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Kavey Sep 8th, 2007 01:34 PM

Help with France trip? Scouting for future house buy
I blocked out a fortnight in the calendar ages ago with the intention of planning a trip to France...

Haven't done a THING to plan but went ahead and booked crossings last night so we'll be going to France on 6th October and are there for two weeks.

We are looking to investigate areas where we'd consider buying a house sometime in next couple of years, hopefully.

We're looking at central France - Lore Valley (which is Eastern Loire area), Burgundy, Northern Auvergne, maybe Limousin. We'd consider Poitou Charentes but it's further West than we're thinking.

Any thoughts on places to stay, visit, investigate?

Additional info:

We've been to the Loire a few times and love it, hence including it in the short-list. West rather than East precisely because it includes cities like Tours which are more likely to provide non-tourist work opportunities than we might find in Eastern loire.

Burgundy we don't know. Limousin and Auvergne likewise. Poitou-Charente we've visited for just a few days.

Generally we are looking at central France because of distance from UK, climate (southern France way too warm through summer for our taste) and because of general mix of rural and urban options.

We want something rural but within striking distance of a decent sized urban centre.

First thing is to find an area we would love to live in... we'll worry about precise properties/ prices later.

Thanks so much...

Kavey Sep 10th, 2007 12:41 AM


Mucky Sep 10th, 2007 01:06 AM

Hi Kavey,
Good luck with the venture !!

I am also considering purchasing a property in France, I am looking upon it as an investment and a future home/gite business.

One area that is still reasonably priced is the area around Mayenne Pays-de-la-Loire region. This area is near to the 'borders' of Loire, Normandy and Brittany.
I too will be on a mission within the next 12 mths to try to find something.
Meanwhile look at this place !! around £40k gets you this.

Please report your findings !!


blackduff Sep 10th, 2007 01:08 AM

<b>We've been to the Loire a few times and love it, hence including it in the short-list. West rather than East precisely because it includes cities like Tours which are more likely to provide non-tourist work opportunities than we might find in Eastern loire.
What type of work are you planned. This might help find a good place to live. Many of the places which you noted are not especially ripe for finding jobs.

How about your language ability. This gives some ideas too. Living in rural French areas usually don't use a lot of English.

Some parts of France offers cheaper properties but at the same time, the weather is bad. The places you mentioned tend to be cold and rainy in the winter months.

Since you're only going to have two weeks, you'll need to focus into one or two areas. Google the areas which you like mostly and then try to slimmer down your list.

The more information you pass to the forum, the more returns get back to you.


BTilke Sep 10th, 2007 01:46 AM

Kaveny, I'm a little confused, first you say Eastern Loire, then Western. At any rate, I think of Tours more as central rather than eastern or western Loire. As far as non touristy job opps, I think you're far more likely to find them in the real western Loire, particularly Angers and at the *far* western end, in Nantes. Don't forget that Nantes was voted as the best place to live in France by the French themselves. Angers has several pretty small towns to the north that are much less expensive than Chinon and Saumur.

FYI, there are plans to build a beltway around Angers, so that there will no longer be that big highway running through Angers below the castle. Apartment and house prices have held pretty steady there and on the &quot;other side&quot; of Angers is a beautiful park (more of an arboretum) with a terrific garden club...the plots of land their members use look more like entries in the small garden category at the Chelsea garden show than the typical allotment garden with its rows of leeks and carrots. We have our eye on a few specific areas of Angers for a future home.
Anyway, if we were in the same situation, we'd probably be looking at Nantes, Angers, and Grenoble.
For some reason, I thought the economic situation in Troyes wasn't that good...

hanl Sep 10th, 2007 02:04 AM

Hi Kavey,
Are you looking with a view to moving to France permanently? It's only because you mention work opportunities... and if that is a concern then I would think you would need to be much more careful about the area you choose than if you are looking for a place primarily for holidays.

Kavey Sep 10th, 2007 05:42 AM

Sorry, typo, it should have been Western Loire but BTilke I'll review Eastern in light of your comments re work.

Language - I'm fluent in French (I did my degree in it and have refreshed it at language schools occasionally since, though some of my tenses could do with brush up I can converse about anything without problem). Pete is beginner level but keen to learn.

Intention is to move permanently when we can though initially we may find we can't afford to do that. Depends on work success there.

Work: Pete is a freelance software designer and developer with an extremely wide range of skills in his field. I'm a freelance IT Trainer covering both off-shelf and bespoke systems in a wide range of industries. That would be the stuff we already do and would like to be able to do in France.

Additionally or perhaps alternatively, who knows, we'd look at setting up additional business depending on the property we find/ can afford including training courses (not just in straight IT but for example Digital Photoraphy Manipulation for Photographers and even Indian Food Cookery).

Does that help?


BTilke Sep 10th, 2007 07:31 AM

Nantes likes to sell itself as one of the more important high tech areas of France, so another reason to check it out (to see whether that's true or just marketing and also what kind of high tech is there). Grenoble has a good high tech community as well, I believe.

hanl Sep 10th, 2007 07:43 AM

Given your line of work, it would be a bonus to be within striking distance of Paris so that you could get there and back in a day if necessary. Things are very centralised in France and easy access to Paris would certainly be a plus, I think, and would open up a lot more opportunities (higher paying ones at that). I don't mean living within commuting distance, just making sure that, if need be, you could get to and from Paris fairly easily.

Other than that, as BTilke says, Nantes might be a good bet.

hanl Sep 10th, 2007 07:51 AM

Also, have you thought about Lyon and the surrounding area? Plenty of work in the IT field there (my husband and I both worked for IT firms in Lyon...). Though it is quite a bit further from the UK.

Leely Sep 10th, 2007 08:00 AM

Hi Kavey!

How exciting. I of course know nothing about work opportunities in France, but did briefly visit Limousin last spring and have to say that although we were merely driving down on our way to the Dordogne, I thought it was very, very beautiful. Perhaps you might find some work in/near Limoges?

When I was researching where to stay and what to do in the region, I came across websites devoted to/for people like yourself. I'll try to poke around and see if I bookmarked any. However, I do think the area, particularly the part adjacent to Poitou Charentes and the Perigord Vert is lovely. Maybe, though, not what you're really seeking? There is a poster here (Michael?) who I think keeps a house in the region. Perhaps he'll have some ideas.

Best of luck.

Enviously yours,


blackduff Sep 10th, 2007 08:35 AM

Maybe Nice is a bit too South but there is some IT work. Texas Instruments is there and I think IBM has work there too.

With the cheap flights via Ryan Air, you can live anywhere in France and get back to the UK without much money.

Montpellier is another city with IT. Lovely city and a nice climate.


Michael Sep 10th, 2007 08:37 AM

Leely is correct. I have a house in the Dordogne about halfway between Sarlat and Limoges. Because Kavey lives in the U.K., the problems that I experience might not affect her, but I would not necessarily recommend having a house in the countryside in France.

Let me mention only one problem. My house in in the middle of a field which must be cut regularly. Because I have friends in the hamlet, they arranged an exchange with a local farmer: he cuts the hay for free and keeps it. But finding such an arrangement is not necessarily easy. Farmers do not advertise that they would like to have your hay. But that farmer can't cut close to the house with his big machinery, so I have to have someone else do it. The same friends knew someone in the hamlet who did all sorts of handiwork (he also replaced a cracked toilet for me) who would cut the grass. My friends paid him and when I go to the Dordogne, I reimburse my friends. Now this man's health no longer allows him to do any work. I looked into having a professional garden service cut the grass and it would have cost me 400&euro; for what is a couple of hours of work twice before my arrival. I finally found someone who would do it under the table, but that was only because of a special relationship with his family going back to the time when my parents had the inside of the house varnished (it's all raw plywood). In other words, without connections here and there, keeping up the house becomes very expensive unless you can do it yourself, which may be the case with Kavey.

I would think that a house <b>in</b> a village would be easier to keep up because there is no land to take care of.

To list other problems:

I have to get the trees trimmed. I asked for an estimate, and was assured I would get one. I never did, so I must start the process all over again long distance.

I had to replace the floor covering. We find what we want, get the price, then ask for estimates from two different persons. Both give me estimates that double the cost of the material. One is willing to adjust his estimate, I never hear from the second one when I ask for an explanation of the cost differential.

I had to have the roof cleaned, got a bill for the job done nine months after it was presumably done and 4 weeks after I did the bulk of what had to be done. After a certain amount of back and forth, I pointed out that I was supposed to get the foreman's report on the condition of the roof and that the bill did not include it. I never heard from the contractor again. But what would have happened if I were not fluent in French?

In all instances, the jobs are to be done when we are not there, which raises issues of access and knowing if the job even done.

Don't get me wrong: I enjoy the house, but have it only because I inherited it, and had I been given the choice, I would not have chosen to have a house in the country.

Kavey Sep 10th, 2007 12:22 PM

Thanks everyone for your continued input... I'm all over the place as I know we only have two weeks it's hard to know where to settle on for this visit - I know it's not like we're BUYING on this visit and there will need to be several more before we even narrow down region let alone more specific location.

Michael thanks for your experiences with the country property. I think in an idea world we'd like somewhere within striking distance of a town and yet with decent sized grounds and outbuildings... I doubt we'll find that within our budget though.

This is all really helpful, I'm going to digest it and then may come back to you for more advice.


Michael Sep 10th, 2007 01:37 PM


You might find what you are looking for in the Limousin simply because it is not a high tourist destination. But there is a reason for that.

Kavey Sep 11th, 2007 12:19 AM

Michael, both aspects of that had crossed my mind - peaceful/lower prices because of less tourist interest - less interest = less tourist potential - what about business potential.

Thanks again everyone.

sheila Sep 11th, 2007 01:11 AM


Come to the South West- I'll sell you 1/7 of a manoir if you like.

Seriously, have look on Total France and ask around there too.

Kavey Sep 11th, 2007 02:10 AM

Hi Sheila
South West def not for us... :)
Will give you a call soon to pick your brains...

bilboburgler Sep 11th, 2007 03:25 AM

I under stand that Angers now has a cricket team. Any interest?

flygirl Sep 11th, 2007 03:49 AM

Following with interest - good luck Kavey..

Now Sheila, about that 1/7 of a manoir? ... :)

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