Lot et Garonne

Like all those Uncle Alberts in Normandy.

Prices for the same type of property will tend to be higher, just because it’s Dordogne. Of course you don’t have to be part of a clique, but what we like is being in a part of the world where we can be in a restaurant, at a market, at a concert, exhibition, etc and hear no English being spoken. Does that make us an “anti-clique” clique? :slight_smile:

We could join your “anti-clique” clique. :slightly_smiling_face:

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:rofl: :rofl: We flinch and start mumbling French to each other… if we hear English being spoken… :rofl: :rofl: or else we turn and walk away… especially if they’re talking louder and louder (so they’ll be understood :wink: ) and making no effort at French… :wink:

However, there are English speakers who are charming… and if we come across 'em… that’s OK…
I’ll happily help if they are floundering… then we move on… :wink:

Nowadays there are a few English speakers in our commune… our paths cross from time to time… if they attend local functions etc … certainly not in one another’s pockets. They seem very pleasant.

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To return to this topic…I have continued my research prior to our inspection trip south from Brittany next month and all seems attractive in terms of comparative climate, property prices and culture etc.
However I have been somewhat perturbed by info that healthcare us under some strain. Apparently the hospital in Marmande has closed, that in Nerac is closed for August and it is reportedly hard for new residents to find a medecin generale and dentist?
Any comments please?

Rubbish! Where on earth have you got that info? Hospital in Marmande just fine. No idea about Nerac.

That said - you have to remember it’s August - is that why there are these strange comments? I tried to call my cardiologist’s secretary in Agen and just got the message service until it finally cut out. The day I tried was Monday 14th. I’m sure the department was having a pont before the 15th, so at best a skeleton crew. Nothing sinister.
Tonneins has two MT group practices. It’s true Clairac has a sign up saying they are looking to recruit 2 MT. Just down the road, Lacepede has an excellent medical centre. Increasingly single doctor practices are disappearing, but that’s no bad thing - group practices are much better.
Dentists? Perhaps more of an issue, but that’s the same everywhere. You may just have to go a bit further - mine is in Villeneuve.

Who were you talking to? And where they referring to temporary issues like the strikes, or longer term?

Healthcare across rural France is under some strain and I think it would be difficult to find somewhere where GPs and dentists were looking for new patients. And also even if a place looks to have a full complement of medical professionals they can vanish in an instant - many are at retirement age, and younger ones move to better jobs.

The only way to ensure medical care on your doorstep is to move to a large town! So Agen would be most likely in that department, and even that is pretty small.

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Thanks for your replies. Having lived in France for over twenty years I am well aware of the discrepancies between regions and the move away from local/individual doctors to group practices but I did come across the unsettling comments previously referred to on some other expat forum.
I am savvy enough to know that expat comments often need to be taken with a pinch of salt but as they seemed to be so specific I thought I had better check it out here where information and opinion is invariably sound.
It would seem that my ‘alarm’ is unfounded and that all is as well in Lot et Garonne as elsewhere.
Thank you.

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That’s why I’m grateful round us towns and villages are increasingly setting up and investing in health centres - several specialities in the same place, younger practitioners, more flexibility re getting to see someone and good receptionists. Much better than the single old guy on his own.

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A nice weekend trip for her

Extremely rudely, and not knowing the actual position, perhaps these expats had such a limited grasp of French that they didn’t realise the hospitals were striking last month…?

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I’ll let her know :slightly_smiling_face:

Somewhat cheeky maybe but very probable Jane.

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We had to delay our trip to Let G because of business commitments and the usual ‘other stuff’ here in Brittany.
Meanwhile I have continued my research and although I have absolutely no first hand knowledge of the department (other than whizzing through on the A62) i am leaning towards concentrating our seach for a new home in the west of the department…roughly on a line between Nerac and Miramont de Guyenne.
The overriding reason being that this places you about 100 minutes from the coast rather than 160 and this is of great importance to my wife. Of course there are numerous lakes, river beaches and lidos but the sea is the sea.
Climatically I can find no evidence of any great dufferentials from north to south or east to west.
Transport links seem much better, perhaps obviously, in this area rather than up in Monflanquin or Fumel.
I have found a few properties I am keen to visit in Duras, Nerac and a front runner in Escassefort.

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Hi , I have lived in the 47 dept since 2003 and know most of the main villages and towns .
If I were looking for a place to live it wouldnt be anywhere near Marmande ( lots of social problems and crime there )
Duras is lovely although priced for the brits and of course its full of expats which isnt everyones cup of tea.
Nerac is a decent town but there is an LGV line being built in the area which will affect some areas negatively .
You may want to consider the ever warming climate before moving here - we get serious heat !
Steve

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Hi Steve,

The advice from yourself and Sue and any other locals is always greatly appreciated.
Having lived most of my life in the heat (Bermuda, Singapore, Texas, Turkey and the Languedoc) I am okay with that though I would make efforts to have air conditioning for when its really bad…and quite possibly getting worse.

Thanks for the warning about Marmande. I assume you would therefore consider Escassefort as ‘anywhere near’? The reason the Marmande sector attracts is because it is nearer to the coast.

I assume you consider that whole area south of the A62 in a favourable light as long as you don’t buy next to the new LGV. I found another suitable property in Bruch which also places you quite near to Agen (which I assume is considered okay?).

I have found great properties in and around Duras, Monflanquin, Villereal etc. and of course Villeneuve sur Lot seems to offer pretty much everything so perhaps we should also consider that area again despite it being an extra 45 minutes to the coast.

Local knowledge is always appreciated as it’s very easy to be deceived during a two or three day rekkie.

Yes, but you have to make your own entertainment over the winter months and get used to it all being a bit grey and brown out in the countryside until spring.

There are several enclaves of Brit expats, but I tend to avoid them where possible as many of them fall into the “Expats that want to live in an English part of France” crowd. I find the locals to be very welcoming and my poor, but improving French remains a source of great amusement to them.

MTs and dentists are thin of the ground in my SE corner of 47, but Agen is only 30 minutes away and there’s just about every medical resource there I can think of.

While I wouldn’t want to live in Agen (20 years of London has cured me of urban life), it’s pretty much a one stop shop for anything you might want. The big Intermarché there can even supply with you PG Tips, Marmite and HP Sauce if you don’t mind paying the price for imported food stuffs.

Have a good chat with the locals about the weather and if there’s a micro climate in the area you’re interested in as the network of valleys around Agen can cause some weird effects with storms often veering off their predicted track to avoid the area entirely. The caveat to this is if one gets stuck in your nearest valley, you might be in for a battering.

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Hello again Steve, Notalot and others.
We did eventually make it down to Lot et Garonne a couple of weeks ago and we were seriously impressed with the countryside, the friendliness of the locals and the general ‘feel’ and ambience. So much so that we have stepped up our search for our new home.
My wife fell in love with Lauzun whilst I felt more at home further south. We found a grest project in Bruch but decided it was too much work amd a really great house in Nerac. My internet exploration tells me that this is an attractive neck of the woods.
Steve made an earlier comment about being wary of a new LGV line being built. I didn’t actually see any evidence of this but would that likely impact negatively or positively on Nerac, specifically the area to the south towards Francescas?

Hello, coming a bit late to this discussion, but might be able to contribute some useful info, or confirm what’s been said. We’ve been here (near Miramont de Guyenne) for 16 years. In retrospect, we’d choose to live in the south of the département, between Agen and Nérac. The north is just as much a Brit enclave as the Dordogne. Another big difference is the pleasure of driving which is now severely restricted the nearer you get to the border with the Dordogne. It’s still wonderful the closer you get to the border with the Gers. Good motorway links from Agen with the added plus of the existing LGV. The ‘new’ LGV project is still very much in the balance as there’s huge opposition to it from the smaller communes that it will affect.
I’d take issue with SuePJ’s assessment of the healthcare situation, at least as far as smaller communes are concerned. Many GPs are reaching retirement age and the younger doctors simply don’t want to work away from large urban centres. Yes, communes are creating ‘health centres’ but are unable to attract the GPs needed. The somewhat seasonal crisis at Marmande hospital (and to a lesser extent, Nérac) concerns the Urgences. The access is now via screening/approval from a GP. This is due to lack of staff, and citizens using the facility as a way of short-cutting long wait times to see their GP.
Marmande was a lovely, sleepy, laid-back town. Thanks (?) to two successive, disastrous Maires it’s now a sad, dirty, dead ghost town. Just the opposite in Agen and Villeneuve-sur-Lot where there’s plenty of life outside of July and August.
As for weather, it’s simply impossible to generalise. We’ve experienced extremes of heat, cold, wet and drought and have come to take whatever arrives philosophically. Definitely steer clear of flood plains, though. May is usually the wettest month.
Do you prefer the Atlantic coast to the Med? The Pyrenées to the Alps? You’ll find the locals extremely partisan in this respect :wink:
After all that, I really wouldn’t want to live in any other département…:slight_smile:

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Hello Houpla…thank you for your valued input. As I said we were very impressed with the department in general and look forward to living there.
We previously lived in the Minervois (hence with the Mediterranean beaches which I never found particularly enthralling) and the L et G seems to offer a more attractive landscape with fewer Brits and less tourism. I could be wrong of course because its not possible to guage from a one week field trip.
We suffered a dissapointment with a house in Virazeil whereby we were about to make an offer through one agent, who was actively marketing the house, only to be told by another that the compromis was signed two months previously. :roll_eyes:
As mentioned earlier I am very attracted to a property just outside Nerac in the Francescas direction but my wife seems particularly struck by Lauzan. As she is the one who is slightly reticent to make the move, having developed her network of friends etc.here in Brittany, I may have to give way on that.
Lauzun certainly seems a decent, active community and we are assured that it has a lot going for it. Another area of interest is the Fongrave, Castelmoron section where we have friends.
I didnt quite get your comments regarding driving. Being a petrolhead myself its a fair part of my life and I’m wondering why you would say that driving in the north of the department is less enjoyable than in the south. Surely the traffic is heavier in the Garonne valley than up by the sleepy Dordogne borders?
I certainly agree with your comments about Marmande. It is a bit grim. By contrast we loved Agen.
I/we need to return soon for another look so any further thoughts whether related to my above comments or not are always appreciated.

All I can say is I can drive for 15 minutes over the hills between the Garonne and the Lot and quite often only see one/two cars. That seems pretty enjoyable to me!

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