Types of real estate in France

The types of real estate in France are very diverse, and each has its own characteristics. To choose between buying an apartment, house, villa or land for construction, you need to study all the characteristics, understand the nuances, and analyze the advantages and disadvantages. However, before diving into the economic and administrative subtleties, you should understand the types of residential and non-residential real estate in France.

Types of real estate in France in apartment buildings

Apartment on the top floor

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This type of real estate in France is a kind of studio. Small rooms under the roof itself were previously used for servants, hence the surviving name for such apartments – “chambre de bonne”, which translated from French means “maid’s room”. We are talking about a miniature room in which modern French people fit the most important minimum for living. But this does not always work out: even if you managed to install a shower somewhere between the bed and the refrigerator, the toilet is often located on the staircase. Apartments on the top floor are popular with students and tourists.


This type of real estate is widespread not only in France. In the French concept, a studio is an apartment consisting of one room, which simultaneously serves as a bedroom, kitchen, living room and office. The kitchen can be decorated in American style, i.e. separated from the general space by a bar counter, or in French – integrated into the salon. In some layouts, the kitchen is located to the side, in a small nook, or, if the apartment has an elongated shape, it is separated by thin walls and a sliding door.


Apartments in France are classified according to the number of living spaces. If the description indicates that the apartment is three-room (3 pièces), it will consist of two bedrooms and a living room, which, in turn, can be combined with a kitchen and/or dining room. Most French apartments have storage rooms that vary in size: one will only hold cleaning items, while others often have space for a washing machine and other household appliances, hidden cabinets for wardrobe or food. Often apartments have a balcony or terrace, on which in the warm season you can easily organize another living space.

Apartment with garden

This type of real estate in France, such as an apartment with a garden, deserves special attention. These apartments are located on the ground floor (rez-de-chaussée) and usually have a door from the living room and/or dining room opening onto a small garden or shared patio. The garden is not only a privilege of large apartments. Often even small studios on the ground floor have access to the garden, which is a clear advantage.


A duplex is a two-story or two-level apartment. This type of real estate in France can be located both on the top and lower floors. Depending on the size of the duplex, the second floor may contain only a bedroom or several rooms. A duplex may have a garden on the lower floor of the building and a terrace on the upper floor. By the way, two levels for this type of real estate in France are not the limit. There may be three floors, and the apartment in this case is called a “triplex”.


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Loft as a type of residential real estate appeared in France in the 1980s, but has become truly popular in the last 15 years. In a sense, a loft is similar to a studio – this is also the only room that serves both for waking and sleeping, however, unlike a studio, the loft space is much larger. Most often, this type of real estate is located in former industrial premises (plants, factories), so lofts are characterized by high ceilings and a large number of windows.


In French, this type of real estate is also called an apartment-terrace. A penthouse is luxury housing, it is always located on the top floor of the building and often (but not always!) the terrace is on the roof, from where beautiful views open up, be it the rooftops of Paris or the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, Alpine snow on the tops of the mountains or the waves of the Cote d’Azur . This increases the cost of the object, so you will have to pay more for your own “observation deck”.

Types of individual real estate in France


The most common option for a detached house with its own small plot is a two-story one, but French cottages can have more than two floors or, conversely, just one.

The layout and number of rooms depend on the area of ​​this type of property, but in the “average” cottage in France, the ground floor is occupied by a kitchen, living room, storage room and toilet, and the bedrooms are on the second floor. Under the roof there is most often a fairly spacious attic, and some residents turn it into another living space.

By the way, the French are not very fond of Anglicisms, so the word “cottage” is unlikely to appear in the description: this type of real estate in France is called either a house (maison) or a pavilion (pavillon). Cottages can stand alone, next to high-rise buildings, or they can be part of a residence, when there are many houses of the same type in one microdistrict.


This type of real estate in France differs from cottages in its area, and, accordingly, more obvious privacy, because the villa is often adjacent to a very spacious garden. But the most important difference between the pavilion and the villa is that the second has its own swimming pool.


This type of real estate in France is a country house. However, we can talk about either a modest “dacha” worth 25,000 €, hiding somewhere in the vicinity of Plougonvers (Brittany), or a 12-room house in Courchevel for 12,000,000 €.


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Although many people associate the word “château” with kings and counts, this type of real estate in France does not necessarily represent an old castle. Of course, in some cases the buyer will actually end up in an 18th-century stone house with 15 rooms, but this type of real estate also means modern mansions or hotel particulier, literally a private hotel. The area of ​​a chateau can easily reach 1000 m², and they can be located both outside the city and within its boundaries.

Movable property in France

We cannot ignore these types of real estate in France, which – paradoxically – are quite mobile and are gaining serious popularity among the most daring and romantic.


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These are small covered boats, peniche, inside of which there are real apartments: small in size, with low ceilings, narrow windows, but with everything necessary for a comfortable life. If the boat is in good working order and on the move, then you can happily forget about the land tax, but you shouldn’t rejoice too early – peniche, despite the modest living conditions, costs a lot due to the need to pay for parking on the embankment and regular technical inspection.

Tiny House

Literally “tiny house” is becoming an increasingly popular type of real estate in France. Such a dwelling is something between a house and a trailer trailer; it can be installed in some place (for example, on the territory of your friends’ villa or chateau), and, if desired, transported, say, to a forest or to the shore of a lake. The average area of ​​a tiny house is 15 m², the sleeping area is usually located on the second level, and the main space is divided into segments necessary for life (kitchen, living room, etc.), as in a studio or “maid’s room”.

Non-residential real estate in France


A detached garage or parking space near a house or underground parking can be sold along with an apartment, but this does not always happen. In some cases, you will have to go through additional hassle in finding a place to park your car. Some French people may rent out or sell their parking space because they do not have their own car.

Land plot

This type of real estate in France comes in two types: one can be used to build buildings (we can talk about either a private cottage or an apartment building), and the other is intended only for various types of recreation or sports (for example, fishing), livestock farming, planting etc..

Commercial real estate

There are several types of commercial real estate in France. These can be retail premises of various sizes, occupying separate buildings for supermarkets or the first floors of buildings for boutiques, salons or pharmacies; premises for offices located in business centers; hangars (for example, for warehouses), which will most likely be located in industrial zones outside the city or at least far from its center.

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