Monthly rentals southern France

Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 04:32 PM
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Monthly rentals southern France

Hello again, Fodor's family! After our last 6-week trip through France and Italy, my wife and I have decided - primarily due to he increasingly tumultuous political climate in the US - to seriously consider living in southern France. We were considering Sicily, but I feel that would be a bit more of a culture shock than my wife could handle. I have been to Sicily. My wife, Debbie, has not. She speaks very little French, but even less Italian. And from my experience 20 years ago, I believe the rural dialect(s) in Sicily would be just too much. So.... we are looking to rent for a month (+/-) in southern France to investigate the viability of living there more permanently. We are a retired couple in our 70's, financially "secure" but by no means wealthy. We own a home close to the beach in North Carolina. We have both traveled extensively, and feel that we want to continue to do so. Ideally, we are looking for a month rental so that we could explore the region and determine what the reality is for a LONG-TERM rental, rather than buying a new home. I think that that would allow us to travel more without dumping all our available funds into purchasing another house. We do not need to live directly on the water. We live close to the ocean here, and that's fine with us. Finding a house ANYWHERE directly on the water in southern France is going to be cost prohibitive (either rent or purchase). But, hey! I'm an optimist!! We will let our quest for goat cheese and wine be our guide

All the "short-term" rentals I can find online are really vacation homes/villas. We don't want/need all the bells & whistles which one would typically look for in a vacation home. We just need a base of operations for our research, which will entail a lot of day trips and overnight stays in that region. Maybe buying another house is NOT unrealistic. I don't know. Open to suggestions. Where to find a month-long rental this Sept/Oct? Where to find "realtor" help once we ae there? Any other germane info....
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 04:52 PM
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We've rented over 80 gites through Gites de France. We stay in them for 2 weeks or so before we move on to the next 2 week rental. We've stayed in a few gites for 4 weeks. It helps if you can read French. Do not click on the English icon - that will only show you the gites with English translations. We have 4 gites rented for this year. We normally secure our gites one year in advance. So I hope you are looking for something for 2025.

https://www.gites-de-france.com/fr


Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Apr 3rd, 2024 at 04:55 PM.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 05:25 PM
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I suggest you not rule out Airbnb. The site has a function for putting in a 4 week (or more) stay which will bring up possibilities, many with discounts, sometimes substantial ones for longer stays & with a range of amenities, not just posh offerings. It will also present possible locations you might not otherwise be aware of, places near but not in the exact location you enter into the search. I'd be surprised if you don't find an attractive option.

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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 05:59 PM
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So appreciate your question. Came here to ask about a month on some Caribbean island for 2025 and then thought, why not Europe?. Also from NC coastal area. Will check out Stu's link, but don't speak French. Been to southern France and loved it. I'm all over the place.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 06:06 PM
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Stu,
Once again...thank you all for such rapid response. I DO speak French, and Italian, and Spanish, and some German. That is why I thought it might be a little rough for my wife - who speaks NO Italian - to head to Sicily. Last time I used Gites was when I had to mail - yes, MAIL a request via snail mail, and I would get a brochure in return mail listing available properties. I'll give them a try again. Thanks!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 06:11 PM
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MmePerdu,
Once again, you are at the forefront I have been researching - at length - properties on Airbnb. I do have some potential properties, but I am looking to expand my horizons.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 06:12 PM
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Oops...Stu, I neglected to mention that we are looking for fall of THIS year.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 06:31 PM
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You are talking about living in France but shouldn't you get visas to stay that long before you even look for accommodation? A month long stay is a good idea but there may be no point looking for long term rentals. Unless you are dual citizens? You'd also need medical insurance while in France.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by worldwidewinetours
Oops...Stu, I neglected to mention that we are looking for fall of THIS year.
That makes things much more difficult. Our first gite this year just northwest of Nice is fully booked. Our second gite just northeast of Nice is also fully booked. The gite where first stayed in 1997 in the Dordogne, and where we've spent 11 weeks since then - is also fully booked - by us. It rents for $500 E per week. Perfect location in our favorite region in France (along with Provence).

https://www.gites-de-france.com/fr/n...en=0&infants=0

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 01:15 AM
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If you are planning to live in France permanently - for longer than Schengen tourist rules allow - then look into that first. Opening a bank account is not easy for American passport holders and you will need one to pay your utilities and taxes. We used to own a property in France and even as an EU citizen dealing with French bureaucracy is maddening. Once you find an area that suits you, look into expat agencies to help you with the paperwork and with local connections.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 02:43 AM
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I think you're doing things in the right order. This may be only your first of several trips to find a place to rent. You don't need to decide on a property on this trip, do you? Get a feel for a few areas and then come back to NC and do more research. How close is a hospital, is this an area where you can easily find a doctor to take you on, how well connected is the place by trains, risk of flooding, drought, and fire? How big a village or town do you want to live in--busy with lots of shops or is a no-boulangerie village okay?

I second the suggestion to rent in at least two different places during your month.

I have a similar interest but I'm married to the anchor. He won't consider moving. Even so, I can dream. I get a lot of info on a website called survive France. They are mostly Brits and they mostly bought their properties, but their advice is golden on dealing with officialdom, repairs, making friends, and many things that would never have occurred to me.

Another blog I would find really useful if I were in your shoes is by two guys who moved from the US to Carcassonne. It's called Let's live in France and is full of practical information. Those two are crack researchers and have written about everything from drivers licenses to continuing to vote in the US to steps to take when making the move.

We have friends in France who worry that France will go the same way as the US. I asked if they'd consider leaving France and they said that among their friends, Portugal would be their bolthole.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 02:56 AM
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Do not forget to look at canals, rivers and lakes in France. You will find sea fronts are expensive but the other water close areas are often dirt cheap.
I'd start with Gites (gite-de-france is a good source) but once you find an area you like use the local town website to find others.

Due to the Napoleonic inheritance laws you often find one property is owned by a whole bunch of family members and while they are working out what to do with Mum's old house they rent it out, hence they might be open to a sale.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 03:33 AM
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I was just looking at photos and videos of flooding in parts of France where they didn't expect it, so one more thing to keep in mind.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 07:07 AM
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A gte that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to rent and is still available for the fall is probably in an area where you can afford to buy, right? So go for it, and meantime read all those expat-oriented blogs. Liking the advice to rent in two different areas.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 08:56 AM
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Not sure when you ask where to look whether you mean where is the property or where is the listing platform. I second looking at AirBnB. You might look into the area we stayed in 2022 for a month. We stayed in Maussane-les-Alpilles which is a charming town, but a search on AirBnB shows properties around the area. There a many similar towns near there. This is in area about in the center if you drew a triangle among Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Arles. A one bedroom cottage for a month in September can be had for less than US $2000.Like this one: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/8079263...1-64bf0b9bdd34
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 10:06 AM
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Just FYI, monthly long rentals are by definition, in France, a type of short term rental. ( 1 to 3 month rentals can actually have broader availability as they don't count against the nightly limits for true short term rentals that are imposed in some communes -- but Sept is still in season) So searching on GItes de France, Abritel/Homeaway, VRBO and AirBnB are your first choice. Some areas have specialist operators and rental agencies as well. The southern coast is very wide and pretty different from east to west. Have you isolated an area to serve as a base? Note some sections of sections of the coast are more seasonal than others --- meaning things start shutting down in late September and into October. Keep that in mind when selecting October. We looked at Sicily as well but in the end selected Nice (as a second home/future retirement area)
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 02:14 PM
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When you say "where you can afford to buy"...I want to reiterate that I believe we would be better off RENTING rather than buying a home. We may decide to stay a couple years in one spot (Arles? Carcassone?) then move again. We can comfortably budget $3000/month (I don't know what the Euro equivalent would be when we pull the trigger). We would have to REALLY love a particular location to buy.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 02:47 PM
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Thanks for the input. I own a rental property in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina, and our rental restrictions are much the same, i.e., up to 90 days is still a "short term" rental.
When you say "coast" I don't know if you are referring specifically to the "COAST". We don't want to be on the beach. We live 5 minutes from the beach in North Carolina, and as long as we are within an hour's drive from waves, we're OK.....maybe even more. We are looking to alter our lifestyle, not replicate it.
I do know that the coastal areas differ vastly east to west. We both love Arles and its environs, but we do NOT want to live in the city. Debbie has not been to the southwest of France, but I think anywhere west of the A9 is worth considering (hence, Carcassonne).
What was/were your deciding factor(s) for France rather than Sicily?
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 02:49 PM
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The former message is in response to gooster comments. I'm still figuring out the Fodor's format for replies
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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by worldwidewinetours
Thanks for the input. I own a rental property in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina, and our rental restrictions are much the same, i.e., up to 90 days is still a "short term" rental.
When you say "coast" I don't know if you are referring specifically to the "COAST". We don't want to be on the beach. We live 5 minutes from the beach in North Carolina, and as long as we are within an hour's drive from waves, we're OK.....maybe even more. We are looking to alter our lifestyle, not replicate it.
I do know that the coastal areas differ vastly east to west. We both love Arles and its environs, but we do NOT want to live in the city. Debbie has not been to the southwest of France, but I think anywhere west of the A9 is worth considering (hence, Carcassonne).
What was/were your deciding factor(s) for France rather than Sicily?
I think this is the reply to me. We stayed and searched from Portugal down to Sicily. Sicily was great, but for buying as a future base it was too far south and things seemed a bit more challenging in terms of buying and getting settled. A hour or more inland opens quite a bit up. And for a month, you choice can be wide open -- we've spent time in the Carcassone/Narbonne area, near Sete/Montpellier, Arles, the Luberon, Avignon and southern Rhone. We selected the CdA because of the access to two countries/cultures, easy transport links to the rest of the Europe and the US, access to healthcare and services, cultural/entertainment amenities and a diverse range of food. The weather is also a bit more temperate (no mistral, summer peaks not as high, though slightly more humid). People we've met find it easier for those not fully fluent. We were originally targeting smaller villages but were shown that living long term brings up issues like places that empty out in the offseason, medical deserts, integration issues, etc.
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