Good afternoon

Can any of you set my mind at rest? My husband retires next August and has always wanted to move to France. So that is what we will do - sell our small second home in Brittany and move a little further south. Although I'm an outgoing person, I'm nervous. My French is schoolgirl, and I don't drive due to partial vision. I'm frightened of being isolated and lonely out there. We have looked at areas and like Saintes or St Jean d'Angely, but I've had some trouble finding out what the summer temperature averages. I have had a bout of skin cancer a few years ago, and I don't want to be where it's overly hot, although we would like to be south of the Loire. Nantes is our other idea - we both like culture and I can see from your postings that Nantes is popular. Please let me know if any of you were worried, and how you overcame this, and also whether St Jean is HOT. I hope I don't sound like a miseryguts, because I'm not - just a tad nervous! But my husband has worked hard and I won't deny him his dream - we are going!

Thank you so much for this, Cathy. I will add you as a FB friend if that's ok. We both liked St Jean d'Angely but I still wonder if I would be better looking a little further north - Angers perhaps. Maybe the best idea would be to rent for six months initially so that we don't make the mistake of committing ourselves too early to a particular area! It's so reassuring to know that there are friendly people out there - I'm sure I will fit in but it's nervewraching!

Dear Kate,

I live in St Jean D'Angely and would say that in general it is a great place to live as it has all the amenities of a large town, but at a more gentle pace. The weather is variable here at the moment, as everywhere I think! It rained alot until June, but since then it has been sunny. There are a few days when it gets up to 38 degrees, but it is not like that for long. Today it is 22 degrees. In terms of socialising here, there is a network called LIFT (Ladies in France Together) on facebook for ladies throughout the region and I find it invaluable in terms of getting to know people in your area and for just getting helpful information, support and ideas on existing social events like choirs, gardening clubs, etc etc. Once a month someone organises a lunch for members to attend and get to know more people which is great. I organised on in St Jean D'Angely at the beginning of the summer and 20 ladies came along and we had a great time together. If you want more help on finding properties or life in general in this area, contact me. Best wishes, cathy

Hi there. At the risk of offending anyone in Nantes, I personally, from my visits there, would not have said that it would have seemed to me to be a natural first choice for retiring. Saintes is lovely but a little remote if you don’t drive IMHO. Good luck!