Moving to SW France from Haute Savoie

Hi - I’m looking for some advice - we’ve lived in France for 11 years in the Haute Savoie and are thinking of moving to the South West - we’ve been looking around Bordeaux area and Toulouse area as we need to be within about an hour of either airport. We have seen houses in the Eymet, Lauzun area and Castelnaudary areas so far and would love to hear from you if you live in or have lived in these areas about what you love and don’t love about living there. Want to be in a village or town that is alive all year, with a good community…so all ideas very welcome - thank you Caro

Albi is an hour to the east of Toulouse airport and is a lovely/lively town.


Caro, not quite sure what you mean by a ‘good community’, and also is ‘alive all year’. These are highly subjective matters, but I presume you mean by having such things as Theatres, cinemas, clubs, bars etc.? that is always variable. Being one hour either from Toulouse of Bordeaux is an interesting point as both of these are probably only two hours apart from each other. They straddle some beautiful parts of France and in reality probably 'service a quarter of France.
There are a host of attractive and lively towns in that quadrant, - Cahors, Montauban immediately spring to mind and there are others. Plus they all have access to the Atlantic which is an asset.
However and by their very nature they are also very popular with tourists, so the ‘life’ you could be looking for will be largely influenced by catering to the visitors, and local life tends s to go on the back burner until say November to April. - half the year.
As Peter Bird has mentioned either side of the A20 from say Brive heading South will reveal a mass of choices.
I live in the South Correze, and have no fewer than six of the Most Beautiful Villages in France 30 minutes or less from my doorstep, but also live in a non-touristic village which doesn’t get deluged with tourists in the Season. Horses for courses as they say.


Thank you Albi is a town I’ve seen briefly but will look at it in more depth thank you

Hi Norman, thank you very much - I’ve visited the area a few times and am trying to get a more in-depth feel so your comments are very helpful. I’ll research some of the places you mention. Am planning another trip down very soon…
I have seen that the most beautiful villages are naturally the ones tourists are drawn to but as we are looking at a full time move I’m hoping to integrate with the local community in the area we choose, that’s why I say places that have a year round ‘life’ - thank you for taking the time to give me some ideas

Hi Caro,

I think we are looking for similar things. I wondered if you had made progress with your search.

Probably too late but I’ve lived in 2 of those spots. We had our first 2 houses in small villages outside Castelnaudary. It is seriously hot there in the summer and the wind is awful, one of the reasons we decided not to return even though we have friends there when we came back from Australia. Castel’ itself is fairly ‘lively’ all year around and I must admit is looking better than it did 10/20 years ago that’s for sure! On the upside we loved we could be skiiing in 1.5 hours (even with stopping to hire skis!), swimming in the Med’ in the same and of course close to Toulouse. The canal is lovely too.

We chose to come to the Dordogne for a variety of reasons (although we didn’t want to be in a very ‘British’ area so chose carefully!). If you are happy with a high Brit population then Eymet is pretty lively all year around. I personally think that Perigueux is worth a look and Bergerac, both easy runs to Bordeaux and nice places.

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Hi thank you for sending a reply - this project is on hold at the moment but I really appreciate your insight.
Thank you Caro