Bon Jour - exploring my move to France

Greetings all -
I’m yet another solo American looking for a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. I’ve traveled throughout Europe for business + pleasure and think France is going to be my home base for upcoming retirement.
After a bit of research, I’m focusing my search on the Occitanie region, looking to be near a larger town/city like Montpellier. While I plan to have a car would like to be near train lines.
Arriving late this September for a 3-week long exploration of the region.
My French is at beginner level so hoping to find a solid English speaking expat community for support and friendship.
I plan to rent a place for at least the first 6 months before thinking about buying a home.
Would be glad for any ideas, tips, opinions and recommendations of towns and villages I should explore on my trip.
I’m considering using a “resettlement” type service such as Renestance; would appreciate any ideas on this front as well.
Think that’s a healthy start! Appreciate your comments very much.

Montpellier is nice and has plenty going on as it’s a university town, but I’m afraid I don’t know any English speaking people there so no idea about an anglophone immigrant community. I imagine there must be one if only for uni and rugby related reasons. The foothills of the Pyrénées which aren’t that far away (far enough though) are full of villages positively hotching with immigrants mainly artistic ones though, and have been for decades.

Hi Steven
welcome to SF.

Olonzac in the Minervois is a nice place; a good expat community and close to Carcassonne.
where do you fly in to when you come ?

yes Olonzac is nice
Will you be working?
Renting is not as easy as pie
How about wine country near Bordeaux and Bergerac.
I know someone with a nice place which possibly could be rented
from sept nicely furnished cottage style house with garden.
No not mine and no I am not an agent.

Hi Rob,
Does the English banger stall still exist at Olonzac market ?

Hello Rob and thank you your response!
Olonzac- noted!
I fly from Philly to Paris and then TGV down to Montpellier on my visit.

Hello Barbara - thank you for your response-
No, I won’t be working. Well, perhaps creating the next Peter Mayle classic book (ha - in my dreams)
This rental home sounds lovely!!

The owners live near us…lovely area.

It has 2 bedrooms kitchen and lounge and is fairly close to shops.

If you like I will put you in touch


Barbara Deane

This sounds very promising, Barbara. Thank you for this wonderful lead. I would appreciate you putting us in contact. Best - S

Hi Peter
im not sure, there is a butchers van that sells a few different types of Sausages, but TBH i always buy the Toulouse…
its a great market, and a good little village with lots going on and lots of support; the home of VEEM - which helps with integration in with french life…

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For those of us who were wondering what VEEM is…

Send me an e mail directly and I will send you THE address e mail to enquire.

Just tell her what you are looking for and go from there.


There used to be an English guy that did English style sausages, bacon and other things in Aude. He covered quite a large area including the western Hérault. If youre thinking of that guy, he stopped in early 2019 I think. He had to go back to the UK for family reasons.

Yes, would that have been after Tim, or Mister Saucisse. He sold to that guy I suppose ?

Not sure. I only found out about the guy just as he was shutting up shop. I really missed bacon at that time, and it spurred me on to make my own :bacon::bacon:

Tim sold up in about 2015 ish.

He used to go far an wide tho he was based in Quillan.

That must be him, as I remember the other guy was in Quillan. He was looking for someone to take over, but he couldn’t. Shame.

Tim sold the business to a chap near Béziers in about 2015 ish. I have no news of him since Covid etc.

Or…you could head over to the Vaucluse…as a writer, you may be interested in the Avignon Festival, Choregies d’Orange and Dance Festival in Vaison la Romaine. Here are links for this year:

There is a very interesting English speaking community.
Keep in touch.


Hello Stirling: Thank you so much for these ideas. I have another long yet wonderful day of research ahead of me now! I’ll keep you all updated.