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.
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 ...
A chateau for £10?
Does it sound too good to be true? A chateau in the Dordogne, valued at 1.7 million euros is to be raffled off and tickets cost £10 each!
The raffle is open to residents of England, Scotland and Wales. Visit the website for details of how to enter.
And if you're not feeling lucky you might still want to browse the best of property for sale in South West France on our sister site, Manoirs et Chateaux
Can we help? Yes, we can!
We timed a recent trip to the UK to meet up with some of our business partners involved in helping people move home to or from France.
We understand the concerns of many of our clients considering a property purchase in France in these somewhat uncertain times, and so either side of a nice lunch in civilised surroundings, with a polo match being hotly contested in the background, we discussed what more we can do to make it a properly considered decision.
You may contact any of these companies directly.
We'd be delighted if you mentioned Beaux Villages.
Walk your way to better French!
Walking is a passion in France. Clubs abound and I decided to join the local group (look for Randonées in local papers or websites). We met in a carpark and off we went. Talking and walking is the name of the game and it's a great way to practice your French and get a bit fitter into the bargain. I timed it to do most of the talking on the flat or the downhills and became a good listener on the inclines.
Walks are organised on several days a week and you can choose a group that walks at your pace - look out for the kilometres per hour for your local walks.
Well-fitting quality walking shoes or trainers
Water bottle (more serious walkers have 'camelback' type water rucksacks with built-in straw so they don't break stride when drinking)
Waterproofs for those showery days
Check if dogs are welcome - it varies from group to group
For your nearest randonées check out this website
Some of our favourite walks are in the Tarn. Click here for properties with great walks nearby
Why did the chicken cross the channel?
For all the reasons we did, I suppose. Assuming they had a vote, they’d opt for 3 times the land area with an equivalent population, cleaner air, cheaper land, affordable properties offering potential to improve… Julie Savill looks at making the move with the family pets
We had sold the house in Chelmsford and bought one in the Dordogne, we had sold both the cars, the removals van had been and gone, so there we were on a wet Monday morning piling into the in-laws’ Mondeo with 4 cats in two large dog crates in the boot. There was just enough space left for a small bag each for us but, hey, we were off to a new life in the sun so who needs more than a cozzie and a toothbrush?
Our fears of 12 hours of wailing from the cats proved unfounded. We had lined the crates with disposable baby changing mats just in case of accidents but there was not a peep (or a pee) from any of them for the whole journey. The in-laws were another story…
Home from home
Selling up and moving to France is a huge adventure for you and your animals. Getting organised is the secret.
It might sounds obvious, but choosing the right property in France is going to be key to your pets’ (and therefore your) happiness. Land is plentiful in rural areas and you should have no trouble finding a property with space for your pony/donkey/llama. Keen walkers with dogs that love to be off the lead will appreciate the randonées (marked walks of varying lengths from a couple of kilometres to several hundred) through woods and countryside. Riders, too, will enjoy the freedom of these tracks and trails through beautiful, unspoilt landscapes.
If your dream is actually to be at the centre of village life, that too can be suitable for animals. From the centre of a village you are rarely more than a 5 minute walk to open countryside. And if you want to combine village comforts with horsey outings or a taste of small-holding you’ll often find land to rent or buy nearby.
You are allowed to take 5 domestic pets from the UK to France.Read more ...
Castles, Cathars and The Little Red Train
For our exploration of the Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales, we chose the amazing medieval town of Carcassonne as our base.
From here we would roll slowly into the area to the south, enjoying the light traffic of this part of the Languedoc Region, where you can still reckon to beat a Sat Nav safely. Or so the plan went…...
Of course what then happened on day one was we lingered over a rather nice buffet breakfast and too much good coffee, left our hotel late, and suddenly we had 50 minutes to cover an hour’s journey to catch the Little Red Train.
As we flashed past the quintessential lines of plane trees, pastures and vines, the minutes racing away with the Sat Nav stubbornly continuing to predict a late arrival, I wondered how much the landscape had changed since the Cathars fled from Carcassonne and district ahead of their pursuing tormentors. My heart pounded in my chest. I was a fleeing Cathar….
Okay, maybe a tad dramatic.
We were only ever going to miss a train. We were never going to leap off a mountain or be burned at the stake like those who refused to recant.
We breezed through the outskirts of Limoux, most famous for fast-improving sparkling and still wines. The tasting visits advertised at the roadside would have to wait for another time.
"In no other city I’ve visited does history feel so alive"
Anthony Horrowitz recently wrote in the Telegraph his experience of visiting Carcassonne for his 30th wedding anniversary - what a great choice!
Click the link above to read about his experirence of the beautiful, fortified city - the second most visited in France.
"There is more to Carcassonne than the citadel"
Looking for property in the area? We have some great places.
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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