Hi Hilary. We are actually in the Charente a few miles south east of Verteuil and on the edge of where the landscape starts to change towards the Haute Charente. Our house is at 103metres above sea level. If we head west from our house the landscape is definitely lowland but if we head east it becomes more hilly and of higher altitude.
This winter has been very mild here and also pretty wet as is evidenced by the flooded fields. I think when we move on we will look for somewhere further east and at a higher altitude. For us we would prefer slightly cooler summer temperatures and we don't mind a bit more rain in the summer too. Snow in winter would be nice. Can't be doing with a really mild and damp winter climate..reminds me of the west country!
I was in the Charente in 1999 fot the tempete. Now that was a strong wind and despite what those of you have moved in since, nothing has come close, I don't think many trees were left upright that night or tiles left on roofs and no electricity for13 days was interesting! We certainly needed a new roof. Since then winter has varied year by year. We have very mild, sitting outside in Feb, very cold, cut off for 8days with temps down to the minus 15's. We have had so much rain that our local town flooded and the supermatket was underwater for a week and so dry, I have had to water plants as early as March.
My French neighbours tell me that winter used to follow a pattern which has now disappeared and from my 17 year experience I would agree. Winter is now (and summer too) so varied as to be unpredictable!
We have lived in the Allier which is right in the center of France for 12 years now and the last 2 years have been very odd weather. Winters here were always cold -5/6 degs with some heavy snow in Jan/Feb, this winter has been nothing but rain and then warm days which means waterlogged fields and lots of mud. The llamas would normaly just be eating hay and hard feed but as there is no frost they are still grazing in the fields (which we do not want). Not a pleaseant winter at all and certainly not like other winters we have experiance here. They are now saying that this summer could be the hottest on record here and we and the local farmers are dreading it if that is the case, the fields just burn off in summer and so yet again no grazing for the llamas and we have 5 cria due to be born this year and the females need good grass....fingers crossed they are wrong.
There's a huge difference and distance between the north cantal and the southern aveyron, from a full continental mountain climate on the eastern side of the puys oceanic mountainclimate on the western slopes to a degraded med climate in the southern aveyron in summer and continental step climate on the causses in winter. the départements have the lowest unemployment rates in france, they're very conservative and rural. what specifics are you after, my oh is aveyronnaise and i've been here over 10 years although we're in the tarn now ;-)
higher winds, yes, but lower rainfall: most of it is dumped on the hills (massif central) inland when the airmass is forced to rise and so cool. It's a temperate climate thanks to the atlantic but, like the british isles, that mild winter air is loaded with moisture. i spent some time near st jean d'angely and couldn't handle the winter, thought i was back in sw england, and came running back to the aveyron - much drier but not nearly as dry as aix-en-provence where i spent a winter doing my maitrise (sans ^ suite au changement !) the site is very vague about the climate and not at all accurate about the hours of sunshine - the area is very small based around la rochelle and the coast and over all the insinuated comparison with a med climate is very misleading but often written :-O
Hi again, just looked at this link which seems to confirm my thoughts that your area, Charentes Maritime & Charentes is/are low lying compared to the Vienne & Deux Sevres and of course as Peter mentioned, Le Haute Vienne (Limousin)...so I think you would be more subject to increased rainfall and high winds from the Atlantic....
Hi Paul, I spent about 15 years living in your area not far from Verteuil. Over that period we experienced a vast array of weather types in winter from months of rain to draught and very mild ie 20° often to -20° occasionally. I don't know if it's anything to do with El Nino or climate change or whatever.. All I know is it's very unpredictable.
It's sometimes 'dangerous' to generalise about a department for example, you talk about the Haute Vienne. Where I am in St Junien on the extreme west of the department is nothing like the climate over to the eastern side mainly due to the different altitude I suppose.
Don't know about the Charente Paul, but it was pretty windy late last night.....strong enough to make me worry a bit about my chimneys !..and I am just 10 mins east of Bergerac....
I'm wondering if you are actually in the Charentes maritime area ?....which would mean that you would be more exposed to high winds and more rain that say, the Vienne....Perhaps what you are experiencing now is actually more the 'norm'...
Ought to visit Véro (I ought to as well, ahem, ahem) since not that far away. Nothing to do with gers but have a dekko at this. It'll make you feel warmer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytUbphEwn5U
Lovely! But no k'ang (mind you I can see you'd never want to leave it if you had one. I wouldn't).
I live in two 18-foot Kyrgyz-style coppiced ash yurts, connected by a second door in each wall (bedroom yurt has a fire exit). Kyrgyz yurts have a higher wall, which is more practical for full-time living - even if you're already on the short side. There are a few photos on the blog - and yes, they are beautiful. All natural wood - not a straight line in the place.
OOOOh! Do you live in your yurt full time? How many walls is it? Have you got a k'ang? Is it lovely? Please tell all!
Last night was the strongest wind here since March 2nd 2010 (when I, notably, was just not killed by a falling ash tree) and I'll now spend the day putting everything back together.
Living in a yurt puts me very close to the elements, so I can confidently say that this wet weather is on the extreme end of things. Last year was pretty wet at around the same time, but this feels heavier. It's not a surprise - more extreme weather has been predicted for years. There is no normal any more. But you might want to make your next house high, sheltered from the west, and with its own water. Straw bale would be a bonus, in terms of keeping the fuel bills down if we ever have another winter. (My reliable weather forecast tells me it will be -5C on Tuesday.
Good luck with the house move.
No winter to speak of here (just S. of Bergerac) for the last three years. Before that I was stuck on top of my hill two years running, once for 9 days and once for a week. So it depends. The whole western coast of France is notoriously wet anyway ("rains all the time", so I was told by my family who all live in the extreme SE). I keep my war cupboard full just in case ;-)
Don't confuse weather with climate.
Hi Andrew. We are planning on putting our renovated house on the market in a few months time and will be looking at a few areas of France to move to. These include Haute Vienne and Creuse in Limousin, but we also plan to check out Aveyron and Cantal. Whats the weather generally like where you are. In fact what's Aveyron like to live in?
Very interesting replies. The last really cold and prolonged snowy weather for us was when we were living in North West Wales in Snowdonia in December 2010. North west Wales is pretty mild normally as it gets the effects of the gulf stream, but December 2010 was phenomenal. I remember seeing 10 inches of snow on the beach at Penmaenmawr right down to the waterline!!
The force of the wind today was very surprising. I guess our house is in quite an open position with long ranging views so we don't have a shelter belt! Seems extreme weather is becoming a planet wide occurrence!
Here in the Deux-Sevres we've experienced all kinds of winters in the last 10 years. In the early days we had deep snow and -15, we've sat in the sun in tee-shirts late January, experienced our first hurricane, (just the 'tail end' but something I'd like to avoid again!). 2015 gave us a very warm Spring, the 2nd hottest summer on record, a very mild Autumn and no real winter, 2016, so far, is proving to be just as much "fun", warm days, flies!!!!!, wasps, butterflies ,Spring Iris flowering too early, the only thing that has behaved something like normal for February is the b****y wind, although even this is stronger than usual, todays gusts were around 105km. One thing I can say for sure, it's never boring :)
We are on the other side of the Dordogne to Sue. We have experienced extremes of -14°C up to 42°C, not the same year but have had an extreme of -10° in the second half of March up to 38° at the end of June. That is a 48° swing within three months. We have had wet spells like now, one worse in terms of what was on the ground but a few more days and that could be surpassed, the wind a month ago was the extremest we have experienced. At the same time we have had a drought for something like two years that I imagine has now been lifted. Locals who can remember between 60 and 70 years back say that weather has changed a lot. No snow for years when it was once a fact of life most winters, the summers have always been hot (with exceptions as we have experienced) but the hot and dry weather is longer than before and flooding as it has been the last couple of years was almost unknown. A couple of them have told us about below -20° about 10 years back and one day at 46° locally, although Bergerac only recorded 38° that day. So who knows what normal is?