Cost of living excluding rent Aquitane near Sarlat

Hi I’m new here. I found a topic close to this one earlier which prompted me to sign up but I can’t find it again.

My husband and I live in New Orleans. We’re considering moving to an area near Sarlat for at least a year. We found a little place we’d like to rent that costs 300 euros/month and our question is if we have that amount in addition to our rent ea month can we survive there?
We’re also curious if the political urban/rural divide is similar to the US. We are sincerely hoping not. We are politically progressive and are hoping we’ll find some folks who understand that we’re not the Americans that seem to make the news a lot these days (I’m trying hard not to offend in that statement as I’m new here and not sure what the policies or leanings of most folks here are.)
Our french is very light but we’re working hard on it. One of my life’s goals is to read Zola in his own language. We understand that there is a large Brit ex pat community in the area and nothing against them but we are hoping to assimilate not remain part of a "colony."
Any info you can share would be a great help to us. Many thanks,

Hello Sam

Unfortunately, 300€ per month would probably only just about pay for your groceries. There will of course be lots of other costs to consider such as electricity, gas, water, insurances including health insurance, telephone/internet charges, local taxes etc etc. The very minimum you could expect to survive on would probably be about 1000€ per month and if you want to have a car, buy clothes, eat in restaurants regularly, take holidays etc it will be considerably more than that. The amount will be dictated by the lifestyle you expect to have.

In terms of integrating then the best thing you can do is learn as much French as you can before you arrive and then use it when you get here. Smiling at everyone you see and saying “Bonjour” will also help.

One other piece of advice, do not underestimate the amount of bureaucracy in France. You can find yourself tied up in never-ending paperwork so be prepared for that.

I wish you the best of luck.

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As one of your fellow American’s once said in a loud voice " ARE YOU SERIOUS"

The how much do I need to live on question is often asked by Brits, but if you have a US passport will you not be obliged to apply for a visa in order to stay in France for a year, and will your ability to support yourselves not be vetted during the visa application process? Apologies if I have the wrong end of the stick here.

Out of curiosity what would you budget in the US.

Good question Paul, I don’t imagine the OP is living on the equivalent of 300 euros a month in the States, why would it be any different in France?

For two people :astonished:

Obligatory tenant’s insurance
Taxe d’habitation
Electricity (unless it’s included in the rent)
Water (ditto)
Food, clothes, toiletries, transport
Doesn’t leave a lot to “live” and enjoy France on.

The poster excluded the rent she pays of 300 euros.

The old standard was rent should exceed no more than 1/3 of income. Here in US and here in New Orleans specifically that is a pipe dream. Our rent here is 1500/month. We were curious if it was more like 1/3 elsewhere thus the question but we assumed 1/2. We don’t live lavishly but do have enough for an occasional dinner out or bar tab. (It IS New Orleans after all! There is obligatory glitter involved!) our hope was evidently ridiculously that we could live more cheaply and maybe even save a little over a year. Thx for all the replies they were most appreciated. I spent hrs last night reading on other topics. Wow. Yes. The bureaucracy sounds possibly worse than ours. Thx very much folks. Someone asked me how we budget here. I’ve never been much for the B word. I know how much I need. To pay out per month and I’ve been lucky enough to have enough w a little leftover. I’ve never been much of a money person. I’m not irresponsible we’ve always paid our bills and had a bit left over. I’ve just never needed a brand new car or two I don’t wear diamonds I’m not a more more more person. I like people, history and literature. Art and music are two areas into which my money has gone over my life. Local artists-my walls are full of wonderful creations.

I sort-of see where you are coming from but 300€ is a fairly modest rent - I don’t think you can extrapolate from that to living on 600€ total.

For EU nationals a certain minimum income is needed for legal residence as an “inactif” - for a couple aged 65 or above this is 1246€ and some change - I imagine you would need to show a similar income to get a visa.

That is more than double the amount that you originally queried but at least you could probably live on it.

thank you. 1246/month? We would have 2600/month. We’re hoping that is enough.

I mean 2600 dollars/month

Hi Sam. I am a fellow American who owns a home a few miles from Sarlat (Terrasson). We have not yet made the move full time to France but I do have good idea as to the cost of living in the area. I have not yet applied for the long stay visa so I don’t know what the official income requirements would be, but I feel that your SS income is sufficient to provide for a nice life in our region of France. Housing in Sarlat itself would, of course, be more expensive than the surrounding villages.

If you had started off by explaining that you would have an income of $2,600 a month the answers to whether you would be able to afford to live in the Sarlat area would have been quite different. There is all the difference in the world between that sum and the €600 you mentioned.
Personally I’m amazed that you can find any reasonable accommodation in that area for €300 a month. Perhaps as @wer14631 has highlighted above Americans have different opinions about distance to Europeans as most people would not consider Terrasson to be in the ‘Sarlat area’.

I’m confused now. If you have $2600/month and your rent is 300€/month, why cap your budget at 300€ per month, have I misunderstood?
The reason I feel 3 600€ a year would be difficult is that your taxe d’habitation could be anything up to 1000€ pa (though it will likely be a lot less, given the rental value), health insurance could be anything up to 1000€ pa, utilities/phone could be anything up to 1000€ pa, and then there’s tenant’s insurance and car insurance if you’re going to have a car, and potentially a little property maintenance because in France the tenant is responsible for keeping the property in good condition, so what’s left to live on? But if you’re not including these things in your budget and your 300€ is just for day to day living expenses, that’s a different kettle of fish.

Normally, in order to rent a place in France through an agency or from a professional landlord, you do in fact have to provide proof of a secure income of at least three times the rent.

We were kinda hoping to save enough over the course of a year to put some money down on some property. That was the on is abt 40 mreason for us “capping”. I appreciate all the input guys. Very very helpful.

Google maps says driving distance to Terrassin is about 40 min. That’s not hugely long but certainly not a desirable commute.

Hey there Bill! Thanks for the info. Do you have a timetable for your move? We haven’t gotten too much past the dream stage. We are also curious what the extreme weather might be there. Seems everyone has something that hits. We of course live in hurricane land but have lived in wildfire land and earthquake land. I grew up in tornado alley so I always wonder what is the extreme in any given area? Temps look cooler than Louisiana summers which isn’t a bad thing at all. But I hate extreme winters and that doesn’t look like a problem in the area. No more snow shoveling for this lifetime if I can help it.

Autocorrect strikes again. "Only reason for us “capping”.

Gee Bill, after all that discussion of distance we looked at Terrasson. It’s beautiful absolutely beautiful. We ethen double checked the house we are dreaming of renting and found that the rent is actually 600/month not 3 which is still a bargain compared to our current New Orleans rent. We also realized that it’s much further from Sarlat than we thought you’re actually closer. The house we like is across the river from Bergerac. The reason we love the house is that it’s right on the river (we love our wonderful Mississippi river and the huge Dordogne looks gorgeous to us. But the house is abou t an hour away from Sarlat.

Our next question is about driving licenses and car purchase how difficult is all that?

Driving licences… Which state issued your licence? Check it against the list of states which France accepts as being suitable to exchange for a French licence. Having a licence issued by a ‘wrong’ state causes a fair bit of grief for Americans in France.