Village Houses in France - how to buy

Gites for sale in SW France






In French property parlance, the 'village house' is something special.

It nearly always refers to a terraced house, without a garden or yard, right in the middle of a tight network of ancient streets.
Village houses seldom refer to recent building; indeed it is more often associated with mediaeval villages or small towns.
The property may be associated with a garden or allotment, but this will frequently be outside the village limits (or walls) in an area devoted to vegetable gardens.

Above all, the term 'village house' means a relatively cheap property. This is because previously the nature of the villages in question meant that the lack of light, the proximity of traffic and the difficulty of renovation made these houses less attractive. The desire of local people to escape to modern bungalows on the outskirts has resulted in cheap and relatively unrenovated properties in the heart of countless French villages.

Today, these properties are becoming more and more attractive.


There are four main reasons:
• By-passes and ring-roads have reduced motor traffic in the older villages almost completely. They are now a delight to wander through and to live in.
• Modern machinery, hoists and lifts make it easier now to have building materials delivered on site: tiles, plasterboard and beams can all be delivered to any location
• Planning laws in some regions allow owners to open up 'terrasses provençales' – roof terraces – at the top of the building.
• Lock and leave. Not having gardens or yards, these properties are much easier to shut up for the winter Thus they are very suitable for second homes.

What to look for when buying a village house.

• Access: can you get a van or car up to the door?
• Parking: is there space for parking next to the house or will you have to use a communal park further away?
• Orientation: does it face south? How much light will there be in winter?
• Attic space: Could it be converted into bedrooms? Opened up as a roof terrace?
• The village: is there a café, a baker, a grocer, a Primary school?

Here's one of our most interesting village properties: in fact it's two houses in a terrace. House 1 is where the owner lives: three bedrooms, family bathroom and big kitchen/diner, utility room ... and a big four-bedroomed gite (house 2) next door. Out back there's a deck with pool and a garden. Garage with space. details

Village house with gite for sale


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

Please note:

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.

Legal details:

SARL GITES A LA FRANCAISE RCS Toulouse n°: 531 694 925


RESPONSABILITE CIVILE: Assurance : Allianz 41404407

GITES 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. 2018