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the mark to the approaching the sensible. ‘That’s where we come in: we can shed light into the dark cor- ner of value in southern France and look under every stone to find what a house is really worth.’ He cites a collection of houses that


have been marketed by various ambi- tious agents for figures such as €12 million, ‘which eventually sold for nearer €9 million’, showing that, even after years in the doldrums, vendors haven’t quite got their heads around the new values. ‘It’s true. Every price is negotiable,’ agrees Nicola Christin- ger, the manager of the Provence office of buying agent Home Hunts, which is based in nearby Uzès (00 33 970 44 66 43).


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The rock fortress and village of Les-Beaux-de- Provence seems to grow straight out of the gritty limestone of Les Alpilles


In terms of areas, be wary of the


D99 road, which bypasses St-Rémy to the north—it can be heard for miles, especially at night. Much better to head south to Maussane-les- Alpilles, Paradou, Mouriès, Font- vieille and Eygalières, which are ‘exquisite Provençal villages’, says Mrs Cristinger. But be prepared to compromise,


warn all the local experts. ‘British buyers in particular are after archi- tectural integrity,’ believes Lissie Templeton, Winkworth’s agent in St-Rémy. ‘They want the subliminal reassurance that the proportions of the house are correct—just as you might have in a Georgian or Regency coun- try house. That’s not easy to find.’


Too true, adds Mr Baldock, who


adds that a house needs to be dans son jus in order to really attract the serious buyers.


The Lubéron


Lying just the other side of the Autoroute du Soleil is the wide, green valley through which the Romans are said to have marched on their way to conquer Spain, taking advantage of the shade and shelter from the Mistral provided by the Petit and Grand Lubéron hills. The fertile floor has, for centuries,


been highly productive in cherry trees, vines and olives and, perched high up on both sides, stand a collec- tion of stone-built villages, many of


Country Life International, Spring 2014 49 ➢


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