Coastal Provence - Land of the Rich and Famous

A guide to property in coastal Provence or the French Riviera and the celebrities that own homes there

Provence Property - a history of popularity with celebrities

The French Riviera or coastal Provence has a long history of popularity with the rich and famous. Isadora Duncan, Scott Fitzgerald, Noel Coward, even Anton Chekov the Russian playwright and Nietzsche the great philosopher all loved the Riviera. Many early "celebrities" owned property here from the turn of the century, and even prior to this, however, probably the most iconic figure of modern celebrity who did much to promote the Riviera was France's own Brigitte Bardot, whose film "And God Created Woman" was promoted by the Cannes Film Festival in 1956. Bardot subsequently moved to Saint Tropez (Saint Tropez Property Guide) two years later.

The Cannes Film Festival

The famous Cannes Film Festival, which began in 1946, played a not inconsiderable part in attracting celebrities to the Riviera. The world's most prestigious film festival, stars and wanabee stars have flocked to the town of Cannes (Cannes Property Guide) every year for the event, bringing with them a host of journalists and photographers, all making sure that the town of Cannes and the French Riviera came to the world's notice. The very name of Cannes has become synonymous with celebrity.

The attraction of the French Riviera

Undeniably beautiful, this stretch of the French Mediterranean coast has all the natural attributes that endear it to anyone with enough financial resources to buy property there. The climate is fantastic, quite the best in France, with seemingly endless blue skies and golden sunshine, while the sea is that glorious shade of turquoise that gave the region its name of the Côte- d'Azur (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Guide). The towns of Nice (Nice Property Guide), Juan les Pins (Antibes Juan Les Pins Property Guide), Cannes, Antibes (Antibes Property Guide) and Saint Tropez have become household names, epitomising luxury and glamour, and are packed with grand residences old and new just begging for celebrity owners.

Celebrity lifestyle on the Côte-d'Azur

Where, in the world, can a celebrity lifestyle be so well played out? The setting is perfect, the opportunities for enjoying the good life endless. The Mediterranean Sea and the harbours and marinas of the Riviera are perfect for berthing and using luxury yachts (Property near Sailing Ports / Marinas in France), while the natural hills, cliffs and coves offer a chance of real privacy, inaccessible to the public and unable to be overlooked. The towns and cities are cosmopolitan and affluent, offering designer shopping, exclusive gourmet dining and all the luxuries that money can buy. Also of importance is the fact that service providers in these places are used to dealing with celebrities, know what is required and make sure that it is delivered.

Who owns property in coastal Provence today?

Current property owners in the French Riviera today include Elton John and David Furnish, whose opulent mansion overlooks the sea and the town of Nice from the top of Mount Boron, from where they host spectacular parties and to which other celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham, the late Elizabeth Taylor and Elizabeth Hurley have variously been invited. Tina Turner is another celeb who loves her fabulous French Riviera home, overlooking Nice and Cap Ferrat.

The list goes on...

You could also mention Bono and Julian Lennon, neighbours in Eze (Eze Property Guide), Roman Abramovitch who has his Riviera home in Antibes (not to mention his yacht, often moored in Nice), or the Saudi Arabian Royal family among many others. French Riviera property owners from the past include Coco Chanel and the British actor David Niven, who were also enamoured of the area and owned fabulous properties in Roquebrune Cap Martin (Roquebrune Cap Martin Property Guide) and Jean Cap Ferrat (Saint Jean Cap Ferrat Property Guide) respectively.

The Provence property market today

The inherent glamour and desirability of the French Riviera will never really fade. Some properties have decreased in value, making the Riviera perhaps more accessible to non celebrities with lesser budgets, but desirable property here is still priced at a premium. It is, simply, one of the world's most desirable areas for property, and that will always come with a certain price tag. If your budget is limited, you should perhaps forget about Nice, Antibes or Cannes (although small apartments can be surprisingly reasonable in the less fashionable areas of even these towns), and head slightly inland where prices are lower (Property in Provence (inland Provence) and Celebrities). The holiday rental market remains excellent in this region, so buying to let when you are not in residence is a good way to help to finance your French Riviera property purchase.

Additional articles which may be of interest:

French Riviera Property - an insider's guide
French Wealth Tax
The Sale of State Owned Property in France
French Property Prices
Property in the south of France
French connections - Travel to Provence and Côte-d'Azur in South-East France

About the author

Joanna Simm moved to the Languedoc area of south-west France in October 2004 having found her property through French Property Links.

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