New Zealand versus the Ariège (not rugby!)

According to a recent article in the New Yorker; in the week following Trump’s election, 13,401 Americans, took the first official step toward New Zealand residency by registering with the country’s immigration authorities, presumably looking for some kind of bolt-hole should it become necessary. I mentioned this to a French friend and his reply was characteristically patriotic (if slightly tongue in cheek) which, loosely translated was; ‘that’s because they haven’t discovered the Ariège.’

On further research, it turns out that he may not have been too far off the mark. Certainly, in their search criteria, these American buyers in New Zealand appear to be looking for all the elements also to be found here in the Ariège.  For example, another article on the same subject in the FT points to the ‘growing number of self-sufficient estates on the market in New Zealand that are typically pushed to offshore buyers to meet the recent trend for the global super-rich hedging against the collapse of the capitalist system…..they want privacy, security and a beautiful rural landscape,” says Matt Finnigan, sales associate at Sotheby’s International Realty New Zealand. “Sustainable properties generally come with their own water supply, power source and the ability to grow food. In addition, there is the access to the ocean, mountains, lakes, beaches, streams, water, numerous outdoor activities, a safe environment and great little cities and communities while the nature in New Zealand is still relatively untouched. Plus more and more people aspire to the idea of being able to live off the land with utterly natural and pure food sources.”

This could equally be describing the Ariège region and, indeed, what many buyers are looking for when they buy property here which explains why the region is becoming more and more sought-after in this uncertain post Brexit, post Trump, divided and uncertain world. By a wonderful freak of nature, the Ariège region happens to be set in an area of glorious, unspoiled and outstanding natural beauty, much of it national park with the Pyrénées providing a stunning backdrop. It has a great climate, plenty of sunshine and rainfall with both forests and fertile soil with fantastic food and wine, much of it organic. All of which provides the ideal conditions for getting away from everything and for living ‘the good life’. This area feels protected and authentic with traditional values and an abundance of mutual tolerance for different people from various backgrounds and origins; a very strong ‘live-and-let-live’ attitude. There are plenty of opportunities for living off-grid and, breathtaking scenery in abundance along with affordable property – you don’t need to be a billionaire to live here. In addition, the great advantage that the Ariège has over New Zealand of course is that it is much more accessible from just about everywhere.

Hence, my Ariège neighbour (despite naturally being biased) is probably not far wrong in his assessment after all. Get in touch if you need any help with your property search or have any questions about buying property in this region:


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