For sale: rustic French village

The hamlet of Courbefy in central France comes complete with rustic buildings, horse stables, a tennis court and a swimming pool

Rustic French village

Sarah DiLorenzo/AP

If you are considering buying a holiday property, why not get an entire French village? Last week, the hamlet of Courbefy, in central France, went up for sale, complete with rustic buildings, horse stables, a tennis court and a swimming pool. The town was put on the auction block with a reserve bid of $390,000, but not a single interested buyer placed a bid.

Courbefy actually died years ago, during the rural exodus of the 1970s that emptied countless French towns. Since then, grandiose projects to revive it, like a kids’ camp and a conference destination, fizzled. The last attempt, to make a luxury hotel, was abandoned a decade ago, leaving the town to “thieves, ravers and squatters,” according to the French daily Le Figaro.

When news of the failed auction hit French media, Credit Agricole, the bank in posession of Courbefy was swamped with calls from as far as China and Qatar. Ghost towns and abandoned villages in the U.S. and Britain have been sold at auction before, fetching several million dollars. But an entire French village for less than the average house costs in the Greater Toronto Area? Surely that’s a bargain.

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For sale: rustic French village

  1. I’d go with the local knowledge.  I’m sure there’s some combination of tax laws, requirements for building preservation, protection of squatters’ rights, and the condition or location of the hamlet that makes it a worthless money pit.

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