So..... this weather we are experiencing in the Charente over the past few days...is it normal?


(Paul Lewis) #1

This is only our second winter living in the Charente and this winter is turning out to be very different to our first winter here.


Last winter was very calm and I remember commenting to the other half that windy or stormy weather was virtually non existant. Also last winter was very sunny with lot's of crisp sunny winter days and we even had a dusting of snow on a few occasions. This is the sort of winter we were expecting to be honest


However this winter we have had so much rain and the winds have been very strong. I have just got in from securing a corrugated roof on an outbuilding, which for all the world looked like it was about to blow clean off!! Thankfully it is secure now. I also heard that Il de Re recorded it's highest ever wind speed earlier this week at 134KPH?


Just wondered what other's experiences are? Is the climate here just as changeable as the UK in your experience? Is climate change playing a part?


(Hilary Jane Dunk) #2

Thanks for your imput, David & Andrew,

Renting just isn't an option for me....I can just about afford to live, eat, run a car & feed my two cats...I used to teach,trying to establish more of a painting/artwork routine, have some health problems and live on a pension.... I am doing the next best thing, by taking time to visit and stay over in places to get a feel for them.. I am lucky in that my search isn't tied to any particular area because of family ties or a job....so I am as free as a bird (and intend to stay that way)....which makes things easier...

I am one of those people who want to fall in love a bit with the house and want something with a bit of age & character, so I wont buy a modern box. Also I have quite alot of 'stuff' and books nice bits of furniture, pottery etc. that I want to keep, so renting would mean having to pay storage costs.....

I do know myself well enough I think, that if I do enough research to ensure I don't make a major mistake, I should be OK buying...

So, good enough weather, no mountainous, deeply forested misty landscapes. or flat plains exposed to wind and excessive rain......gently undulating far reaching views (nice architecture,pretty riverside views), with lots of sunshiney days and rain on no more than 120 days per year (preferably at night, shades of Camelot), short, sharp, winters with or without snow...

It's out there somewhere......


(David Silcox) #3

Not sure what you are looking for however my neighbour has a beautiful place, 6 years old, 4 bedrooms and a lovely modern landscaped garden beside a golf course and the best Rose winery in the Var for approx 460,000. Another neighbour already has 9 vacation bookings for 2016 in a lesser 3 bedroom house @ approx 1000 per week.


(David Silcox) #4

Yes rent for at least a year. We bought here 70 KM west of Nice for the weather and for the most part it is good. As weird as it sounds 10 degrees in damp humid air in the south is worse than a dry -10 degrees as I was use to in Canada. When I ride my bike in the early morning 5 degrees in the humid air is like a knife edge.


(Andrew Hearne) #5

well said, Brian. The best thing to do by far is to rent for a year, Hilary. You really need to live summer and winter somewhere to get an idea and the differences are enormous, even studying the full météo france data bases doesn't give you the real "ressenti" If you're looking at rainfall then Paris isn't that bad but it certainly isn't my idea of a nice climate. There's a huge difference between sweltering summer heat in a dry breezy part of France compared to a landlocked sticky humid area. Same in winter, mild figures - poitou-charente - mask damp humid windy almost UK style winters compared to colder but drier winters elsewhere in France. Property in the Hérault/Aude/P-O is cheaper than further east in the Med but parts are extremely windy. You need to live in an area several years to know...! And as Brian says, we're all looking for something different so you'll get different answers from different people!

Bonne chance ;-)


(Brian Milne) #6

Are you starting to see how difficult it is Hilary? In one sense it is quite subjective because people tend to favour where they are. Often one reads about 'visiting X for Y years' the deciding to live there. Is it certain the people looking to move or who have already done so are going to feel any better for their change? It is all quite subjective although I am sure everybody is trying to be objective. I can understand people moving from Bretagne to Provence for the weather but sometimes it seems that people are swapping like for like. Sometimes it is perhaps better to have 'dreams' but stay put.


(Hilary Jane Dunk) #7

Just done a quick search for properties in Roquebrune Sur Argens.....

As I expected, right out of my price bracket...one property listed...a 35sq metre mobile home !.... Any department with a coastline on the Med will, I'm sure be the same.....

Probably too hot for me anyhow....


(Andrew Hearne) #8

from météo france :

"La région Poitou-Charentes bénéficie d’un climat de type océanique doux. Les hivers sont tempérés et pluvieux, le vent peut souffler fort sur le littoral et les îles ; au cours de l’été, souvent sec et assez chaud, les orages sont relativement fréquents. Le nord du Poitou se distingue avec des pluies moins abondantes, alors que les hauteurs de Gâtine sont nettement plus arrosées. Sur l’est de la région, avec la proximité des premiers contreforts du Massif Central, les températures deviennent plus fraîches et les pluies plus abondantes"

"wet and windy" read compared to what i'm used to in the aveyron and tarn ;-)


(Hilary Jane Dunk) #9

St jean d'angely, I see that's much further west, towards the Atlantic than Verteuil,so it doesn't surprise me that it's pretty wet & windy.....Being nearer the coast is appealing but it's not worth the trade off in terms of rainfall for me....So I will be looking further east ....

Need to find a relief map so that I determine exactly where the massif central starts....

The Vienne & Deux Sevres are looking appealing, so reports by SFN members for those areas would be welcome.....


(Paul Lewis) #10

Hi Andrew. Thank you for your detailed reply, very helpful information!


(Andrew Hearne) #11

The official site... - everything you read in English was translated by yours truly a few years back! again difficult to explain what is the largest département in France. It's very different from north to south and east to west. Much of it is pretty high up, my favourite are the limestone causses and gorges in the south although never lived there and prices have risen sharply since the Millau viaduct and A75 were opened making it only an hour or so from the Med. Beef farming in the north and west, sheep (Rochefort) in the south. Winters can be very cold (again depends where you are) and summers very very hot - much hotter than the Med as there are no sea breezes.

There are English here, not nearly as many in the Charentes, but I'm not really hooked up to them and their networks as I've always been working full time and OH is French (she speaks a little English but we always speak French) People are very genuine, hard-working and tight - that's the image of the aveyronnais and it's true (my OH says I fit in well here because we work all hours and I'm tight too!)

Property prices can be very cheap, Decazeville for example, but Rodez and some other areas are more expensive (but cheap on a national level) We sold our farmhouse, barns and 7 hectares for just over 200k€ so I think it's about the same price as the Charentes as long as you stay inland.

Let me know if you want specific info ;-)


(Paul Lewis) #12

Hi Andrew. I would be interested to hear more about Aveyron and your experiences of living there. I have read that the property prices are amongst the lowest in France. We will be selling up in the Charente, which itself is a cheaper Department. Aveyron certainly looks stunning on the official tourist website!


(don stapleton) #13

I remember very well the 28th of Decembre 1999. I lived near Cognac and we had a huge hurricane . Winds on the Ile d'Oleron were recorded at 198 km/h. Loads of damage everywhere, we lost the roof of our house and had to wait nearly 3 weeks for our village to be reconnected by EDF.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temp%C3%AAtes_de_fin_d%C3%A9cembre_1999_en_Europe

This was an extreme but you have to remember that the Charente can be quite wet and the oldtimers said that the River Charente would flood 7 times each winter. I lived in the Charente for over 15 years and a cold crisp winter was rare, although in the winter of 2001/2002 we had a fortnight of -15°C.


(Andrew Hearne) #14

best go for the cantal, Paul, or the aubrac, the aveyron is normally hotter than the charante in summer and broke the records in 2009 with 41°...! we officially saw that in Albi a few years ago too - not much fun when you're working!


(Andrew Hearne) #15

that's a nice one, Sandie, and helps but all the info and data is out there on the internet (mainly in French but that's normal!), just look it up for the area you're looking at or France in general for those who aren't sure ;-)


(David Silcox) #16

I have heard that it is a great area. My friends sold their house here and moved to Charente. They were originally from there and did not like the traffic here in the summer.


(Brian Milne) #17

Between where Véro and I live which is less than 30km as the crow flies can be remarkably different. A certain Tour de France/younger daughter's birthday in a deluge that lasted at least six hours there when here there was apparently not a spit is a very good example. Over 40°C here but officially 32° because the Bergerac weather station said so is another (she can probably see the meteo place from her house)...


(David Silcox) #18

We are near Frejus just 4.5 km outside of Roquebrune Sur Argens. The last 2 years have been rainy in November and December, warming in January and stunning in February. This winter has been mild and very little rain. This morning at 08:00 it was 0 but now at 10:00 it is likely 10. I am Canadian from Ontario and think this is great. There is hardly a day that one cannot go for nice walk or bike ride if dressed properly. The only downside is that is is a much older population so one should be prepared for lazy days in the spring, hot summers and autumns that last. We have great shopping and a new fitness club. I have one neighbour that is selling a 4 bedroom house. I am not a realtor but have told her that I would help. The house is 6 years old and I created the garden so it is stunning.


(Peter Bird) #19

That's the thing about different parts of France Andrew, things can change quite dramatically within a given department from say, east to west or from north to south. Take the Charente for example. To the west bordering Charente Maritime it's at about sea-level and gets much more rain and wind than the eastern side where I am which is at about 160M above sea-level and gets less wind and rain but it can be a couple of degrees cooler. Also the geology is different with limestone to the west and centre and granite to the east which changes the drainage etc etc. It is also that much warmer in the southern Charente than the north. The Haute Vienne changes drastically again with 160M to the west Hte Vienne rising to 750M to the eastern side. That means snow is more normal to the east with cooler temperatures etc. There is also a ski station not far away over the border with La Creuse at about 900M. The differences are quite dramatic so when we talk about this or that department we should consider the actual particularities of that department.


(Sandie George) #20

Hi Paul

Check out how steep the rooves (roofs?) are, wherever you decide to move to. The steeper the roof the more rain that area receives. Also, is the area built on granite (i.e. Dartmoor is a good example and Limousin also). The main cause has been the shifting around of the Jetstream and we, in the Charente, seem to have been on the very edge of the terrible weather that has affected the UK recently. Not much you can do about the Jetstream!

The climate is currently very unpredictable but i wouldn't swap Charente for anywhere else - we're a few miles west of Verteuil.