Moving to France (from US)

Hi, New here! I have been looking at property in France, trying to figure what area to move to while working on learning french. I’m hoping to move by next summer. (with any luck). I’ve mostly been looking between Limoges and Bordeaux. If anyone has any recommendations I’d love to hear them! Looking forward to reading everyone’s posts!

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Welcome Liz. There are lots of fabulous places to recommend. Maybe it would help if you told us a bit more what type of location you are looking for. Town? Village? Countryside? Peace & tranquillity? Good local community? Easy access to airports/TGV/motorways?
Lots to think about.
Just be warned, looking at French estate agent marketing material can be depressing, very often it doesn’t do the property and its location justice. Best way is to come and look for yourself. Rent somewhere and then travel around. (COVID permitting!)

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As has already been suggested, if you don’t know France, the best advice would be to rent somewhere. You will then be able to get to know the country through the seasons (weather and tourist). You will find much of everyday life is very different in France than in the USA so you should be prepared for the change.

If you are considering moving permanently (or even visiting for more than three months), there are many other items to consider including visas, driving licences, health insurance, taxation, bank accounts, mobile phone SIMs, etc.

All excellent advice so far.

Look at the reviews of any estate agent you think you might use as they’re not like American realtors in the slightest and the service you might get will vary wildly over here.

Don’t forget that finding a hire car with an automatic gearbox is going to require booking in advance of your visit.

We had American guests recently and they had to go to Toulouse to get an automatic car.

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It normally costs a lot more to hire an automatic (my parents always want one) - or get used to driving manual

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Thanks so much! I had considered renting for 6 months or so to get a chance to visit as much of France as possible before settling anywhere. Looking for somewhere quiet and rural within reasonably easy driving distance to a city/village with shops, Drs., stores, pharmacies, etc. …or even bicycle or walking distance to a larger village

I believe that Stig’s American cousin uses the phrase “stick shift”?


Thanks Mat_Davies! I am used to driving a manual, thankfully ( I loved older cars) so will be ok on that front.

Will keep in min the advise on estate agents NotALot!

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Thanks Elsie! All really good advise! I may rent for awhile this spring and drive around and explore.

May I suggest that you explore the area from Chabanais 16150, Roumazierers-Loubert 16270, Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure 16260, La Rochefoucauld 16110?

Thank you for this suggestion!

Second this choice. we moved here from Scotland and its been wonderful.
Not only estate agents market properties, also the local Notaires. Online on FB marketplace,
Leboncoin and even Ebay…
Be prepared for life in the VERY slow lane. Agricultural countryside, but lively small towns and only
about 1 hr to bigger towns of Limoges, Angouleme, 2 hours to Bordeaux, Poitiers…

Here is my (french) suggestion: do rent some place you are targeting through winter and see how it is like.
If you go through the worst season without depressing, this is a first step.
Then, amongst most difficult things to find in rural area is a doctor. If you are getting older like me, this must be considered. Some ‘Communautés de communes’ (cities administrative communities) now build medical houses to help attract doctors who are missing. Exploring the local facilities through these organisations (they all have a web site now) is more representative than through small rural cities.

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This sounds wonderful :grinning:

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Thank you! This is a good suggestion. Both my husband and I are getting a little older and need to keep this in mind

Is there an alternative? If so, please send details…


unless you’re working/running a business and have a young family, then it’s just as much “life in the fast lane” as elsewhere :wink:

I was going to post a link to a certain Swiss establishment, but realised that would be in poor taste, even by my low standards.

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To be exact: a doctor who takes new patients, as very often they are not. No other way than calling them to know if they do, but the presence of a medical house where several doctors practicize remains a good indication that you should be able to be a new happy winner !

Anything is VERY slow if you lived in New York…