Following in the footsteps of their British cousins, Canadians are buying up vacation property in France in droves.
They are mostly aging and affluent and don’t mind flying thousands of miles to bask under the French sun.
Taking advantage of e-mail and Internet armchair shopping, they are buying up old farmhouses in Provence, town houses in Languedoc-Roussillon, and even small castles in Midi-Pyrenees, as easily as they might buy property in the picturesque British Columbian interior or Gulf Islands.
Predictably, they say they are drawn to the charm of the French countryside by the local foods and wines, beautiful centuries-old buildings and enlightened French attitudes or the joie de vivre.
But mostly, they are attracted by real estate that is cheap compared with close-to-home property.
“There is so much history and culture in France compared to Canada because it’s so much older,” said Sheila Rambeau, who over the Christmas holidays was engaged to be married in France bid on property near Bergerac the following day.
“I love exploring all the little villages. I love cooking too. I could go to a market every day,” she said. “It’s certainly cheaper than if we bought a place on the west coast of Canada.”
She said the rent on her apartment in Vancouver’s downtown Coal Harbor district is higher than the mortgage payment on her French retreat.0