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Serenity's sunny balcony

From high-fliers to foreign families, a variety of different types of buyers regularly choose to purchase property on the French Riviera. In this five-part series, we get up close and personal with a selection of these happy buyers, asking them about the buying process and their property goals.

Based in London, Richard and Sarah are now retired. They purchased their lovely apartment Serenity in April 2014.

Richard and Sarah, why did you choose to buy an apartment in Nice? In particular, why did you choose your neighbourhood?

We wanted a home in France for some time and we almost bought a place in Languedoc last year. However, the new French tax changes made full time residency difficult for us, so we decided to buy a holiday home somewhere along the Riviera that was also a reliable, long-term investment. With the vagaries of the global economy to contend with, investing in a property in a popular location seemed sensible. We know that sun, good food, wine and beautiful surroundings make us very happy and making Nice our European base was an irresistible choice.

Nice meets all of our needs for having fun and enjoying French life. It’s a great base from which we explore some of the most fabulous parts of France and Italy. It’s easy for friends and family to visit, as the transport links are second to none. It was clear to us that Nice is investing in its infrastructure, parks and attractions, but hasn’t become overdeveloped, unlike some other parts of the Riviera.

After careful consideration, we chose the Carré d’Or neighbourhood as it’s a prime residential area and very popular with tourists. We knew what we wanted, but there weren’t many three-bedroom places in the area. We wanted good living space for us plus room for friends, family and kids. ‘Serenity’, as we decided to call our apartment, was newly refurbished and with its white walls it was a blank canvas ready to go. It has high ceilings, loads of light, and was in a well-maintained building. It’s so quiet, yet we are in the heart of the city – you can see the top of the famous Negresco Hotel from our window. It ticked all our boxes and we fell in love with it straight away.

There's plenty of space to stretch out and relax in Serenity's living room

What has been the biggest surprise about owning property on the French Riviera?

The biggest surprise has been how easy the sale has been. You need to be patient for all the paperwork and time allowed for processing things the French way. But generally it’s straightforward and logical. Having Nice Pebbles and their recommended English speaking notaire to guide you through and explain everything avoided misunderstandings and pitfalls. The French process of house buying can feel quite complex and alien to start but once you get into it, it makes sense and its clear that the rules and process are actually there to protect the buyer, whatever country they come from.

Once we had Serenity set up and looking beautiful, Nice Pebbles did all the management and prep needed on their side really well, so that within a few days of our leaving, the first guests booked by Nice Pebbles had already arrived!

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