for sale in FRANCE
In most of Western Europe there is a tradition of water mills spanning every available river and big stream, harnessing the power of the flow to turn millstones or operate simple machinery. The industrial revolution rendered most of these installations obsolete. The buildings - solid stone-built edifices for the most part - survived and became sought-after dwellings in many parts of Europe. Today, ecological and environmental concerns have sparked a resurgence of interest in these structures, largely because of their potential for generating carbon-free electricity.
But before looking at the purely financial returns possible, it must be pointed out that water mills are extremely pleasant places to live. Yes, they have water churning underneath them day and night; yes, there is always a river, a mill-race and sometimes a mill-pond nearby ... but they are rarely humid, damp or in danger of any sort. Sure, they can be flooded in times of exceptional rainfall, but centuries of experience has meant that builders of these installations have learnt how to cope with flooding (living quarters are always above the flood level) and how to channel the water so that it doesn't affect the structure of the building. After a 'flood of the century' it is often the local watermill which is the only building left standing.
Potential for electricity generation is calculated by measuring the flow of water (cubic litres per second) and the 'drop' between mill-race at the front and back of the mill.
It is interesting to note that, in France, mills built before the French Revolution in 1789 have an 'inalienable right' to water from the local river. If the authorities cut off their mill-race or stream then compensation can be sought.
GITES à la française always has a few water-mills on its books. Here are a few of our more interesting ones:
18th century mill + gite
6 hectares land
Vallée de la Save
Mill + 3 gites
7 hectares - riverside
Mill as B&B + gites
Mill with 800m² living space
18 hectares forest, lakes
What is a 'gîte'?
The word 'gîte' refers to a furnished, self-catering holiday house that is let to tourists over short periods. It can be a cottage, villa, chalet or apartment.
Originally known as 'gîte rural' the concept has spread from this rather narrow definition to encompass more or less any furnished, short-let property in the countryside, at the seaside or even in big towns.
Still relatively ignored by French law, a gîte can be set up anywhere in France as long as two important declarations are made: firstly to the Mairie of the commune where the gîte is situated and secondly to the Recette Fiscale of the owner. In other words, as long as the authorities know what you're doing and as long as you're paying taxes on your earnings ... everyone is happy.
What is a 'chambre d'hôte'?
This is a bed & breakfast establishment. Technically it involves home-owners welcoming tourists into their own home, putting a bedroom at their disposal and giving them breakfast in the morning. The maximum number of bedrooms permitted is five, after which the establishment is reclassified as a hotel.
However, there is a fine line between 'chambre d'hôte' and 'gite d'étape' which could be described as a hostel. Even then, it is customary for hostels of this type (usually in mountainous regions or on national footpaths - GR) to stick to the 5 bedroom rule although one of those rooms might be a dormitory sleeping a dozen people.
Where we work
GITES FOR SALE FRANCE operates throughout South-West France: in Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon
GITES FOR SALE FRANCE is an ESTATE AGENT (agence immobilière), registered under French law and subject to the laws and regulations of the EU and France. It has been vetted by the French Ministry of Justice and holds all the necessary insurance.
It should not be confused with 'finders' or 'house-hunting' services which have no legal standing, no financial guarantee and no estate agent's licence.
SARL GITES A LA FRANCAISE RCS Toulouse n°: 531 694 925
CARTE IMMOBILIERE HTE GARONNE N° 2197
RESPONSABILITE CIVILE: Assurance : Allianz 41404407GITES A LA FRANCAISE ne manie pas de fonds. A ce titre, et en conformité de l’article 38 de la loi (n°2010-853) du 23 juillet 2010, elle est disposée de garantie financière
GITES FOR SALE FRANCE (Gîtes à la Française S.A.R.L.) 17 rue des Roseaux, 31400 Toulouse
© Gîtes à la Française S.A.R.L. 2016