Renting before buying is useful - but you still have to have a rough idea of your target area.
France is huge… we visited all over France before settling on “anything within a day’s drive from UK”… as we simply couldn’t choose one region over another.
We struck gold but not everyone is so lucky.
I would certainly make much more indepth investigations before moving anywhere ever again… luck can’t be relied on to strike twice.
And circumstances change - we moved here en famille, so schools were at the top of the priority list; now, they’re pretty irrelevant.
I’ve long been aware that where you live Geof (Utopia) there is so much to do, the weather is always good, you have more doctors than you can shake a stick at and no one has ever heard of Covid let alone suffered from it, etc.
Here in the real world of rural France though there is naff all to do outside of the summer months, small towns are dying with the young moving away to find work (and a life) leaving an aging population to struggle on with reduced services.
If I was the OP I would think long and hard about what I wanted out of retirement before making any decision about where in the country I should move to.
I think Tim made a valid point. It is not a thing I had thought about much before but thinking about it now, the friends that I tend to spend the most time with are former work colleagues that I have known for many years and who have become friends and are now retired like me. My wife and I are not madly sociable people, we do not make a lot of effort to socialise, but over the years we have got involved in things and built up a nice circle of acquaintances without consciously trying, mostly through our professional lives and through the children’s activities when they were younger. If neither of us had worked and if we had not been parents of schoolchildren and doing all the things that are part and parcel of that we would not have the same social life now, I am sure of that. My wife and I do go out and about as a couple of course but we also have our own friends and speaking personally I feel that is essential. I cannot imagine how we would have adapted to starting retirement in a brand new place and spending all day every day in each others company. I suppose that would be motivation to make the effort but it does not appeal to me and I am sure I can speak for my wife on this too.
I guess that is why we have stayed in the part of France we originally moved to, even though we could in theory move anywhere we wanted now that we no longer have work and family commitments.
Get a job, part-time or full-time, at that age practically everybody normal is at work so if you want to meet real non- weirdo French people, a job is the way to go.
But that’s not what the OP wants to do.
Just a suggestion… become a Volunteer… if you find yourselves with time on your hands.
So many areas of daily life are grateful for helpers…
Moving from work to retirement is/can be quite a shock.
For me, it started at the Mairie, me asking if they knew anyone/association who needed a helping hand… good grief, that opened the floodgates…
A volunteer can do as much or as little as suits one’s needs/desires …
Thansk Tim. Yes that was another post A friend lives in Vienne and I went to visit them recently before heading further south. Someone suggested Brantome, which was absolutely gorgeous. i think it will be the dordogne, not because I want english friends I just prefer that area. Better transport / links etc and feel as Jane said there is more going on and less of a dying village feeling! I also know this means more tourists in the summer but Ive countered that with the fact that there will be more to do in the winter.
I get that you don’t like where you live Tim - what I don’t get is why you want to project its disadvantages over all France.
I wonder just how well you know Brittany? It’s not utopia, but judging from your posts, where we are is a hellofalot nicer than where you are.
I don’t understand why people that obviously made a poor choice of location feel the need to blame ‘France’ or ‘the French’, instead of recognising their own unfortunate choice?
It isnt. Although they are all valid points to consider and thanks for pointing them out.
Without getting too smoochy, my wife is my best friend and my soulmate. We live alone (kids grown up and gone) on a small holding in a rural setting with a few neighbours around. Its idyllic except, the weather isnt great and we have separate jobs to fund where we live and we dont get the time to do what we want to do.
We live in a hall that we have spent the last 5 years renovating, the garden is about an acre and both fell out of love with work a long time ago (we have demanding jobs). Quite frankly we would much rather be in the garden or out walking. My wife likes to craft (already factored into the retirement budget) and helps out with local charity events etc,
We do plan to rent, so lots of exploring in the first year or so, then I expect the first few years there will be lots to do on the property aswell as integrating into the community. And we certainly expect lots of visitors too. We will be at state retirement age before we know it (my wife is also 4 years my senior) and if we ever do get bored (promise you we wont), would be more than happy to volunteer in our local community.
There are places/ villages/hamlets that manage to stay alive without tourists!!
France is massive, so it always intrigues me why so many people start looking in the same place! Explore as far and wide as you can, and I hope you find your perfect place.
Thanks for the advice Jane, I am sure I will find the perfect place. Just for the record, I didnt start looking in the same place.
We’re happy where we live Geof and are always busy because of work but that doesn’t mean we are blind to the reality that for a large part of the year the area is very quiet with nothing happening. The department’s population as a whole has grown around 15% since we moved here in 2005 but this increase has been mainly driven by retirees and they choose to live near the coast not inland so some towns are dying.
If you look at France’s recent population growth you’ll see that it is primarily in urban areas with significant decreases in the countryside.
We came here with four young children and now grown up they’ve all moved away simply because there’s nothing for them to do and we totally get that. We’re getting close to retirement and will likely move soon probably to somewhere like Brittany, Dept 22 is pretty nice I hear.
I do not see how this would be an option on any kind of visitor visa.
I think the OP is intending becoming resident, in which case a job would be feasible, but it looks like they have a great deal in their lives and won’t need that sort of thing for the foreseeable future
But not on a normal long stay visa. Brits no longer have the automatic right to work in the EU, they have to obtain authorisation which is extra hoops to jump through.
Indeed but since Julesandal has already said he does not actually intend to work, I imagine he will be applying for a visitor visa. As far as I know it is one or the other, if you obtain a visitor visa you cannot work and if you obtain a working visa or a work permit, you cannot not work. Apart from spouse visas and obviously the WA CdS, I am not aware of any visas that allow you to live in France with the option of either working or not working?
the comment was not specific to the OP but for wider information, for a wider audience and for clarity.