Three of the best; Houses in France

A year ago, this restored country house near Cordes in the Tarn, south-west France, price 900,000FF, would have cost a British buyer around pounds 120,000. But the franc is falling against the pound, making it a more attractive proposition to buy a home in France. Now the house, set in walled gardens, with a pigeon tower and additional stone buildings, costs nearer to pounds 100,000. Creeper-clad, with whitewashed walls and red tiled roof, it stands in country which enjoys long hot summers and short mild winters. It's a long drive from Calais, but the nearest airport is Toulouse, an hour-and-a-half from London. Through Anglo-French Agence l'Union (00 33 563 30 60 24).

This little cottage with large barn behind is in a tiny village 10km from Mayenne in Normandy. It sits on a slope, giving three levels inside the house. Stone built, with a slate roof, it needs considerable work to be done at the back. It is south facing, with a pear tree climbing up the front, and comes with a reasonable-size orchard. It is basically three large rooms with fireplaces at both ends, but has an attic that would convert. It has water and electricity. About pounds 9,500 through Splendid Isolation (00 33 243 03 09 21).

This two-room stone cottage on the edge of a village five minutes from the medieval town of Lassay les Chateaux, in Normandy, is in fairly good condition. Its attic could be converted into two more bedrooms and a bathroom. It has a fireplace with a wood burner in the main room, mains water and electricity, but no septic tank. The garden is about quarter of an acre and is surrounded by fruit trees. Around pounds 9,800, through Splendid Isolation, as above.

Rosalind Russell

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