I want to live in France age 73

I have lived overseas for over 40 years but now my husband has died I should like advice about packing up and moving to the South West of France to the Lot et Garonne.

I can rent before I put my small home up for sale. I am interested in joining clubs and I need to perfect my French.

Having spent the past give years in Penang Malaysia I returned to a very different country and I have found it difficult to settle.

My son lives and runs a business in Burgundy but I do not want to live too near him.

Any suggestions please

Carol Ashcroft.

Did Carol make it to France does anyone know?

I find them every now and again in an Asian shop in a large city. I once found them as dried anchovies rather than sambal ikan bilis, which is all they are but the preparation is different from place to place. I like the seasoning on the Cambodian/Vietnamese ones better than Malay, but that is another kettle of (dried) fish.

Sounds like a good business opportunity importing Ikan Bilis to France!!

Although knowing the EU regulations it's probably banned like Bombay Duck was years ago - I still miss it!

Carol, I think you should read carefully the discussions on this site and consider how long you will take to bring your fluency in French to the level where you can cope with them.

Also review “idioms in French” and reflect on when you would be able to follow a conversation which would be as much as 45% idiomatic.

It is very tiring and frequently confusing when you are surrounded by a language in which you will struggle to follow the news, whether gossip or serious political events.

Do some scenario planning i.e. How will you cope if you are injured inside your own home and need emergency assistance. Can you cope with car repairs, buy new tyres, find a shoe repair shop?

What are your hobbies, how will you pursue them?

Why do you need to be so very far away from your son, why not just yhe other side of town, why not two streets away?

Why France? Why not another European nation? Italy, croatia, on an Easyjet route to your son’s abode. Can you speak medical French, insurance French, fiscale French.

I think my advice must be obvious, but I think an honest evaluation is only fair.

I have lived in foreign language zones for many years, and as life around you changes there is always new vocabulary, complicated vocabulary. Local French people do not always even know what you need to know. See my posts about pollution.

Just reiterating what others have said try renting first. And if you are not going to drive definitely make sure your on the outskirts of a good sized town as a lot of french public transport is noticeable by its absence.

The weather is changing wherever you choose to live in France.
We have just has the wettest summer in France for 55 years. The southwest and the Mediterranean coast have had terrible storms coming off the Atlantic.
As we are more into Continental Europe we are protected to a good extent from the excesses of Atlantic storms, but we do get the storms when we have had hot days.
Last November we had a foot of snow and then a cold spell, and after that it was not as cold. The years before we had snow in November and again in February, but it changes every year. When we moved here we were told that they had short winters, but last winter, after the snow it was just like a dull autumn, which lasted, apart from a hot spell in April, until mid June.
The weather is so changeable that no one can make a prediction, except that this winter it will probably be different from last year.
We have been here for five years and that time we have had this poor summer, one drought and the rest have been hot, so the same applies to summer as it does to winter.
Pouilly en Auxois is about an hour and a half from here in Southern Burgundy, Saone et Loire, so far enough away as not to be on his doorstep, but available to each other if needed.

Thank you Jane, My son,Jason lives on his Canal barge on the Burgundy canal near Pouilly en Auxois.
I will look at the site.
The only thing that I am concerned about is the weather.

Cluny is a thriving cultural town, as is our next village Sivignon, which has a small but active community group of both and English and residents of other nationalities.
I would have a look on the site Le Bon Coin 71 to get an idea of the price of rented accommodation.
Whereabouts does your son live?

Hi Jane,
Many thanks for your email.
Yes I would like to try Burgundy but as a widow what do I do for entertainment. That is why I mentioned the Lot et Garonne as there is a thriving Amdram group in Montaigu de Quercy with other activities.
My French whilst not too good should improve as We lived in Paris in the seventies when De Gaulle said “no English to be spoken”! But I am willing to have a go.
Can you advise where I might find cheap rental accommodation in and around a town as it could be lonely in the rural areas.
I get on with my son but he does not need his mother around…!

Carol, We moved permanently to the Clunysois area of Burgundy five years ago and we have received such a warm welcome. It is beautiful here and Burgundy is a huge Region, so you do not need to be on top of your son.

I cannot recommend this area highly enough, we do not have cheap flights so people choose to come and live here, rather than just have holiday homes.

There is a very good English speaking doctor in Cluny who worked in the USA for many years, which may also be of interest to you.

Hullo again Debbie,
Could you please email me the details of your rental property and dates available.
If I see a possibility to visit your area I could then contact you privately.

I completely understand, if it is of interest to you to explore the area further, my house is available for let (short term or long term). Happy hunting.


Thank you for contacting me.
I do not know your area and at present I am unable to buy a property until I have lived in an area to learn about it and the people.
One of my interests is AmDram as I was a Drama teacher.

Hi Carole,

I actually have a 75 year old couple coming to stay in my house October- November. It is ideal with very low maintenance etc.I am selling my bungalow, it is in the Charente Maritime, close to the Gironde estuary, beaches etc. would you consider this area? Or do you have your mind set on Lot et Garonne?


there are several English-speaking Estate Agents in and around Gourdon, and before settling here in Correze (cheaper!) we used a very helpful crowd in Cazals called Charles Loftie. Haven't got their detail to hand but they have a website and are very easy to talk to.

Cazals is just South of Gourdon en route to Prayssac. Nice part of the world in the Lot and good shopping and nice people - English and French.

Hi Sue,
As I do not know the area around Gourdon,could you suggest whom I should contact to obtain more info.
Angloinfo does not have the kind of contacts that I require.
I am having French lessons here in UK but would like to start ASAP in France and would consider a full immersion course,somewhere eg. Chairs.

Got the same stuff from other sources. I reached the same conclusion.

Sure is all nonsense when ultimately there is only one truth. We are all mortal.

Ah no Brian - it was the 'Boy's Own Paper' of my yoof that I blame for everything! Gave me a completely wrong start in life! Some others may recall the plethora of 'honesty, diligence, kindness, honour, play the game, manliness, goodwill to all men, 'be straight and true' and all that crap.

Took me donkey's years to get that garbage out of my head and see the world as it really is - but at least I learned to laugh at the truth, which was the best lesson of all.

At the end of the day it's all nonsense isn't it?

Hi Carol.

So much good advice! I'll just add my pennyworth by mentioning Les Senioriales (readily found online) from whom I bought a property in an over 50's gated community close to Dax six years ago. Circumstances demand that I am now seeking to sell my property but I would otherwise certainly choose to see out my years here (I am also 73).

There are some 65 properties at our Hinx location, allowing every opportunity for integration through a central Clubhouse, weekly organised activities and daily interaction. We have a reasonable sized swimming pool and there is a minibus on site providing for shopping trips and excursions.

While we spend as much time in England as in France my wife and I have been warmly welcomed, regard a number of the residents as close friends and have received generous assistance with all sorts of matters. The site provides total security which has also been important to us while we have been away.

There are a good number of Les Senioriales sites, varying in size, dotted across the country and you may well be able to find one in the area that you finally home in on. Alternatively you may like a "trial run" and, were that the case, you could easily persuade me that a short term rental would be in our mutual interest, especially since renting our property is our next move should a sale prove impossible in the present market conditions.

I would be more than happy to discuss the Les Senioriales concept with you further should it be of interest to you and meanwhile wish you the very best in coming to a decision and every happiness when you finally make the move.