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Blue Sky

Where in France

Good Evening to all our DS friends living in France.

We are thinking of selling up here and moving south. Have been for some time now. We want to stay in France for now as our two eldest boys are in school and more fluent in french than we are.

We are thinking of looking for a place further south than our current location (Haute Vienne) as we are well into the Massif Central and get very cold winters. It isn't too bad at present but I can tell it is on it's way.

I'd be interested to know from our other members who live in France what the climate is like in their area and what the property prices are like and what the locals are like.

We came to this part of France in 2004 hoping to mix with the locals and drop into the local culture and at first that seemed to work very well. Trouble is, many English familes have since moved to this area and now we seem to be grouped in with the English abroad society whether we like it or not. This is not why we moved to France.

Further to this, most of the land around us - which was all agricultural land when we moved here is now being sold off as building plots for new builds. It wouldn't bother me so much if the buyers were like-minded folk that were interested in environmentally friendly methods of new-build such as straw bale houses and the like but unfortunately most of them are 'townies' moving out into the country without a clue what it is about (and will probably demand a supermarkwt selling battery chicks to be built close by for convenience) and will continue to consume alongside petitioning us not to keep noisy pintards (Guinnee fowl)

Yes. I am well peeved.

What we would like is a plot of land in a very very remote area where the temperature rarely goes below zero and the snow melts before it has settled.

So ...

Anyone know of a decent plot of land with a couple of derelict(ish) buildings on, in a not too cold part of France?

We don't want to be part of an 'English community' although we would most certainly consider it should it be a community who's ideals were in line with ours. Self-sufficiency, self-reliance & holistic.

Ps. EDF electricery & France telecom need not call!
Tay

Simon,

The temperature difference between where you are and where we are/were is huge in winter. A good friend lived in the Creuse for 5 years, and was regularly snowed in; in fact she said that winters there were worse than on Dartmoor! She has been in the Indre for 15 years now and is much happier. Whenever we visited her (50 minute drive) we always saw a drop in temperature of 2 degrees. The land there is much higher; that seems to make the difference. The Indre, although there are quite a few rosbifs there, and especially to the west (Haute Vienne/Vienne border) is less harsh in winter as the land is much lower.

If you can find anywhere on the west coast (Aquitaine or Poitou Charentes), you will find much nicer winters, but higher property prices.
Blue Sky

Thanks Tay.

We live in hope
Tay

Perhaps I should have added that we're in the Brenne regional park; there is no new-building going on near us; but a lot is going on elsewhere in our patch of the Indre. And everyone keeps noisy birds, including guinea fowl; the locals despise the townies and Parisians!
Went

Hi Simon

Sorry to hear your dismay - hope you can find somewhere suitable.....remember there is always Northern Spain......along the coast there is rarely snow, the past two year the lowest temp we have had is -2 (overnight), temperate climate where veg can be grown all year round.....

But realise you would prefer France.......good luck

Ian y Luis
Blue Sky

Tay wrote:
Perhaps I should have added that we're in the Brenne regional park; there is no new-building going on near us; but a lot is going on elsewhere in our patch of the Indre. And everyone keeps noisy birds, including guinea fowl; the locals despise the townies and Parisians!


You just after a babysitter on hand? Wink

We will be looking West as well as South as I also miss occasional trips to the coast.

The plan is to do a bit of touring round in the summer hols. I wanted to get an idea of where best to start.
Northern_Lad

Re: Where in France

Simon wrote:
Trouble is, many English familes have since moved to this area and now we seem to be grouped in with the English abroad society whether we like it or not. This is not why we moved to France.


Bloody Brits, going over there, buying up knackered properties, doing them up, installing heating and providing holiday homes! It ain't right, I tell you!
vegplot

Re: Where in France

Northern_Lad wrote:
Simon wrote:
Trouble is, many English familes have since moved to this area and now we seem to be grouped in with the English abroad society whether we like it or not. This is not why we moved to France.


Bloody Brits, going over there, buying up knackered properties, doing them up, installing heating and providing holiday homes! It ain't right, I tell you!


There are plenty of instances where Britons (and others) have overly restored properties making them prim and proper and losing that French rural charm they once had. Gravelled drives, uPVC windows, smooth rendered walls, shutters removed, hanging baskets... Sigh!
pricey

Re: Where in France

Northern_Lad wrote:
Simon wrote:
Trouble is, many English familes have since moved to this area and now we seem to be grouped in with the English abroad society whether we like it or not. This is not why we moved to France.


Bloody Brits, going over there, buying up knackered properties, doing them up, installing heating and providing holiday homes! It ain't right, I tell you!


Laughing Laughing Laughing Sorry that made me laugh Embarassed

Isn't it warmer where HWH is Simon?
BahamaMama

We have fallen totally for the Ardeche, although it can get very cold in winter. It is a very rural/agricultural region and the population density is low and consequently prices are low. It is an area of extremes with very hot summers but there is always a breeze to make it bearable and the colder winters. But totally, totally stunning - we can't wait to make the big move to be over there full time.
Blue Sky

Re: Where in France

vegplot wrote:
Gravelled drives, uPVC windows, smooth rendered walls, shutters removed, hanging baskets... Sigh!


Couldn't agree more, but what really bloody annoys me are all the new properties being built by the townies. Hundreds of 'salmon' coloured boxes dotted all over the countryside with perfectly square lawns and concrete everywhere
vegplot

Re: Where in France

Simon wrote:
vegplot wrote:
Gravelled drives, uPVC windows, smooth rendered walls, shutters removed, hanging baskets... Sigh!


Couldn't agree more, but what really bloody annoys me are all the new properties being built by the townies. Hundreds of 'salmon' coloured boxes dotted all over the countryside with perfectly square lawns and concrete everywhere


Not unlike the west coast of Ireland.

The problem is one of urban style in a rural setting. Rural areas are meant to be untidy, it's good for biodiveristy but for some it looks tatty and they have a reall need to tidy up. I blame rubber gloved retired housewives myself Surprised

You see it every where, rural lanes being turned into sterile, high maintenace, veins of urban street furniture.
Anders

Hi Simon,

Sorry to hear you guys are unhappy about your place, - and I agree about those 'salmon' coloured boxes.
Our place gets cold in winter too, - though it is weird how 5 km down the road in Le Grand Bourg it always seems to be 5 degrees colder. Doesn't seem like you have to go far to find temperature differences. if you aren't local how are you going to know about that in advance? I guess further south should be warmer if you stay low. However you need rain too. When we decided on our location we thought a lot about water, having seen some places further south in France as well as Portugal that were very very dry. No chance of growing anything much without lots of water from wells or the mains.
Anyway, I'm sure you've thought about all this already. We just hope you find something you like better.

Cheers,

Anders and Judith
thos

Re: Where in France

Simon wrote:
Hundreds of 'salmon' coloured boxes

It is amazing how ugly modern French houses are. Arouind here about half the new builds are 'cottage' houses which look quaint. (The other half are 'modern' with funny shapes and lots of concrete or built from ugly brick). There's a lot of building going on here, but at least here you buy a plot of land and have a house built, so there are no estates.

As far as farms go, here's one that's just been sold at €500K for 5 ha. http://www.immoregion.be/pages/detailvente.php?OxySeleCode=00002127705 but it looks as if it needs a bit of work.
Contadino

Re: Where in France

Simon wrote:
Trouble is, many English familes have since moved to this area and now we seem to be grouped in with the English abroad society whether we like it or not.


For the first 20-odd times I went to buy milk from the local farm, the farmer would harp on about how another Inglesi family had bought such-and-such a house. Each time I told him that I don't want to spend time with expats, and prefer my Italian friends for company. Nowadays, he's much better, but it was an uphill struggle. I can really empathise.

Here, if you make your place in the country too urban, you'll get robbed. It's as simple as that. 2 weeks after building work finishes, you'll get robbed and they'll take everything even if it's nailed down. You put a pool in, you'll get robbed. You put up a satelite dish, you'll get robbed. You rip out a vegetable bed and put in flowers, you'll get robbed.

I couldn't condone it, but it's a great way of keeping the rural lifestyle.
Blue Sky

Re: Where in France

Contadino wrote:
Here, if you make your place in the country too urban, you'll get robbed. It's as simple as that. 2 weeks after building work finishes, you'll get robbed and they'll take everything even if it's nailed down. You put a pool in, you'll get robbed. You put up a satelite dish, you'll get robbed. You rip out a vegetable bed and put in flowers, you'll get robbed.

I couldn't condone it, but it's a great way of keeping the rural lifestyle.


Are you suggesting I have a change of occupation. Laughing

Wink

I love Italia. Love it! It is my favourite country of all the ones I have visited. The only thing stopping me from looking there is the thought of pulling the kids outa school to learn a new language (yet again).
gil

Aveyron ?
sean

gil wrote:
Aveyron ?


You just want to see Simon dancing don't you?
gil

sean wrote:
You just want to see Simon dancing don't you?


Eh ? As in sur le pont d'Avignon ?

Quercy, Cahors, etc etc ? Lot, Lot-et-Garonne....
sean

gil wrote:
sean wrote:
You just want to see Simon dancing don't you?


Eh ? As in sur le pont d'Avignon ?


Yep. Sorry, it seemed funnier when I was typing.
hardworkinghippy

Crikey, Simon, I thought you were very happy where you were. Neutral

Here in Bergerac, we get very hot spells and in winter cold snaps which never last long. To be honest they're very welcome because they help control pests and our animals' internal parasites.

The weather's generally mild and very comfortable and we're outside almost all year round. Gardening here is a pleasure, although we've had drought on occasions and I don't know whether or not that's a long term thing. Cool

The "English Abroad" society that you speak of exists anywhere in France where houses and land are available. The South West is full of English!

I'm fortunate because I've a ready-made French lifestyle because Fabrice was born in the village and that makes it easier for me to fit in - although to be honest I'll always be treated as a foreigner and "lumped in" with les Anglais. Apologies to all English, my remark is in no way racist or nasty, but there are a lot of English who get up people's noses but there are also lots of newcomers who are French and have started to complain about our way of life disturbing theirs...

If you're not happy then move, but make sure that you have a good few like-minded folk around you - whether they're old French peasants who appreciate what you're up to or new age Frenchies or English or whatever. Having other people helps your energy levels in the same way that having Downsizer helps a lot of us to stick with our daft (according to other people) ideas and ideology.

People who have ideas like ours need to search out like-minded folk, I've got loads of commitmnt and tons of energy to change the world (well my bit of it anyway) but if you don't share those ideas it soon becomes a real struggle.

I've met a lot of great people through working in the agricultural college and if you can get out a bit and meet them, there are plenty of people who are proud of "slow food" and positive about décroissance (downsizing) and you won't be seen as a freak. The people we spend time with are very cosmopolitan and mostly bilingual and I find that helps me a lot to stay on an even keel. Laughing

I think that that's what you're looking for, and you'll find that where there's a lot of incomers or in a university town or if you're lucky you could find an established "green" community to become part of.

I'm not advertising, and I'm not in a hurry but we've a bit of land - about 5 acres with a "start from scratch" ruin on it for sale with outline PP, I can send you details if you like or we can help you to find something near here - but it's expensive in Dordogne and it might suit you to try Lot et Garonne or even further south.

It takes a long time to build up contacts and friends - bear that in mind (I'm sure you have) before uprooting for pastures new....

Irene x
vegplot

Irene,

I have two examples which help illustrate your point,. My parents moved to France 6 or 7 years ago but have not integrated in French society very well. They speak very little French and live in a small area which is predominently English.

My sister on the other hand, who lives relatively close by. Speaks excellent French, her partner is French and they live as the locals do and integrate well. She has taken courses at the local college, is involved with local politics and plays an active role in the community. She's still an outsider but a welcome one.
Blue Sky

Thanks Irene

Your post makes alot of sense to me. We intend to tour around a bit and talk to people before we decide whether to put this place on the market or not. It isn't a plan for the short term. I intend to take my time with our next move and hopefully get it right.
Blue Peter

Re: Where in France

Contadino wrote:

Here, if you make your place in the country too urban, you'll get robbed. It's as simple as that. 2 weeks after building work finishes, you'll get robbed and they'll take everything even if it's nailed down. You put a pool in, you'll get robbed. You put up a satelite dish, you'll get robbed. You rip out a vegetable bed and put in flowers, you'll get robbed.

I couldn't condone it, but it's a great way of keeping the rural lifestyle.


Do you mean robbed by (otherwise law-abiding-ish) locals? or by the local crims?


Peter.
Contadino

Re: Where in France

Blue Peter wrote:
Contadino wrote:

Here, if you make your place in the country too urban, you'll get robbed. It's as simple as that. 2 weeks after building work finishes, you'll get robbed and they'll take everything even if it's nailed down. You put a pool in, you'll get robbed. You put up a satelite dish, you'll get robbed. You rip out a vegetable bed and put in flowers, you'll get robbed.

I couldn't condone it, but it's a great way of keeping the rural lifestyle.


Do you mean robbed by (otherwise law-abiding-ish) locals? or by the local crims?


Peter.


I wouldn't want to speculate. It's a very thin line between 'otherwise law-abiding', 'local crims', and Mafiosi.
Blue Peter

Re: Where in France

Contadino wrote:


I wouldn't want to speculate. It's a very thin line between 'otherwise law-abiding', 'local crims', and Mafiosi.


Oh. Does that make life, er, interesting?


Peter.
Contadino

Re: Where in France

Blue Peter wrote:
Oh. Does that make life, er, interesting?


We're drifting off-topic, but it's probably just more difficult for the carabinieri. IME, the mafiosi aren't that interested in the average Guseppe, and people are quite ready to step over the line to sort an issue out quickly.
dougal

Re: Where in France

Contadino wrote:
... and people are quite ready to step over the line to sort an issue out quickly.


Wasn't it a few weeks before Rick Stein's Land Rover "turned up"?
Ebyss

How about Brittany? Friend of mine has a house and 20 acres (plus small stable barn) for sale there.
Vanessa

Simon, we're in the Correze, and probably have fairly similar weather to you. We only tend to have snow once a year, and it doesn't NORMALLY lie for more than a day or two (although last year it was here for a fortnight!). We get cold nights, and some cold days ... interspersed with some warmer ones. Spring comes early and is warm ... summer is normally fairly hot ... autumn long and mild.

We had the same battle as Contadino ... each time a new Brit family moved into a seemingly huge radius round us, we were told of their arrival (or of their existence, if they were already there before us); each time we said we didn't know, and weren't really interested as we wanted to learn the language - the more Brit friends we make, the less we'll have to try, and the longer it'll take to learn properly. They now seem to have accepted this, and no longer announce new arrivals Wink
Monsieur Hulot

Ebyss wrote:
How about Brittany?


He won't like it 'ere. All the farmers (not townies) are selling their stone farmhouses to the brits and parisians and building brand new white boxes for themselves.

I
Blue Sky

It's exactly like that here too I'm afraid. Did I already mention that? I probably did. Rolling Eyes
Lloyd

As I've not been in here in quite a while Simon, I'm really surprised to hear this. I had carried with me the idea that you were revelling in establishing a self reliant homestead flowing with wine and beer and eggs. My Escargots still haven't arrived by the way, did you send them by snail-mail? Very Happy
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