A request for assistance in finding the right place to live.

Here's a place to talk about how to choose an area in France which will suit you.

A request for assistance in finding the right place to live.

Postby treskillard » Thu 15 Mar 2007 11:33

Dear Contributors to the Expat Forum,

I am a PhD student who is embarking on the barking mad route of researching amongst a British population 'somewhere in rural France'. I'm in a Department of Town and Regional Planning and I’ve been developing a project considering the way the British manage to fit into a countryside that remains essentially France even when the British may own significant portions of it.

This post is a request for help and advice. I would really value any comments - or opinions - or growls - or insults, well invective at any rate - that gave me some hints, clues and opinions about where to find hotspots of British migration in the countryside. By hotspots I mean, well just about anything – places where there are a lot of British – places with high numbers of school children from British families (I’ll be bringing three children with me so schools matter) – places where there have been problems – places with great successes. It’s up to you. I had considered actually carrying out a research project that looked at the on line forums themselves but I am not doing that. I am just interested to use this method of getting advice and assistance.

I am particularly interested in the area between Biarritz on the west and Narbonne in the east. In other words that whole area that includes the departments: 33, 40, 64, 47, 32, 65, 82, 31, 09, 81, 11, 66 and I guess, 46 and to a lesser extent 24 as well. I visited Eymet recently in February and I was struck by how quiet it was and how French it was. The hype that surrounds Eymet as the centre of British Perigord (Dordogneshire and all that) seemed to me on that chilly day in February to be over stated.

I’ve got to select a place to live down there and I’ll be going down in a few weeks for a trip around in a hire car looking at places – and people!? It’s definitely the rural areas that interest me and not the cities.

So that’s my post – a request for advice to help me identify where to visit.

Many thanks for reading through this post and I look forward to reading any replies.

Tim Neal, University of Sheffield.
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Postby ruggie » Sat 17 Mar 2007 22:13

Take a look around Pézenas, in the Hérault. The towns & villages still look & feel French, but there is quite a large Brit population and it's not resort country.
Whether you live in France, or just find the country interesting http://www.franceforfreebooters.com/201 ... nts-up-50/
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Thanks very much for that

Postby treskillard » Sat 17 Mar 2007 23:00

Yes, thank you for taking the time to reply. I'll (try) and do that, looks an interesting position? Have you been there yourself?


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Postby ruggie » Sun 18 Mar 2007 20:09

I use to stay with an English couple who ran a B&B in Caux, but they went to Spain last year (and returned to the area around Pézenas recently, having decided that setting up a business in Sapin was mor hassle than it was worth. I have other friends up in the hills near Lunas, west of Lodève.
Whether you live in France, or just find the country interesting http://www.franceforfreebooters.com/201 ... nts-up-50/
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Thanks and a dedicated forum

Postby treskillard » Sun 18 Mar 2007 21:25

I've never been out that way at all. I used to hang out around Montpellier and I think I walked through Lodeve once - no it was further up in the mountains, Lodeze? My partner's aunt and uncle live on a boat near Beziers so I'll probably end up over that way anyway presuming I don't get 'stuck' somewhere on route.

By the way I have only just noticed that there is a dedicated part of the forum for questions by researchers. I hope people don't mind this being here. Although am a researcher I'm not doing 'hard' research, I mean I'm not looking for contacts or interviews or any of that, just advice.
Tim
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speaking about research forums

Postby treskillard » Sun 18 Mar 2007 22:32

Ah Ha. I looked at the dedicated research forum. I didn't realise that there was practically an inundation of researchers looking to feret out something or other! I think the reason is because something is going on. Something both exceptional and mundane. That's where the excitement lies.
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Postby Jazzman » Sat 24 Mar 2007 00:36

Try the Luberon. This is Peter Mayle's A Year In Provence country. In department 84, The Vaucluse, capital city Avignon. This is a large area that stretches eastwards from Avignon to the mountains (Ventoux). There are many villages/small towns, all of them quaint and mediaeval and there are Brits living in every one of them. I lived in the region for 12 years. OTher cities within an easy commute are Aix-en-Provence, Cavaillon, Carpentras, Arles. Marseille is the nearest international airport. The region is well served by motorways, TGV and local rail.
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Thanks Jazzman

Postby treskillard » Sat 24 Mar 2007 10:24

Thank You Jazzman,
Is the Luberon very expensive? My sister in law said the same as you (that it had an interest for me because of the British population) and I recall being there in the past and thinking "this is really nice" but I did think that it had become, or always was, expensive? Perhaps it is a bigger region than I am thinking about really? The point about good communications is valuable. Many thanks for the post.
Tim
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Postby Jazzman » Sat 24 Mar 2007 14:54

I moved to the Provence in 1988 and it wasn't untill 1992 that I found something I really liked. I bought a mediaeval manor house with 16 acres of prime vinyard for 80,000 pounds and restored it.
That was around the time Peter Mayle was in Bonnieux writing his book. When it was pûblished the prices soared. When it was serialised by the BBC with the late John Thaw, the prices soared again. The Belgians bought much of what was left. Some of the most attractive villages are Gordes and Maubec, but there are dozens of others.
Going slightly further south east there is an area called Alpilles. Beautiful and less well known.
Nothing is 'cheap' anywhere at all nowadays in the southern swathes of France, even backing up into the Ardèche foothills and mountains which never used to be so well known.
The current rated value of my house and land is about one million. Nobody would buy it of course. I now live in Thailand. The house in France is rented on a long commercial lease. The tennants are running it as a gite.
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Amazing

Postby treskillard » Sat 24 Mar 2007 19:40

Thanks Jazzman,
What a story and what a journey. Where next I wonder...

The Alpilles. Yes, I liked them very much. I was caught in such a bad thunderstorm up there once I thought I would die. I liked it though!
T
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Postby Jazzman » Sun 25 Mar 2007 03:28

The Vaucluse, The Gard and parts of Bouche du Rhône departments are noted for their violent thunderstorms. In many ways the climate is almost tropical except that on higher elevations it can get quite chilly during the second half of November and much of December. From 1,000 metres there is snow too. The seasons are quite marked, March April is the time for the tropical downpours, the summer is long and dry, and even in winter it doesn,t rain very much.
The big disadvantage which has even caused a lot of people to move away from the Provence again is the Mistral. It can start at any time of the year. It can drive you mad.
It was one of the reasons why I left for Thailand in 2000.
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