Sharing France with you
Every week you'll find new stories, local and national events, comments, recipes and advice on this page. Click on the Archive button to see previous posts full of interesting information and links.
Love changed our plans
Back in 2016 I took the decision to completely change my career path and my lifestyle and move to France. I was single, working freelance in a job I didn’t really enjoy and I had some money in my account from selling my flat. La belle vie called out to me and I answered. France meant a higher quality of life and a thorough shaking of the tree. I was going to go on an adventure.
My plan was simple: to find a property that was grand, that I could develop over time into an income-generating concern, and that had better weather than the sodden UK. After a long and exhaustive search I hit upon my current place: The Old Distillery in the Southern Charente.Read more ...
Don't you just love Bergerac airport?
My niece is flying into Bergerac to spend a few weeks in the business improving her French.
Being 16, obviously she has checked-in luggage.
And so she wanted to know about the arrivals hall and baggage retrieval.
Here it is. Both ‘belts’.
I love Bergerac airport.
10 things I wish I had known...
Buying a house in France is the single best thing we have ever done and we’ve learned a few things on the way that are worth sharing.
We bought our house on little more than a whim. We had been mulling over the idea for a while, did all the right things such as subscribing to French Property News and going to The France Show in London to meet agents but it was still an idea, not a project.
We had a week’s holiday booked to come to the Dordogne in February (good time to view property; out of season, see it without the gloss of summer sun and leaves and get a feel for what stays open all year round. So we spoke to a few agents, asked if we could come and see their area and made a few appointments to just meet and chat and possibly see one or two properties.
And of course, we came across the perfect property in that week. A complete renovation that we could tinker with for several years before we retired. So having gone for a look, we came home with an accepted offer and 3 months later it was ours. 2 years later we loved being at the house so much that we sold up in the UK and moved here, lock, stock. And these are some of the things I have learnt since that first thrilling week when we found ‘the one’:
1 The French you learn at school and adult learning classes will take you just so far.
But I never learnt the word for chainsaw or the phrase for ‘someone’s donkey is in my garden’. Even if you don’t need these specific phrases you will need things of a similar nature. You will find yourself trying to discuss the local jam-making competition or how late the maize harvest is this year. ‘Un grand crème, s’il vous plait’ is a good start but the words you learn because you really need them will stick harder and quicker than anything you learn in a classroom.
And you’ll learn by your mistakes and make good friends into the bargain. A friend once asked if he could use someone’s lave vaisselle (dishwasher) rather than la WC (pronounced la vaysay - see what he did?). It was an unforgettable moment, but quite bonding when the mistake became clear.
2 There is life after cheddarRead more ...
A gentle reminder!
Guilty of a lead foot behind the wheel?
You’ve got 2 more days to get trained up for the new speed limits in France!
From the 1st of July, some 400,000 km of roads will see the speed limit reduced from 90 km/h to 80 km/h. Word is the gendarmerie will out in force catching anyone slipping up - so beware and go steady out there!
Image source: Francesays.com
We love this renovation AND location!
Often people moving to France find the perfect balance of privacy and life in a small town or village...you can hear the light buzz of the morning trip to the bakery and the locals catching up on the street. It's really quite lovely.
This house has an ideal sized private and enclosed garden that's perfect for soaking up the rays in peace, tending to your potager without interference, or keeping your dogs in! Not only that, it has had some great renovation work and we really feel the whole package must be seen to be truly appreciated.
Go on, take a chance. At just a smidgen over 100 K, what have you go to lose?
A typically rural scene
Waiting for the dog to come in from his early morning ablutions, I snapped this typically rural scene; a tractor parked where it ran out of daylight at 11pm the previous evening. They work a long day, our neighbours. It was barely light again as I watched him remount his machine.
It could be almost anywhere in rural south-West France. In this case it is on the borders of the Dordogne and Charente outside the popular market town of Verteillac.
An hour to Bergerac airport, a bit more to Bordeaux, and within easy reach of the TGV and Paris (2hours!).
And so much more to keep one at home - including an inland beach!!
For a list of properties in, or near, Verteillac - click here
Tell me why...
Have you got a burning question about buying property in France?
Have you seen our FAQ section?
Recycling in rural France
Living ‘in the sticks’ as we do, we take our recyclables to communal facilities. The range of plastics accepted now is really quite wide, and personally we bag them in organic bin bags that slot neatly straight into the silos.
The environment itself is cared for (and made in part from wood). This is at Tournon d’Agenais, Lot et Garonne.
Please note the blue sky in the background.
No whales were harmed in the making of this blog.
We LOVE this chocolate box cottage!
There is something striking and very desirable about this chocolate-box cottage image, it's very pretty and beautifully quaint.
It's nestled in the open French countryside, it's had some excellent renovation work done and a large, yet manageable, established garden of 950 m2
Could you take a guess at the price?
The perfect property wishlist
If you’re serious about buying a property in France you’ll need a plan of action…starting with a clear idea of what you are looking for.
You’ve dreamed for years about buying your own little pied-a-terre in France and this looks like the year when the dream could become a reality. So far, so good and SO exciting! You probably already have in your mind’s eye just the sort of property you are looking for but there are a few things you can do to make the search a pleasant voyage of discovery.
First up, and most important, is to get a grasp of just how huge France is. Roughly three times the land area of the United Kingdom, but with the same population, this is a big country where you can cover considerable distances if you are not sure in which area you want to end up. Before you start booking viewings take a road trip and check out a few of the areas you have earmarked as possible. Have a good old-fashioned paper map with you and circle the possibles and cross out the places you dismiss.
Once you know roughly where you want to be (and you don’t have to pin it down to a precise village or even one département but start with a rough area with a radius of an hour or so’s drive), try to refine the sort of location you are looking for. If you want to turn up, park the car and not drive anywhere for the next week, proximity to a village will be key. Bear in mind that competition for edge of village properties is keen and you will be one of many asking to be able to walk to the nearest baguette. A village with a bakery and a bar will attract even more attention and if you throw in a restaurant and grocery store, competition really starts to hot up.
Many people have a wish list that starts with ‘edge of village’ and goes on to list ‘no near neighbours’.Read more ...
Let your inner author loose! If you have an experience to share about moving to, living in or simply visiting France then we'd like to hear about it. Write a maximum of 300 words, attach a photo and we'll publish the best here.
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