Hi Jay Lynne,
It’s always interesting to have another viewpoint on the eventual acquisition of a property in France re-weather, so here’s mine.
I retired and moved here to France 5 months ago from the UK. I too have an aversion to excess humidity and took pains to pick an area less likely to boil me alive. However, I wanted the sun, and knew humidity would have a play somewhere along the way, and It would mean just minimising it.
France is huge, so the first thing I did was narrow the search field to a region of recommended sunshine hours.
Armed with all the suggestions I drew a shape which was more or less a crescent around the west of France starting roughly below the Loire valley moving east around Limoge and curving back to Bordeaux.
Of course, there are microclimates all over France but I just didn’t have the time to review every one.
As a potted addition to reconnoitring notes, I further reduced the search area by deciding what I wanted out of the new house and location.
I required a courtyard as opposed to a large garden, as I didn’t want to spend all my time keeping it all in shape but did want off road parking. No Fosse septic, main sewer only. Internet essential!! This meant it would be in a village or town and able to stroll along to a cafe and shops and be in the thick of it so to speak. Isolation was not on my agenda.
As I like to make lots of noise: Bagpipes – woodworking machines – loud Hi-Fi – tuning ancient engines, the correct location was important if I didn’t want to alienate my neighbours ( this sound vandal should be miles away from anyone). Oh, and the old chestnut – liveable but with heavy cosmetic work and inexpensive.
If I couldn’t get a lovely landscape vista ( not always possible in a village or town), then the house must be the “view” itself. A building which lifted the heart when it hove into view.
So, when perusing the prettiest villages, it was clear that they mainly ran along the rivers. Certainly it seemed all the loveliest Manoirs and Châteaus were along rivers (some were shrouded in mists for a time during the day so I needed to get the weather opinions of other expats in each area when on the ground). This cut down the viewing area tremendously and as I also had this notion that I might indulge in some sort of commercial enterprise for fun it would mean the premises easily being visible from the road in a popular place. Certainly not selling anything to the locals as my French is terrible (yes yes, I’m learning), but Antiques - Art or such, but instantly recognisable and “sign-able”, so no advertising necessary. Ridiculously vague but hey, it was a whim to come here in the first place. The beauty of this idea was that I could spend hours trolling the roads in Google street view in 3D at home. From a commercial standpoint, it had to be “on the road”. So the fact that Street-view was only available on the more important roads was a bonus. (I found my house by this very method thereby avoiding estate agents fees).
This was going to take months to cover on the ground so I booked a long-term Airbnb during the late summer last year to cruise around in ever increasing circles getting a feel for the areas. This is important, as, if you are buying in France, you are in for the long-term and might as well get it right the first time or as best as possible. I would be recommended reading all the books available on moving and living in France before you come over. I had about sixty books purchased and read over the previous year. Worth every minute!
The house I settled on, in the Vienne, Poitou Charante, fulfilled all my needs and more. The weather to date has been a surprise though. Overcast, cold and rain have been the order of the day for most days this winter. I’m told this is not the usual blue sky winter and seems to have affected most of France and blame is placed firmly on global warming. However, we do seem to have missed the very low temperatures experienced around us due to what I’m told is it’s own micro-climate. Roll on spring which by all accounts would appear to be beautiful. Summers here are, I’m told, hot but not as humid as down south.