaper’s needs. Centuries old olives are relocated regularly and successfully now, with mechanical help and

Existing house
Existing studio
Living room of existing house
View from the window
  • Existing buildings: – at the bottom corner of the plot is a house built in Napoleon’s time (200 years old). It has a lovely picture window (added later) looking south from a large living room, a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. It is still used by the owner’s family for holidays and is in perfect order, if dated. Below it is a huge cellar carved into the rock, perfectly dry and as the seller points out with conditions ideally suited to storing wine.
    There is also a two car garage and a studio apartment adjacent. The house is about 80m² and the studio about 20m², and in theory if all this is preserved it should be deducted from the 525m² of construction allowed, leaving 425m² (still a big villa). However there are other options:

    • One might apply to the municipality for planning permission for 0.15 new (the entire 525m²).
    • One need not necessarily buy the buildings which are in the bottom corner – the sellers are prepared to apply for a sub-division of the
      buildings and keep them.
    • One could (perhaps) destroy existing buildings and start again.
  • Three big advantages already exist:
    • The plot is linked in to municipal sewage disposal.
    • Water is connected.
    • Electricity is on site.
  • Although the plot stands at the very end of a virtually private narrow cul-de-sac the fire department have issued a certificate – their vehicles can turn there! However they will require the installation of a hydrant.

Construction costs for new buildings which include landscaping, a swimming pool and driveway, range from 2 500€ to 3 000€ per m². Therefore the
cost of construction of a full sized villa is in the 1m€ to 1.5m€ range.

Asking price for the land only – 935 000€.

Asking price for the land and buildings – 1 210 000€.

The numbers speak for themselves – for less than 2.5m€ you will have the villa of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE – The properties below 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.

Petit Juas – Apartment in a little house. One bedroom apartment.

  • 43m² of living space.
  • Little balconies.
  • 23m² of private garden.
  • Bourgeois (late 19th / early 20th century).
  • Aspect east and west.
  • Views of the old Petit Juas and rooftops – and a tiny bit of sea.
  • Asking price – 214 000€.

This is a charming apartment on the first floor of a two storey house, down a little cul-de-sac barely wide enough for a small car, amongst equally charming little houses all around. It is a gorgeous area. The apartment itself has been renovated and comprises a living room with small balconettes, a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and separate toilet.

Downstairs one passes on foot through a (head high) tunnel below the building to exit in the front south facing garden which has been partitioned into three lots, one for the owner of each of the floors. The building is on a slope of course – it is a very hilly little area on the edge of central Cannes. The garden allocated to the first floor is adjoined by a workshop and a little studio with water and electricity at basement level, and one can easily envisage the area as a summer kitchen, a popular practice here, or taking out the partition to create a single larger room.

The area is quiet, quaint, and has an “old France” character and feel. Parking is a nightmare as you expect in these narrow streets, but somehow the atmosphere is very relaxed and happy. People living in Petit Juas never want to move! The apartment is fine for longer term letting, but just a little out of range for conference rentals.

Boulevard Carnot.

Two bedroom apartment.

  • 90m² of living space.
  • 1st floor of 5.
  • Exposition east and west.
  • Views of the city.
  • Terrace over the street.
  • Asking price – 267 000€.

Look at the living space and look at the price!

This very spacious apartment has been cheaply renovated, so it all needs to be done again (in my opinion), but at this price one can afford to. It is on a busy
street leading to the centre of Cannes, less than 5 minutes walk to the railway station and eight minutes to the Palais des Festivals. However, the building is not gracious as many in this street are, but a 1960’s building in need of some care. That doesn’t mean there’s anything structurally wrong with it. I
don’t think there is. It just needs some t.l.c. and perhaps it’s on the cards – one can find out.

The apartment traverses the building, and there is a lift. There is also air conditioning in the two big bedrooms which face the hillside on the western side (no
traffic), and in the living room which opens via a balcony to overlook the bustling street below. It has one big bathroom and a separate toilet. There is very obviously potential here at this price, for someone brave wishing to “turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse”! It can certainly be done and someone will inevitably do very well here.

Freres Pradignac (again) One bedroom duplex apartment.

  • 42m² of living space.
  • Top floor of 4. (Lift – yes)
  • Exposition north.
  • View across the city Visit This Link.
  • Asking price – 325 000€.

What this little street has is position and great character. Just a few months ago I wrote about an apartment in Rue des Freres Pradignac and it sold almost
immediately. Here is another.

The street is named after two brothers, heroes of the Resistance who died at the hands of the Nazis, and it is only two blocks long and one block removed from the Croisette, and it is right in the centre of town, close (two minutes) to the Palais des Festivals. It consists of early 20th century character buildings with cast iron filigree balconettes lining a tiny one-way street that almost never sees a car. Apart from deliveries it is to all intents and purposes pedestrianised. It buzzes with life and local colour issuing from the string of small cafes and restaurants that spill out onto the pavement for its entire length. It’s a very good little street, and a very attractive position for rentals to conference delegates.

The apartment on the 4th floor (with a lift) has been renovated and includes air conditioning and double glazing. I think all existing furnishing which has been provided for the conference market could be included if required (to be confirmed). It comprises a living room and open plan kitchen on the main floor and a bedroom and shower on the mezzanine.

Croix des Gardes. Two bedroom apartment.

  • 70.59m² of living space.
  • Ground floor of 3.
  • Aspect south and west.
  • View of gardens and the sea.
  • Terrace 22m².
  • Garage.
  • Cellar.
  • Asking price – 465 000€

Croix des Gardes is the suburb west of Cannes and against the hillsides with lovely views across the Bay of Cannes and the Esterel mountains to the west. It has very well maintained residences, a little far from Cannes to benefit from conference rentals although only 10 minutes away by car. It is a suburb full of lovely homes and holiday homes, and of course has longer term rental prospects if rentals are the objective.

This apartment is in a very well maintained residence of standing built in 1991, with security. It is on the ground floor and benefits from views across the lovely gardens to the pool (there are two pools in the complex), and has lovely sea and mountain views beyond. It comprises a living room, equipped kitchen, two bedrooms (one of which opens onto the terrace) and a bathroom and separate toilet. There is a garage in the basement and a cellar.

Guy’s Pick of the Month. Palm Beach Lerins. Two bedroom apartment.

  • 80m² of living space.
  • 20m² of terrace.
  • 4th floor of 5.
  • Aspect west.
  • View unbroken across central Palm Beach.
  • Asking price – 490 000€.

This is a very good option right in the heart of Palm Beach. It is on the 4th floor of a good building and traverses it from east to west so benefits from a through current of air. It is also on the end of the building so only has neighbours on one side.

The entrance hall is large and the living room also spacious (the two could / should be combined to make a really spacious living area). Both bedrooms are also spacious and the main one, as the living room does, opens onto a lovely wide terrace on the western side of the building. The second bedroom opens eastward onto a gardened area separating the residence from another which faces east and looks over the beach. There is a bathroom and a separate toilet, and an independent kitchen.

The balcony is the real bonus, being large and with views from the hills in the north to the Place de l’Etang in the south, across a school and a playing field
which can and will never be developed. Therefore the view, which includes a tiny bit of the Croisette and the sea between buildings, is unobstructed for hundreds of metres in all directions. It really is extremely open by Palm Beach standards and has the elevation to best benefit from the fact.

The apartment is in its original state – clean but dated and uninteresting inside. It lends itself perfectly to a moderate upgrade. It needs the hall and living room to be combined in order to maximise and make use of otherwise wasted space. It also needs a new kitchen and a second bathroom and toilet, a coat of paint, and some electrical upgrading. The floors are generally fine and don’t need to be touched.

The apartment in this position, close to beaches on both sides, right on the bus route to the centre of town which is anyway only a 15 minute walk away, and in the heart of the most desirable Palm Beach peninsula is a perfect investment property, a perfect holiday home, and a perfect rental option – or combination of all three. The asking price is very reasonable.

Tristan Bernard – Presque Croisette. Two bedroom apartment.

  • 84.75m² of living space.
  • 2nd floor of 5.
  • Exposition south and east.
  • View unobstructed including Croisette and some of Port Canto.
  • Terrace – 13m² south facing.
  • Asking price – 630 000€

This was two apartments, a studio apartment having been incorporated to enlarge an originally one bedroom apartment. It is very spacious with two bathrooms with toilets, and a guest toilet. The equipped kitchen is separate and opens onto its own north facing balcony. The living room and separate dining room are large and open onto a lovely south facing terrace. The possibility exists to very easily close the opening from the living room to the dining room to create a very pleasant third bedroom if desired. It would have its door, which already exists, on to the entrance hall, and would open onto the terrace via the wide glass doors.

The apartment has two cellars in the basement, and a very large garage. It is air conditioned, double glazed, the building is well maintained with a guardian and has a lift. It does require some renovation and modernisation as it is dated – however the position at the Cannes end of Palm Beach, overlooking Port Canto and the Croisette, and just a few short metres to the beaches is wonderful. A final advantage – it is about 100m from the little supermarket and the patisserie and shops of the Village Sablons.

Palm Beach Ground Floor. Two bedroom apartment.

  • 71.3m² of living space.
  • 170m² of garden and driveway.
  • Ground floor of a superior 4 floor block.
  • Aspect – west.
  • Views of the garden.
  • 4 Cellars (yes, four! I don’t know why).
  • A garage in the basement of the building.
  • Asking price – 630 000€.

The apartment in the heart of Palm Beach peninsula is just a stones throw from the village and shops, the beaches east and west, and the Croisette. It has position. It has also been very recently renovated to a high standard, with a lovely big living room opening onto a deck in the garden and air conditioning.

There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a very modern and fully equipped kitchen. The apartment traverses the ground floor and the garden wraps around from west, to north and east, and both bedrooms also open onto it. The garden is simply and economically designed to be clean and easy to look after. There is a garden gate so it is quite possible to drive many cars into the premises if required. One has an overriding impression of being in a villa, or a house and not an apartment.

The building was constructed in 1965 and is very sound, clean and looked after with a full time guardian.

Gazagnaire. Two bedroom apartment.

  • 66m² of living space.
  • 20m² of terrace.
  • 2nd floor of 5.
  • Aspect south west.
  • View of the sea.
  • Swimming pool.
  • 2 Parking spaces.
  • Cellar.
  • Asking price – 640 000€

This sea front apartment is in a high quality 1970 building with a guardian. Lovely gardens are very well maintained and the swimming pool is one of the few in Palm Beach. It is on the eastern edge of Palm Beach overlooking the rocky coastline just 200 metres from the beaches of Gazagnaire (a short walk along the sea’s edge to the beach). It is a beautiful situation and will make a wonderful holiday or second home.

The entrance hall leads to a large living room and kitchen, both of which open onto the glorious terrace with spectacular views of the sea, the Islands of Lerins and the Castle which was prison the “The Man with the Iron Mask” for 14 years, and immediately below the apartment the lovely gardens and pool. Both bedrooms are on the opposite side of the building so the apartment benefits from a through current of air. A bathroom and separate toilet is shared between them.

It has electric blinds and shutters and double glazing, and although it is used by the owners for holidays, it needs a freshening coat of paint and some minor repairs before occupation – possible new bathrooms and kitchen if one wanted to modernise them. There is a cellar and two private parking spaces.


  • 222m² of living space on two levels.
  • Total roofed area 368m².
  • 80m² of attic of which 30m² can be converted to habitation.
  • 1009m² of garden.
  • 36m² of terrace.
  • Aspect south and west.
  • View of garden & pool, Juan les Pins, and a tiny sea view.
  • Heated pool and Jacuzzi.
  • Covered parking for 2 cars.
  • Total parking for 6 to 8 cars.
  • Asking price – 1 100 000€.

Juan les Pins is at the neck of the Cap d’Antibes and is most famous for its beaches.

Peter Sarstedt’s 1969 hit “Where do you go to my lovely” contained the lines:

“When you go on your summer vacation

You go to Juan-les-Pins

With your carefully designed topless swimsuit

You get an even suntan on your back and on your legs”

The good news is that nothing’s changed in the last 40 years – they’re still flocking to Juan les Pins for an even suntan, for the world renowned annual jazz festival that features the likes of Joe Sample, Tracy Chapman and George Benson, for shopping, top class restaurants, the famous casino and much more. It is just 8 km from Cannes, the other side of the bay and clearly visible from Palm Beach.

The villa is in a secure and gated “domaine” with about 12 others, and set back from the coast but only about a five minute walk away from the front, and
from shops and schools. It is very well situated for residential or holiday use. It is close to the main road from Cannes to Antibes and from the top floor one is aware of some sound of traffic – less so on the ground floor. The sound however is not invasive, and the domaine is so well surrounded by dense hedges and vegetation that it is very muffled.

There is a lovely big entrance, living room and a separate kitchen on the ground floor, as well as a bedroom, and a completely separate studio apartment with its own entrance. On the first floor are three spacious bedrooms, the main bedroom and bathroom being huge. All open onto lovely south facing balconies.

The garden is well established, automatically irrigated and contains some hundred year old olive trees which are a lovely bonus. The pool and Jacuzzi are delightful, and there is an equipped and well utilised summer kitchen outdoors, with an eating area under cover. The feel of the place is of a very well loved and happy home – we really felt comfortable there. There is nothing that needs doing – it is ready to move into.

Haut California: Two bedroom luxury apartment.

  • 140m² of living space.
  • 40m² of south facing terrace.
  • 15m² of east facing terrace.
  • 11th floor of 12.
  • Aspect full east and south and west.
  • View 270º – Panoramic from the snowy Alps in the east, through Nice and Juan les Pins, the Cap d’Antibes, the Iles de Lerins and Cannes, to the Esterel Mountains in the west.
  • Swimming pool.
  • Tennis courts (2).
  • Two very big lock-up garages in an immaculate basement.
  • Large cellar.
  • Sophisticated and discreet security.
  • Asking price – 2 000 000€.

The residence is amongst the most exclusive in Cannes. It is 12 floors high (the 12th accessible only to the owners by private lift) but has only 48 apartments. It is set in its own beautifully gardened park of 12 hectares on the hillsides of La Californie, with some of the most spectacular views of the French Riviera imaginable, from the snowy Alps in the east to the red Esterel Mountains. One can clearly see Nice in the distance, and the whole of the Cap d’Antibes, Juan les Pins and Cannes just below. The Isles de Lerins; St Honorat with the oldest working monastery in Europe and St Marguerite home to the fort in which The Man with the Iron Mask was imprisoned for 14 years are just offshore. The views are simply breathtaking.

The residence is beautifully maintained with guardian and staff, all common areas are immaculate, and security is paramount but discreet. Many small touches of detail impress, such as a covered area close to basement lifts and garages, with trolleys provided in case one needs to offload shopping or luggage.

The apartment itself has the most wonderful living area 80m² in extent, opening onto the balcony which wraps around the apartment, south and east. The master bedroom also opens onto the balcony with exquisite views east and south, and the second bedroom with a private balcony looks east towards Nice and the Alps. The current owners only require the main bedroom so the second one is furnished and used as a study and second more intimate living room. Both bedrooms have a bathroom en suite, and there is a third, guest toilet. The spacious kitchen is fully equipped, and sweeps through the building to open onto the undeveloped and natural hillside behind.

There is an integrated sound system with speakers set in to every room, central locking and blind and shutter control, double glazing, and security door and alarm. I don’t think any detail has been overlooked.

Cannes Californie. 3 Bedroom apartment.

  • 200m² of living space.
  • 20m² of terrace.
  • Construction – Bourgeois.
  • 1st and top floor.
  • Aspect south.
  • Views across Cannes to the sea.
  • Two separate 25m² studio apartments.
  • Garage.
  • Asking price – 2 460 000€

This is a wonderful Bourgeois (late 19th century) building in Californie overlooking some of the most noble suburbs and homes of Cannes. The residence is part of a security “domaine” which comprises the main villa now divided into four apartments, and about 10 quality villas in extensive and luxurious grounds, all beautifully maintained with a high degree of discreet security. A guardian looks after the domaine.

The apartment is exceptional, and measures 150m² with a 20m² terrace, but it comes with two studio apartments and a garage and cellar.

It has been renovated to a very high standard and comprises a large entrance hall and grand living room with fireplace, which opens onto the spacious terrace with sweeping views across Cannes to the sea. It has an equipped open plan kitchen and two large and one small bedroom each with bathrooms; one bedroom opens onto a beautiful terrace.

The studios are on the ground floor and one has been renovated, the other requires some renovation. Both have kitchen and bathroom, and both are suitable for rental if that is an attractive option. They are not connected to each other, or to the main apartment.


  • 250m² of living space.
  • 3000m² of land.
  • Aspect south.
  • Views of the countryside and village.
  • Stone construction – 1975.
  • Swimming pool.
  • Pool house.
  • Independent apartment.
  • Double garage.
  • Parking for 8 cars.
  • Asking price – 2 500 000€.

This is a lovely villa built of quality materials in the 70’s. It has been upgraded, renovated and loved, and has all the additional amenities one would expect
such as electric shutters and blinds, automatic gates etc.

The villa feels spacious with large volumes – it comprises an entrance hall and large living and dining room with fire place, and an office on a mezzanine with
access to a terrace. There is an independent equipped kitchen, and three bedrooms each with bathroom en-suite. A large terrace leads onto the pool, and there is a pool house with shower (and possibilities for an extra apartment or summer kitchen), and an independent studio apartment with its own entrance.

The well maintained garden has established and lovely trees, and there is a double garage and parking for about 8 cars if required.

This villa should be seen.

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