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Southern France Small Towns for Expat Retirement

Southern France Small Towns for Expat Retirement

Old Jul 29th, 2017, 08:36 AM
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I can't stress enough that you examine the health care facilities available in the area you choose to retire to. Relatively ordinary procedures such as cataract surgery will create more challenges if you cannot access them nearby. I had to drive my DH more than 30 miles to a hospital emergency room while on vacation last year in California while he was in pain. We'd already spoken to our doctor who was pretty sure it was his gall bladder (she was right). I hate to think if there had been road work or some other obstruction as we drove.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 11:24 AM
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700-800K€ would buy a large rennovated farmhouse or town house an hour or more outside Toulouse, for example. You could have gorgeous mountain views, a pool and relatively mild, short winters if you're not above 400 or so meters BUT you would be three hours' drive to either the Med or Atlantic. That's the trade-off.

I am talking "mild" winters relative to New England. At 400m we had maybe two snowfalls a winter which melted within a day. Winter rain is the norm across the Southwest and over in to Provence and the Riviera. There are many sunny days as well.

I lived outside Aspet for almost 7 years, loved it. Which ever area you choose, I advise renting first or at least spending long periods of time house-hunting.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 01:15 PM
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In 1970 you could buy a house in the Dordogne for $10,000. Instead we bought a 104 acre farm with ruined cortijo 100m from the Med for $32,000 in Spain. A place in a mountion village 20km from the sea for $50 !! Of course, those days are long gone, but when I see prices today, I want to laugh and maybe cry. I want nothing to do with them esp with new EU and Spanish regulations - taxes.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 11:20 PM
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On the other hand, Portugal is very cheap...
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:01 AM
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Hi Sandrine, Mouans-Sartoux as mentioned is a good idea. Or nearby Valbonne or Mougins. These places have an expat community as there is an internationals school in Mougins. They don't empty in winter as there are plenty of people living there year round.
Perfect weather - ie not too hot in summer - will be impossible to combine with your 60 mins to the Med requirement.
Vence is another place you may look into.

Follow the advice given by other posters here and rent for a month in January to see how you like it. If you go for a place on the coast you'll have train connections but lots of tourists too. Villages inland within an hour of the Med will have plenty of tourists too. And these will not have trains or tram connections.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 08:33 AM
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You may have a French passport but some things to consider.
If you have a partner do they have a French passport?
If you are a resident of the USA you will still be required to fill in tax forms.
How will you obtain health insurance? Take it you have not paid into the French health system. Healthcare "insurance" is compulsory in France.
Get advice from the Notaire when making a Will.
to purchase property you will also need the services of a Notaire.
https://www.notaires.fr/en
If you wish to restore a property construction work is be be undertaken and then insured for a period of 10 years. That will not be cheap.
some websites for you to read through. It will also settle what you can and cannot purchase for your money.
https://www.french-property.com/
http://proprietes.lefigaro.fr/
http://www.logic-immo.com/
http://www.seloger.com/
http://www.agent-immobilier-france.com/


Driving:: After one year from the date that is indicated on a carte de séjour/residency permit, a foreign driving licence becomes invalid. As a result, the driver is technically uninsured. You will have to do a driving test.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 08:35 AM
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PalenQ, come off it. You sound bitter.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 08:36 AM
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Some other things.
Why do you call yourself an expat, when others in this world are called immigrants?
Plus would you not be better off ask this sort of information which is not dedicated to tourism?
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 08:55 AM
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Tulips !
Mouans Sartoux is one of the ugliest places on the riviera.
Expats yes due to Eurocopter and some other industries.

Riberasacra did you go over the dark side ?
Who are you to decide what can be asked and how to call oneself ?

Menachem i fear PQ is right. When there is nothing to do villages are abandoned until some tourists inject money in it. Then price of real estate goes up there and locals are driven further away.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 09:08 AM
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I guess the definition of an ex-pat is someone who only plans to spend some time in the country of her choosing.
An immigrant will move to the country of her choosing and stay put.
And a refugee would like to do either of them...
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:29 AM
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no, I don't agree, an expat is someone who permanently moves to another country IMO. I don't think there is any difference in expat (which obviously means permanent move, short for expatriate) and immigrant. Although one never calls refugees expats, as real refugees aren't doing it voluntarily. And then there is the migrant term versus immigrant, as a migrant is just seeking to move somewhere. The term expat is more high class, I guess.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...ants-migration

I don't really think the wish list is possible, so a real disconnect for me, even though I haven't lived in France so wouldn't have knowledge of housing markets, costs, etc. But the disconnect is talking about Provence (ie, close to the Med can wanting a Provencal farmhouse) but wanting weather that is perfect year round and not baking in summer, not too much wind, etc. ha ha, where would that be in that area. Provence is very hot in summer and Languedoc can be as much or more so, in my experience (say around Toulouse or Montpellier, very hot). Also, the desire to have some village with an active arts scene year round and a "tram" (?) to nearby larger cities. Oh, and it must be artsy and progressive, also, and have a hospital, and be picturesque but not touristy.

I was going to suggest Apt as not too teensy and it does have a hospital, and isn't as touristy as some of the wellknown Luberon villages or St Remy (which I'm sure is too expensive, anyway). But I don't think it has any amazing progressive art scene, and it has no train station. I wouldn't call it super picturesque but it is near outdoors hiking, etc. You can get to the coast in a couple hours driving. To the west of the Rhone, I quite liked Narbonne and it isn't that far from the coast. It does have a train station, but is smaller than Aix or Avignon as a city. Apt is pretty small, though. Narbonne has a performing arts theater, and some sites of interest, also. I think it is attractive enough with the canal. It does have a hospital, of course. But you aren't going to get world-class medical care in a hospital in a real small town. Of course, it can be windy in that area, and pretty hot in summer.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 11:26 AM
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"no, I don't agree, an expat is someone who permanently moves to another country IMO. I don't think there is any difference in expat (which obviously means permanent move, short for expatriate) and immigrant."

Not true. Many expats are in foreign countries because they're on an international assignment with a fixed ending date. My husband grew up in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Germany, Canada and the U.S. due to his father's work assignments (construction, not military). Each stay was two or three years. They were definitely expats and definitely not immigrants. In Switzerland, I work with many colleagues who are on international assignments of one to three years and also those who are not Swiss but here as permanent, local hires. The international assignment people are expats but not immigrants. The local hires are a mix, some planning to stay only a few years and then move on (expats, not immigrants), some (like us) hoping or planning to stay here permanently. We consider ourselves expats transitioning to immigrants.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 12:47 PM
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WeisserTee is correct. Ex-pats hold onto their citizenship while living in a foreign country. They don't seek foreign citizenship, whereas an immigrant does eventually. Many ex-pats don't need to dirty their hands by working. My ex has lived in Spain for 56 yrs and even has a Spanish passport thanks to a marriage to a citizen, but he would NEVER describe himself as a migrant or immigrant. He's an ex-pat. Another extended family member was born in France, was a member of the famous ex-pat group in Paris in the 20s. He, his children, and his grandchildren were all US citizens, ex-pats, not immigrants ! Refugees are people fleeing their native countries because of war, politics, whatever. I've noticed on the tv that the people coming over from Libya to Italy are described as economic migrants, not refugees.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:37 PM
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>

I think your definition is incorrect, an expat is considered a short term resident, that's why people set up specialised agencies with the word expat in the company name to indicate they can assist with short term lodging etc

An immigrant is someone who is looking to move somewhere permanently

>

Maybe he thinks immigrant has a negative connotation, but sorry he's an immigrant
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 07:44 PM
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Such an interesting debate .....
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 09:25 PM
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Christina - you have never lived in Franc, you say...
But you're offering an awful lot of advice that might not be correct.
Stick a pin in any map and taking wild guesses doesn't help anyone.

And my definitions are correct.
"High class" - ma patate!
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 01:30 AM
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Wathello I mean the general area of Mouans-Sartoux/Mougins/Valbonne. There are some beautiful houses, plenty of food shopping opportunities, the market in Valbonne. Not a bad place to live.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 02:28 AM
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I am an immigrant, my children are immigrants, my husband is an immigrant. We live here permanently, pay our taxes here, speak the language, have Dutch driving licences, our kids went to Dutch schools, and DH and I now also have Dutch passports.
We lived as ex-pats for a while - DH was sent here to work, the rent was paid by his employer, the salary came from the UK, and we knew we would be going back. Following that period as ex-pats we immigrated to the Netherlands.

One thing all Americans need to be aware of is the reluctance of European (and I include UK in that) Banks etc in having US citizens as clients due to the US worldwide tax laws. Those laws create a lot of extra work for financial institutions elsewhere and make some very reluctant to take on US citizens as customers.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 03:12 AM
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I agree.
It's become almost impossible to acquire a French bank account - or even a loan - in Paris.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 04:25 AM
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Everything from earthquake risk, to viagra use, and support for the FN -

https://www.thelocal.fr/20170406/map...tory-of-france
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