"Must be <1 hr to the coast"

My Danish pal is p’d off with Danish weather esp winter. I am likewise at two with the weather in Normandy, Nov-<April. We have come up with the notion of sharing a property, moving somewhere where the winters are better than we experience them now.

Jorgen is a civil engineer, specialising in the design of the foundations of wind turbine towers. He works from home with the occasional meeting/conference which could be anywhere in the world.

I’m ‘jubilado’ as the Spanish say for retired - love that word. I can live anywhere I can afford - which is not a lot :roll_eyes:

Jorgen has never lived more than 1 hr from the sea. He has that as his main criterion. This is our target area.
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Bordeaux must be beyond our budget and anywhere south of there too hot in summer.

What does anyone know of this area? Anyone living in it? What’s the weather like in winter?

As a former Civil Engineer I applied similar logic and drew lines on large map of France, 1 hour max from beach, 1 hour max from skiing and 1 day journey south from UK - we ended up in 33 Gironde, a couple of hours from skiing was the best I could do but other criteria met.

I had an MS close to the Vendee / Deux Sevres border for about 10 years (near l’Absie). The summers still do get hot - 30C+ was not uncommon in Jul/Aug. I also saw snow in winter several times. The countryside is very nice with rolling hills and lots of fruit is grown around there. The sea I would say is over 1 hour and so too probably far away. I would be tempted to look in the southern part of the Marais Poitevin, north of the N11, maybe around Cramahé/Courçon/Cram-Chaban but I’m not sure how expensive it is there. This is not too far from La Rochelle which is a great place to go with great foods and lots of things to see, and good beaches next door if that is your thing. North-East of there is Niort which is a nice city and the Marais Poitevin itself is beautiful.
At the end of the day, it really does depend upon what suits you and Jorgen as one persons nice place to live may be another persons nightmare.

We looked at a house in Pamproux in Deux Sevres, about an hour east of La Rochelle. Prices seemed good, the area was flat but pleasant, and the house + situation with a stream at the end of the garden made it great. It was our first choice of house, but had sold the day before we offered.

However the area IS flat (that may not bother you as much as me) and is getting very built up near any significant settlements. That was particularly true for La Rochelle, and will probably also apply to other major seaside towns, and in some ways resembles the UK that we want to escape from - that’s true of many of the more popular bits of France.

The right house in the right situation would be nice in this area.

We are in Charente Maritime close to the coast and 1hr15 from Bordeaux. Summers have been hot and sunny and winters relatively mild. Frost is rare. Anywhere near the west coast will get winter storms though, but generally we’ve noticed that it’s stormier further north of us.

Bordeaux is expensive but the Medoc is much cheaper, as long as you avoid Lacanau, Hourtin and Soulac-sur-Mer. But it’s very rural here, and in the winters it becomes deserted.

Further north from Bordeaux, on the other side of the Gironde estuary into Charente Maritime, can be nice… but again avoid Royan if budget is a deciding factor. Further inland you can get some bargains though, if you don’t mind not being in a large town.

Similarly, probably best to avoid looking in La Rochelle itself… It’s lovely but not cheap. However, places like Rochefort, Niort or Saintes are more affordable and yet large enough to have everything you need on your doorstep, and they’re all within one hour of the coast (especially Rochefort!).

I don’t really know much further north than there… We visited la Vendée last year but don’t feel knowledgeable enough about it compared to the other places I’ve mentioned.

You must be fairly close to me. I’m about 1h north of Bordeaux but in the Médoc not Charente Maritime.

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Just remembered another nice place we’ve visited recently… Marans (17230). Lovely little town just north of La Rochelle.

You didn’t say what your budget is but I found this place on Se Loger…


……which is now true of our bit of Normandie too :hot_face:

Yup - our bit too !

Not today it isn’t !!

True :roll_eyes:

If I was being positive, I’d say that the rain has just come at the right time for the beans etc we sowed last week…

Marans and the area around is nice yes, but it can be a nightmare in summer due to all the tourists. When going from l’Absie to La Rochelle, the shortest route was through Marans, but it was quicker to go via Niort in the summer or cut through the Marais Poitevan because the town got so blocked by traffic.

Ah, good point :+1:

When we were camping a couple of weeks back, we were very impressed with the Pays de Retz area in Loire Atlantique. Just south of the Loire, so warmer than Normandie, but relatively quiet. Very close to the coast though so property prices are probably a bit high for you @captainendeavour :thinking:

I agree with @Gareth about Niort. It’s a beautiful city with a good indoor market and lots of good restaurants and much more. If you ever get to Niort, I can highly recommend a restaurant called Plaisirs des Sens. Thier cafe gourmand changes all the time, but is always a delight as well as a work of art.


Many thanks to you all for your replies. Keep posing the pensées :slightly_smiling_face:

I have put our Viking on notice that as proximity to the sea decreases, prices increase. This is continental Europe, not a collection of small islands and a peninsular.

My contribution is fixed at whatever The Plywood Shack sells for. The rest is up to him :grinning:

T.B.C. As the criteria are worked out the budget will emerge. For example I do not want to live in remote countryside. I don’t want extensive grounds to maintain or barely any garden at all. A gravelled courtyard that catches the sun would suit me perfectly.

We are both DIYers - Jorgen is building a house with his own hands. Here he is, roofing in a blizzard.

and relaxing after a job well done

so outbuildings/working space/garage highly desirable, as is off-road space for a vehicle or two. Perhaps enough space for one of the small boats he keeps buying.

Unfortunately this beauty is up on sticks in a yard on Chesapeake Bay, as it has been for ther past 10+ years. He hasn’t had time to sail it back east. If I was the yard owner [as I was once] it’s long since been sold to pay yard dues.

Outskirts of a decent size town or a house in a village which has not died , all except for a hair salon …

Meanwhile I must continue to titivate The Plywood Shack and all. This hasn’t helped

Attelier …

The floor has cracked in half, right across.

and the front has dropped to the ground. A major ‘chapuza’ [Spansh biodge with good outcome] now required.

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Shouldn’t worry Jorgen, Demarks ‘mountain’ is a tiny little hill :rofl:

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Voila! Perfection!

However, as I am not going to keep livestock, it also comes with pointless

Sell it for a housing estate? :grinning:

Yes - I’ve seen it. A mere pimple. :grinning:

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I moved near this area back in November, (I’m around an hour and a half drive east of La Rochelle). Haven’t had the time or weather to do much leisure style exploring yet but I can also add to previous comments that Niort is a commercial hub for large areas all around and is our default journey for DIY supplies etc. There is a large shopping district on the outskirts.

Although the locals have said that last winter was one of the wettest they can remember, it has been much wetter than I was expecting . One or two nice days in March and May but has rained frequently and heavily since I arrived. A lot of flooded fields and washed out roads. We first visited the house we bought in April last year and the whole week was much nicer so I’m hoping this is abnormal weather and not the permanent result of climate change. One of the reasons I was anxious to leave England was the constant smear of grey clouds. It hasn’t been that different here (yet).

Winter temperatures were relatively mild. A frost or two overnight.