Town or country? This is the question that many families ask themselves before buying a property. Convinced that choosing one means sacrificing the advantages of the other, many of us struggle to decide… When buying a property, the first issue to resolve is the type of place in which we want to live: rural or urban, peace or bustle? Town or country? But does choosing one option really mean giving up the other?
Choose your lifestyle
The first step towards your new home
It can’t be emphasised enough that your choice of setting is as important as your choice of type of home. Contemporary duplex apartment, semi-detached villa surrounded by greenery, cosy studio or traditional house? Buy or rent? The possibilities are numerous and each has clear advantages. And above all, there is the question raised at the beginning: town or country? Making this sort of decision means deciding on the type of lifestyle that you and your family, if you have one, want to lead. But is this distinction still valid today? Do such large differences still exist between town and country life?
From country to town and back again
A bit of history
The industrial revolution – in the 19th century outside Britain – heralded the start of a rural exodus. To find better-paid work, or simply attracted by the bright lights and promise of big cities, country people increasingly left their place of birth to try urban life. Since those early days, the trend has grown, with towns and cities becoming increasingly overcrowded. To stem the tide and allow everyone to live in harmony, the Swiss architect Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, devised a system of dormitory towns at the end of the 1920s. This idea eventually proved to be counterproductive on a social level, as it led to the ghettoisation of most of the less affluent part of the population.
Faced with this urban overcrowding, many families chose to move away from large cities, preferring the greenery and peace of a traditional country house to the daily stress of city life. Today, thanks to improvements in public transport and the revolution in communication, town and country are closer than ever. The feeling of isolation of country life has diminished, while new constructions means it is increasingly possible to live in a town while also enjoying rural peace and quiet.
A house in the country
The simple choice for families or something more?
With its wide green spaces, tranquillity and privacy offered by its homes, the countryside of western Switzerland is ideal for those seeking peace and quiet. Traditionally associated with a classic family life of garden, children and pets, a rural setting is certainly paradise for kids and dogs, but it would be simplistic to leave it at that. Secluded country mansion or charming villa at the heart of a village? The country means different things to different people and is home to many more than you may think.
The preferred choice of elite athletes, celebrities and CEOs, a country house offers maximum privacy and harmony with nature. What better than being able to admire vineyards, century-old trees or golden cornfields while jogging? Far removed from pollution, everyday stress and workplace pressures, a villa surrounded by nature is the zen option, and is now affordable to all – which is why many young couples today are leaving their city apartments and buying houses in the country. Globalisation is now reaching the most isolated areas, but the results are not as negative as sometimes portrayed. Rural residents enjoy more facilities and amenities than 20 years ago, greatly reducing the sense of isolation. In short, the received wisdom that the countryside is only for the elderly is now outdated.
A wealth of real estate possibilities
The cities of western Switzerland are as famous and representative of Switzerland as mountains and fondue. Bordering the shores of the magnificent Lake Geneva, with their incomparable lifestyle, numerous boutiques and thriving cultural scene, our cities are extremely attractive destinations for people looking for a place to settle. Urban living in our region means social and cultural diversity, gastronomic and musical variety, and networking and job opportunities. Real estate options are many and varied, but the final choice does not just depend on your age or bank balance, but also on your lifestyle.
You don’t have to move to the country to find a peaceful environment and, conversely, you don’t have to live in the city centre to be close to your workplace. As we mentioned in the introduction to this article, the differences between town and country are gently fading away, giving rise to new ways of approaching the purchase of a house, apartment or other type of property. Recently, the growth of offers (new-build houses or apartments for sale) due to strong demand tells us that the lifestyle sought by many is indeed an excellent compromise between the two ideas discussed here: the peace and green of the countryside close to urban opportunities.