Secondary Residence or Not?

Gîte Bozel

Through the dining room window of the holiday house, I can see a shroud of mist floating lazily around the mountain peak, 500m. Accompanying the mountainous view is the incessant chirping of the birds for the past half an hour or so. Not soon after, the morning symphony is intruded by the ringing of the church bells. Why does the church ring the bell at 9:52 on a Sunday morning? Perhaps it’s meant for the 10 o’clock church service but the clergy has it set 8 minutes in advance to prevent the flock from arriving late. 

Rent ot Buy a Holiday House

Today is the start of our 5-day holiday in Bozel, a small town of less than 2,000 inhabitants nested 800 m high up in the mountain, in Savoie, a region in the southeast of France. We are taking advantage of the spring school break to escape to the mountains. This is our third year renting this holiday house in Bozel. We have tried a few other holiday houses, but this one in Bozel remains our favourite. We are lucky that we have found this rental in Bozel. It’s cosy, not-too-expensive and it’s location is rather centralised (we can easily get to the various surrounding trails easily).

Gîte Bozel
When the weather is warm enough, it's always pleasant to have a meal in the garden—the mountain view enhances the flavour of the food.

This vacation rental constitutes part of the ground floor of one of those ubiquitous Savoie houses that are constructed with stone walls and wooden structure. We have our own entrance and a little garden is at our disposal. Since both Silviu and I are both mountain lovers, having a favourite hideout that we can visit during our holidays is really convenient. It’s kinda of like our secondary residence.

In France, it’s common for French families to own a second home, more like a holiday home, especially if they live in big cities. The second home is usually near the sea or in the mountains where they can escape to during the holidays. 

From time to time, Silviu and I will toy with the idea of getting a second home. If we were to get a second residence, it would be situated not far from where we currently live and it would be in the mountains. The second home should be accessible in less than three hours so that we can visit the place whenever we want. For instance, we can easily pop over during a long weekend, and do not have to spend too much time on the road. Unfortunately, even if we were to have the means to purchase a second home, it would not be geographically possible to find a dwelling in the mountains and is within 3 hours drive from where we live. The nearest mountains are in the Vosges, west of France, and it is five hours away by car. 

I guess our mountain house dream can only be fulfilled when we retire, sell our primary residence and move to the mountains. In the long term, it may make more economical sense to rent than to purchase a secondary home. Apart from the purchase cost, there are also the property tax and the maintenance cost to pay. In the mean time, we will continue to rent holiday houses whenever we go on holidays.  

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