It depends Jayne, but for Ross's benefit: We live in a hamlet. The rest of it was only ruins until a couple started to self-build beside us and a second home was put up for another couple. They are all here just a few days a year. Apart from a Belgian neighbour, everybody else is French, although there is an English couple about 1km away, but in four years we still haven't exchanged names. But then I am not married to a first language English speaker. People in the next hamlet are really great, good friends now because we made a little effort.
Our social life is in a range of 15 to 30 minutes away, all French and a real mix from teachers, gendarmes, an insurance broker, printer, farm workers and who knows what else. My point there is that whilst there is a bit of a class thing, that is probably mostly restricted to an elite few but the norm is that everybody in and near small towns intermingle. That is not just here but wherever we have been in France. When ex-patriots cluster they are more likely to be excluded, when they just mingle it really does not matter about the level of French because people will help. Essentially most people are actually fine but as ever a few are not. There are places to avoid in France, but I do not think you wish to go to Alsace-Lorraine with its freezing winters as an example and where there are large concentrations of FN supporters it can be quite horrible. When looking get as much info as you can about the local council, especially the mayor.
If there is somebody who appears to have been in office since Noah's Ark passed then there is a fair chance that outsiders do not have good treatment. We had one until last year but he was forced to stand down by 'X'. He said something about people with accents in their French not being 'proper people' near my OH once. Her first language is Italian but she has used French for well over half her life, however we happened to know his parents were part of a sizable number of Italian migrants to the area. My OH and I contrived the situation whereby in front of a fair sized group of people I said something about my Scots ancestry and our thousand year plus alignment with France and threw in that the children of Italian immigrants don't seem to know that though and throw scorn on anybody not quite as French as they. OK, naughty anecdote, but we knew he was going and also that a fair few people present had been denied permission for building work to modernise houses, all of them French. However, all such things are fair once you know the 'rules of the game' but not where the present mayor is likely to be there until he is laid to rest. That may be 30 years from now, he is only 74 years old ;-)
My point is really, do your homework thoroughly rather than see a dream house and end up in problems up to your neck. Be aware that everybody including French who are newcomers are treated with suspicion at first. Without fixing on one agency or signing up with any who might then get on your nerves, do web searches to look at a selection of French estate agencies. Then just look at the properties you like. Note the areas, find out about them, look at satellite shots of the area (beautiful house and all but there is a major road beside it hidden by trees, a military airstrip or...), if using Google then use the road map view as well. You can find out about climate, markets, local festivals, you name it the same way. Look for WHAT you want rather than WHERE somebody says you should be, that way you will get what you are looking for.