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The Classic Chic Vacation Homes of France's Côte Basque

Most dreams of a summer in France focus on the well-travelled southern regions of Provence and the neighboring Côte d'Azur. Accordingly, prices in those areas end up inflated. For those who'd like a charming French country home without an absurd price tag, the less-trampled Côte Basque, on France's Atlantic Coast, offers up plenty of classic chateaus and Gilded Age apartments for less. This well-maintained villa in Biarritz sits amid a half-acre of park-like grounds with a swimming pool and extensive plantings. The 4,300-square-foot house is the very picture of a perfect French getaway, with a broad sun porch, a lush lawn, and a chic interior that's anything but stuffy. Located in one of Biarritz's most desirable neighborhoods, this villa is listed for around $2M.

? Biarritz, a popular summer destination for the French aristocracy for more than a century, also boasts its fair share of ornately detailed apartment houses. This three-bedroom flat might not have a particularly desirable interior, but the building itself is mighty impressive, with an open center atrium and imposing facade. After an interior face lift, this $1M apartment could be something special to compete with the best of Cannes.

? Apartment-style living is available in a park-like setting in Biarritz as well, where this beautiful villa has been divided into several flats. It combines the ease of living and maintenance of an apartment with the grounds and gardens of a country chateau for around $1M. The unit consists of two bedrooms, two baths, and three grand entertaining rooms, along with all the historic detail one could hope for in a country home.

? For something a little newer, venture outside of town to this hillside villa, listed for around $1M. The 2,700-square-foot main house was built in 1990 and it shows, not always in the best ways. The overall look inside is a bit sterile, but at least the setting doesn't leave much to be desired.

? For the full effect—that is to say the combination of luxury and space—check out this chateau with views of the Pyrenees mountains. Listed for $1.08M, it is located a bit far from the beach, but with four acres of lush grounds and 6,400-square-feet of classic chateau, this riverfront property is worth the drive to the sand. In addition to the impeccably-maintained, vine-covered main house, there's a smaller guest house that might also be appropriate for a caretaker.

· Residential Biarritz [Emile Garcin]
· Grande Plage [Emile Garcin]
· Biarritz Centre [Emile Garcin]
· Souraïde [Emile Garcin]
· In the bearn chateau [Emile Garcin]