Living in France the best move
Moving to France
We were down in the Ardèche on our Euro 2013 adventure, staying at Tain-l’Hermitage. We had been there for a couple of nights and as it was Mrs K’s birthday we decided to go for a meal in town. As we walked down to the main restaurant area I noticed that most if not all of the café/bars had music monitors on tall stands, lined up on the road outside. I said to Mrs K that it might get a bit noisy later in the evening. As we walked on down towards the bridge which crosses the Rhône we stumbled upon a large square with lots of tables set outside the café/bars, and a stage set up for live performances. At this point I turned to Mrs K and said “It’s going to get very loud tonight”. We decided that we would return to our motor home, as the music started to get going and any thought of eating out was forgotten, returning past the cafés with each one playing a different song. I had not realized that it was a Friday night and that’s when all the younger people have fun. If we had been 30 years younger we would have enjoyed every minute of the atmosphere, but not now: we just enjoy a tranquil walk, quiet drink and a nice meal. Goes with getting older. We were staying alongside the Rhône on a camp site in an absolutely wonderful spot, with the river tour boats moored up across from the vineyard which is grown on a terraced hillside on the opposite side to the camp site. As the evening moved on the music got louder with each café/bar trying to outdo the other. They were still playing music at 3 o’clock the next morning. With the sun rising at 4:30 it was a short night for sleep. Still, the kids had a good time.
We decided that the time had come to move on. We had talked about moving to France when we retired and I had been on the internet looking at properties. We had seen a house in Bretagne near Corlay that we were interested in, so we planned a route and set out for Corlay. It was too far to travel in one day so we would stop wherever we fancied. The Ardèche is mountainous and the temperature changes very considerably. We stopped at a camp site in the middle of nowhere, with fairly basic washing facilities but quite adequate for our needs. We had gone from shorts and a tee shirt to jeans and a good pullover within hours. After the previous evening we were in bed by about 8 pm. We set off for Corlay early the next day and arrived about 2 pm. We had not seen the property we were looking for and it was very unlikely that we would as the immobilaire only gave an approximation for the location. Still, the area around Corlay looked good. It’s not a large village and we were soon at a road junction with a decision to make.
Directly opposite was an immobilaire office, so we decided to have a drink and take a look at what was for sale. It was Sunday so the office was closed but we looked in the window and after ten minutes or so a car pulled into the large parking area and a man got out. He came over to me and started to speak in French, so I explained in my limited knowledge of the language that I was sorry but I could only speak and understand a little French: “Je parle un peu Français ” to which he said “oh you’re English”. “Oui” I replied.”Can I help you? What are you looking for?” “We’re just looking.” ” Well that’s OK come in “. Now France does not work on Sundays and for us to stop outside an immobilaire and for him to come by and stop just at that moment in time was very fortuitous for the both of us. In we went to the office and forty minutes later we are off to look at two properties. I can honestly say I didn’t want to look at either but we were on our way. The first had a hectare of land and would have needed a lot of money to make it liveable. I was adamant I did not want to view the second property, but the agent said “Come on. It’s on the way back to the office. What have you got to lose?” so off we went. We had particularly wanted a Bretagne style house with the stone corbelling around the doorways and windows, but when we pulled up outside this house we could see it was not traditional at all. It was set just outside the village with nothing around but countryside. The house was a bit neglected but structurally in pretty good condition.
We had a look around the house and found it had just what we wanted: lots of space, isolated but within walking distance to a village and countryside all around with two-thirds of an acre of land. It was just right for us. We told the agent we were interested and that we would be in touch with him if we decided to make an offer, but as we were only looking, if somebody else was interested then he should let them go ahead. We continued on with our adventure visiting the surrounding area to what could turn out to be our new home. But we couldn’t get the house out of our minds. The agent had gone fishing and had caught two big ‘uns.
We felt that Bretagne was very similar in a lot of ways to where we lived in England. Obviously it is very different with the rolling countryside and its way of life, but it just felt like we fitted in. The weather pattern is similar but a bit warmer being further south. We decided that we would buy the property if we could sell our home in England. As things have a way of falling into place if it’s supposed to happen, we became the new owners in December 2013.