Saint-Jean-de-Luz, in constant demand
Since the late 19th century, Saint-Jean-de-Luz has continued to win the hearts of all its visitors. Occupying a coastal strip 7.5 km long near the border with Spain, this commune of timeless charm is symbolized by its superb bay.
In wooded and flowery grounds of 1,240 m2, this contemporary house of approx. 420 m2 enjoys a quiet protected environment close to the Sainte-Barbe neighbourhood. 1.925.000 €. Barnes Côte Basque (05 59 51 00 08).
A pretty commune on a human scale, Saint-Jean-de-Luz recently won the "Town of Art and History" label awarded by the Ministry of Culture. Playing host to remarkable 17th-C. buildings which have forged the architectural identity of its town centre, Saint-Jean-de-Luz nurtures many secrets involving mysterious pirates with streets bearing their names. The jewel in the crown is the house of Louis XIV near the harbour, built in 1643 by a rich shipbuilder by the name of Joannis de Lohobiague. It was in this residence that the young monarch stayed for over a month when he married Maria-Theresa, the Spanish Infanta and Archduchess of Austria.
"Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a family market. Property turnover is lower than in other towns on the Basque Coast, so availabilities here are always scarce, in both Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure. Set back further from the shore, the communes of Ascain and Urrugne offer a wider array of possibilities," explains Philippe Thomine-Desmazures, associate director of Barnes Côte Basque. This agency on Boulevard Victor Hugo at the heart of Saint-Jean-de-Luz currently has a portfolio of about 20 charming and high-end properties within the area. Entirely unaffected by the period running up to the presidential election, demand has remained extremely steady. "Lots of families are looking for their ideal holiday home. Some orient their search towards traditional town houses offering a pleasant life-style, with the beach and shops within walking distance. However, these classic houses conforming to architectural regulations do not benefit from generous outdoor areas, and some of them do not have any at all," says Philippe Thomine-Desmazures. By way of example, he mentions a 3-storey residence of 440 m2 a short walk to shops and the beaches. Benefiting from a terrace of 50 m2 and a small garden of 125 m2, this property requiring renovation and slightly overlooked is on offer at 1,198,000 €. "A bike-ride to the beach and centre, the peripheral area offers more alternatives. A few contemporary houses can be found here, such as a villa of 400 m2 offering 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms. Set in grounds benefiting from a pool, it is in the high-class neighbourhood on the hill of Sainte-Barbe. It bears a price-tage of 1,925,000 €."
These comments are shared by Caroline Laffontan of Laffontan Immobilier, based on Boulevard Thiers since 2010. "Since March 1st, we have seen lots of activity. Interest in Saint-Jean-de-Luz is constantly on the rise, and there is no longer a real "low season". More and more working people, especially from Bordeaux and Paris, are coming to live in Saint-Jean-de-Luz on a permanent basis, deciding to take advantage of a more serene life-style. Since the introduction of the Paris-Bordeaux TGV line, Saint-Jean is only 3 hrs 45 minutes from Paris. Our clientele is becoming more diversified." Caroline Laffontan recent handled several sales concluded after just one visit when the properties were on offer at their true market value. As an example of very highly-prized homes, she mentions the recent sale at asking price, ie. 1,260,000 € (including a cellar and parking place), of a 2-bedroomed apartment of 90 m2 prolonged by a terrace of 40 m2, on the front row, with a view of the bay.