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Where to go for a long stay with family

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We are a Canadian family of four (2 girls aged 8 and 10) looking to spend 6 months to a year in Europe next year. We speak a little french and a little less spanish, but are willing to spend time learning any language before we travel and more importantly while we are away. We are looking for a smaller village, town or city where we can experience a different culture. We would love to be near the water, but that would not be the most important factor. I would love to put the girls into a local school. I do hold a british passport and the girls are qualified to get theirs. We are definitely people persons and would like somewhere that we are near other families rather than too rural. We would like to go from July to January or June. Really open to any country but don't really want to go somewhere really cold.
Any ideas, suggestions etc., would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

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