Testing the Waters

A big hello to you all.

I am just testing the waters with my first post or discussion, not sure the exact format of the forum here so just busting in really.

I am Irish married to a German, we are leaving Ireland soon to move to France hopefully to the Ariege/Aude departments, close enough to the mountains. Where we choose and what we choose will depend on our property sale here. Of course it is the worst time to sell in Ireland but it is the best time to buy so we have decided to market our home independently on the net.

We have done two reccies (first was the Limousin and Auverne regions and second last year in Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc. We are very keen on the Ariege and Aude departments.

We are mostly concerned about the weather patterns as I am allergic to rain (yes that is a condition! It occurs when you spend most of your life being pissed on for 360 days of the year. Just yesterday parts of city and county Cork were devastated by local flash flooding, not to mention the huge floods of 2009/2010) We have had enough.

We need sun, warm-hot summers, but also will appreciate seasons, and don't mind a cold winter as long as it doesn't last 6 months! I think that's why the foothills of the mountains may suit us. I have read a lot of mistrals and scary hot and cold winds and also that weather can be quite localised and each department has mini climates. It's mind boggling.

Oh dear, I think I am having a bit of a rant. I adore Ireland for most of the reasons I see you all adore France but the rain, the rain.

I am here to listen, interact and learn. I am not looking for professional advice but looking to hear what you are saying from a personal level.

So all personal recommendations on weather and good areas to check out this autumn are hugely welcome.

What can I guarantee in return? Humour, Irish jokes (the funny ones), and chip in with knowledge and advice where I can!

Looking forward to chatting with you all and thank you for accepting me as part of this forum, go raibh míle maith agaibh


Good thinking...we actually bought both of our properties in the winter...assumed we would like them better in good weather which we do. We had snow our first winter in St Cyp..and our apartment half a mile to the beach....and less than 20 miles to spain....we have photos of snow on the beach..interesting! but equally we sat out on the beach at nearby Collioure on Xmas day...wearing jumpers...but in warm sun...lovely...! much cooler in the Dordogne...by 15 or so degrees in winter...

Thanks Zoe, Carol

PLanning a 3 week stay later this year, to get a better feel of non-summer also. Summer brings tourists and a certain buzz, that can quickly disappear once the temps fall.

We have this also in West Cork in Ireland. Small villages are teeming in summer and ghost towns in winter - I am sure the locals must feel like they live in 2 separate lands at times!!

I first came to France in the late 70s with the kids decided there and then this was where i wanted to be, got divorced 80s so kids and myself were coming over, by the 90s not cool for the kids to be seen with dad so came on my own sending kids up to my mothers, that taught em a lesson or two, touring on the bike i got a real feel for the country eventually settling on Narbonne in the Aude as my chosen spot but could not find a house that met my criteria, met my new wife she toured with me one rainy late May dropped into Mazamet liked he area came back in August, caravan this time, saw the house second viewing put in a very low offer and got it so all plans went askew regards the Aude, 1 acre of land edge of the village or rather hamlet of a dozen houses friends in the town think we are on another solar system as we are 8 k from Mazamet and 2000ft above sea level but 4 dogs and two goats need their space

Same here...we spent a lot of time in the Languedoc before buying a holiday flat....but only one holiday in the Dordogne.....of a week...before buying here....and we knew quickly it wasnt for us...but too late! We really missed the coast....still do....so good advice...stay a month or so if you can....and get into the rhythm of life there.

Farmers and fishermen here are having trouble because of LACK of rain, lol. I know the fishing in my stretch of river is bad this year, because the water level is too low.

People seem to think it odd having to work "summer" and winter", and being able to "arse around" in between, but, we make enough when in full season not to have to worry about the in-between bits.

One more piece of advice, really spend like, 3 weeks, or a month in any place you might want to move to. Anyplace is paradise for a weekend. do what you'd do if you lived there, cafe, bar, shopping, trip to the post office, ask yourself over and over, "can I see myself happy here".

I rushed into Paris, and after a month realised it just didn't suit me. Nothing wrong with the place, and anyplace is what you make it, but, my character wasn't suited to it. I came to visit Haute Savoie for three weeks, and Thones (where I now live) was just perfect, and everything felt right, so we just decided on here.

where is the 'like' button on this forum?

Thanks Elaine, I strongly agree with Carol, don’t rush anything because you think you have to start a business. We gave ourselves a rental period of at least 6 months to see if our decision regarding area, and living in France in general, had been the right one, we would have extended this period if had we felt the need to or if we hadn’t found the right property within this time or if we had had any doubts regarding life in France at all.

Also arriving here in winter was a good thing, if you find you can tolerate or even love an area when it’s miserable and grey or cold and snowy, and you take away the rose-tinted glasses of lovely summer holidays, then you’ll love it even more when the sun is eventually shining :slight_smile:

We’ll move into our new house beginning of August, it’s actually an old house, a huge project, but solid structures, great character and lots of space, 1 hectare of land too, now we just need to renovate the rooms, create the Gite, build a swimming pool, and loads more, piece of cake :wink: Joking aside, it will be hard work and due to tight budget we’ll be doing most of the work ourselves, but we hope to be open for business next summer, or at least that’s the plan :wink: If you and your hubby happen to be in France and close to our area, let us know, you’d be more than welcome to drop by for a chat and a drink or even spend a night.

Good luck with the sale of your house, we hope it will go well and you’ll be able to follow your dreams, just like most of us on here :slight_smile:

Good for you Elaine....you are right...Rome wasnt built in a day....! you guys have stuff to offer...and I doubt whether most of us on SFN care that much what we are called..expats...blowins...etc....as far as OH and I concerned...we are here...we are Brits...living in France and trying to get the best of France for us and the best of us for France....the lovely thing about SFN as I have discovered is that you have a family with SFN...one of us will always be a few miles away....or easy to get online....so you will never be alone...

LOL, I hear ya Carol :))

Wow Andy - well done on coming through those tough couple of weeks.

And thanks a mill for sharing your important insights - we talk a lot of weather and farming here too. We are a nation of talkers for heaven's sake!

We live quite rurally in Ireland, an hour from either Cork or limerick cities. I have a small shop and post office a mile away so can walk, but we drive everywhere. Not worried at all about isolation or interaction. We are very self sufficient and have travelled a lot and lived elsewhere. I take your point about the ex-pat community and everyone will probably kill me for saying that here but I don't consider anyone who has moved lock stock and barrel an ex-pat. My impression of ex-pat is my sister and her hubby on contrat in Dubai - they couldn't be there without support from their employers.

I am also used to being a 'blow-in' so not worried about that either, we intend to be involved in the local community and have talents and skillsets to contribute. Language will be an issue initially, but sure Rome wasn't built in a day either!!

This is a great forum it seems, so glad I found it :))

Hi Celeste,

I am sure everyone starts off the testing the waters :)

What great information - thank you!!! We are considering the Montagne Noir, it definitely would be second choice. We may have driven through your village heading to Mazamet from Carcassonne :)

It was cold and rainy in June last year, and it indicated to us exactly how the weather would be like up there when sun is not shining - not very inviting. But I imagine you have way more sun than rain :)

We need land (big garden) so a village house is a no-no. Beside a village is ok, we like neighbours but must be a detached. Well done on your journey - sounds like everything went right for you, that's wonderful. And it is interesting what you say about the 'vine' - we have no interest in stock and farming, we are surrounded by it here - so it's a tie between forests or vineyards!

Hi kathleen

Good for you!! I don't do temperate ;)

Thanks so much for commenting, sounds like you found your perfect spot!

Well...if Dublin becomes in part mediterranean....I am moving there!....always loved Southern Ireland....but for the weather...!!!

others have started businesses in rented places...dont jump to buy because of that....there are folks doing B and B in rented....better to get it right first time..

Hi Zoe,

Great to be here and thanks for your encouraging comments. Yes, hot gets difficult, as there are certain activities that are just not fun in 35-40 degrees. My sister lives in Dubai and there is MAJOR exudus outta there every summer - unbearable for 4-5 months of the year.

I like a mix, but the rain here is so depressing. It's been the worst summer in a long time, the framers and fishermen are desperate.

Congratulations on finding work, that is a great achievement, and I find it interesting what you say about "summer' and 'winter' and the bits in between :)
It seems that weather patterns are changing everywhere! Perhaps if we stuck it out another 5 years at home, the good weather will come around again, LOL

Hi Marieanne,

What a wonderful comment - thanks so much for taking the time to write so much!! We have explored your area last year and it is indeed beautiful, a little too far west for us for various different reasons. I commend your ideas, as we are in similar position, too young to "retire" not that we would want to anyway, and our love is motorbikes, which is also why we chose near Pyrenees.

If we rent, we cannot begin building a business in any way - or can we I wonder?

Perhaps the time is required to do research and find that perfect place. I am envious you have come out the other side and are already in France, working towards your dream. We decided 2 years ago we would move and last year for definite, so hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later. Of course we must sell here first!!

Best wishes with your new business ideas, and we will keep in touch

We didnt take our own advice...we had a lovely holiday apartment in st cyp..languedoc...and moved there first...then went to find a pile of stones to call our own....long story short...saw THE house day 2 and bought it...wrong decision! quickly decided not the right area...and been trying to sell since...well I say that...but we are pretty much trying to make a life for ourselves here...aware we are not going to sell...anytime this century....

We have a big old house on the Lot/Dordogne Border...if you are looking and want to spend a bit of time first...you are most welcome to come stay in one of our many unused bedrooms!!! we are an hour and half from Bordeaux....if you decide to look in this area...feel free....but personal advice would be to aim for the Limoux/Narbonne general part of France....our favourite area!

Hi James, Carol

I take your points on board, and need to sit down with hubby again and discuss our plans for the next visit. I am aware there is so much at stake, and moving costs can be prohibitive, so we cannot rule out the strong possibility of renting. Plus a lot will depend on how our house moves here in Ireland

Hi Carly,

Thanks for all that information!! That area is lovely, we have been there (although it was cold and wet) but your information is very useful thank you :)

That is so exciting that you are moving in August, you must be chuffed!! Thanks for the website - I will indeed check it out